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4/10
Promising, but failed to deliver! 4/10
26 May 2019
Review: This is yet another movie which had a brilliant concept and a great cast but failed to at the last hurdle. I really enjoyed the first half an hour of the film, were a Catholic priest Daniel Flynn (Jeff Bridges), a singer Darlene Sweet (Cynthia Sweet), a salesman Leramie Seymour Sullivan (Jon Hamm), and a hippie Emily Summerspring (Dakota Johnson) arrive at the El Royale at the California-Nevada border, but the director seemed to have lost it after that. When it's revealed that Leramie is really an FBI Agent, sent to remove FBI surveillance equipment from the honeymoon suite, I found the plot intriguing, and I really couldn't see where it was going, especially when he found additional surveillance equipment of unknown origin. He also discovers a secret corridor from which guest's rooms can be observed via two-way mirrors and filmed via a 16mm camera setup, so the plot could have gone down many avenues, to make this movie special. Once Jon Hamm is taken out of the picture, the film goes drastically downhill, and the long singing scenes, along with the weird appearance of cult leader Billy Lee (Chris Hemsworth), really let the movie down. His lecherous and sadistic, but charismatic demeanour didn't really work for me, and I couldn't get to grips with the way the concept switched direction from the beginning. I liked the storyline behind Miles Miller (Lewis Pullman), who played the hotel's only remaining employee, and he put in a brilliant performance, alongside all of the A-listers in the cast. The director portrayed the 1969 time period well, and the attention to detail in the El Royale was quite impressive, but the storyline became a bit of a miss towards the end, and the characters that were interesting, were dropping like flies. I did like when they showed a certain point of the film, from different angles, which must have been hard to shoot, but I personally think that each of the characters back stories could have made their own movie, hence why the film felt like a right mess. Anyway, Jeff Bridges put in his usual top performance, and although I didn't see the point of adding Billy Lee (Chris Hemsworth) to the cast, I did think that he played it convincingly well. With so much going on at once, the ending was pretty poor, especially when the old vicar was beating a young a butch Billy Lee to a pulp, but I couldn't help rooting for Miles when he switched to a super sharp sniper. On paper, it must have looked unique, which is why so many top actors agreed to take on the project, but it really didn't have to be 141minutes long. On the plus side, the soundtrack was great, and the whole Tarantino "noir" approach, made the film different from other movies in this genre. Average!

Round-Up: This movie was written and directed by Drew Goddard, who also brought you the Cabin in the Woods, which also starred Chris Hemsworth. As this is only his second major release after 7 years, it might explain why he tried to cram in so much material in two and a half hours. He also earned an executive producer credit for the Martian and The Cloverfield Paradox, and he wrote the screenplay for Cloverfield, the Cabin in the Woods, World War Z, the Martian and the Daredevil series. Judging by his previous projects, this film was a step in a different direction for Drew Goddard, who must have been disappointed with the box office takings after all of his hard work by making the hotel from scratch. Personally, I think that it was a waste of a brilliant cast, and he wasted to much time on insignificant scenes, which didn't play a big part in the core of the plot. Although this movie didn't make a profit, he still has been chosen to direct X-Force with Deadpool and Cable, which is in production at the moment, so I hope that he has learnt from this experience, and taken into account why this movie didn't go down too well with audiences.

Budget: $32million Worldwide Gross: $32million (Terrible!)

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller Cast: Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Chris Hemsworth, Cailee Spaeny, Lewis Pullman, Nick Offerman, Xavier Dolan, Shea Whigham and Mark O'Brien. 4/10
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Mile 22 (2018)
7/10
Surprisingly enjoyable, for a Wahlberg movie! 7/10
26 May 2019
Review: I surprisingly enjoyed this film, about a middle-aged CIA Officer and former U.S. Marine war veteran, James Silva (Mark Wahlberg), who leads a Special Activities Division team code-named Overwatch to raid a Russian FSB safe house in the United States. Under the remote supervision of James Bishop (John Malkovich) and his team, the mission is to locate and destroy shipments of caesium before the highly radioactive substance can be weaponised. Once I got to grips with the plot, I was able to enjoy the fast-paced action, which was pretty intense, but I was surprised to see Wahlberg take a backseat in this one. Most of his team did the hard work, while he's barking harsh orders to them, and his unsympathetic attitude, due to Asperger does go a bit far. Once Li Noor (Iko Uwais) is introduced to the plot, the whole movie steps up a gear, and the brilliant fighting scenes and intense shoot-outs made the movie a frill ride. It's nothing out of the ordinary, like the Raid which made Iko a star, but the non-stop action and various twists in the plot towards the end did make it stand out from the rest in 2018. One of the problems that I had with the film, was the fact that the Russians managed to kill everyone in the Overwatch team, except for the actual person who killed the ladies son, which must have been a coincidence. Maybe they left it open for a sequel. I must admit, I did think that Li Noor was the innocent party and that he was targeted by baddies, who went through hell to try and capture him, so the writers did a good job by misleading the audience until the very end. I was also impressed with the cinematography, and the believable shoot-outs, which had a touch of Heat, in terms of the sound and artillery. Once the action hits the apartment building, I liked the tribute to the Raid, which was the same in many ways, but nothing will touch the original. Although I have highly praised this film, it still felt like a Mish-Mash of other movies, hence the mediocre rating. I can't help feeling that it would have been more of a raw film without Wahlberg's name tied to it, which would have been better in many ways, but it wouldn't have been distributed as well. Anyway, I personally think that it deserved a bigger profit at the box office, mainly for the effort to make it unique, and the brilliant casting of Iko, who actually made Wahlberg look like an amateur when it came to the action scenes. Watchable!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Peter Berg, who also brought you Very Bad Things in 1998, Welcome to the Jungle, Friday Night Lights, The Kingdom, Hancock, Battleship, Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon and Patriots Day. His next project sees him pairing up with Wahlberg again in Wonderland, which is about an ex-felon named Spenser, who returns to Boston's criminal underworld to unravel a twisted murder conspiracy, which is due out this year. They did announce that Mile 22 is going to be a trilogy, at the 2017 CinemaCon, but there isn't a script in development yet. As it didn't smash the box office, there isn't a high demand for a sequel, but I personally think that it would compliment this movie if they brought out a sequel sooner, while the plot if fresh in people's mind. With films like Six Billion Dollar Man, Home Invasion, Wonderland, Good Joe Bell and Scoob, which is a feature-length animated Scooby Doo movie, Mark Wahlberg hasn't really got time to fit in a sequel any time soon, which is a shame because it's a promising concept.

Budget: $50million Worldwide Gross: $66.3million

Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Iko Uwais, Lauren Cohan, John Malkovich, Ronda Rousey, Carlo Alban, Natasha Goubskaya, Sam Medina, Terry Kinney, Peter Berg, Keith Arthur Bolden and Jenique Hendrix. 7/10
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Green Book (2018)
8/10
Highly entertaining! 8/10
23 May 2019
Review: What a brilliant film! For such a low budget, and no fancy graphics, this highly entertaining film proves that a good story, and excellent acting, is all you need to produce something special. This reverse "Driving Miss Daisy" type road movie, see's Viggo Mortensen (Tony Lip), playing an Italian bouncer, who is forced to take on a job, to drive a African American pianist to various locations during his eight-week concert tour through the Midwest and Deep South, while the Copacabana nightclub, were he works, is closed for renovations. The eccentric and highly educated classical pianist, Doctor Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), hires Tony on the strength of his references, even though there were several candidates up for the job. As this movie was set during the early 1960's, it's extremely rare that a white man chauffeur's a black man, so they had there ups and downs throughout there tiresome journey. The fact that this film is based on real characters, made it even more of a joy to watch, and the various obstacles that Tony and Don tackled together, made them become closer as friends, even though Tony had a problem with black people at the beginning of the film. For this day and age, the subject matter was extremely relevant, especially with the American president trying his utmost to divide us. From an entertaining point of view, there is enough content to keep you glued to the big screen, which is rare for a movie in this genre. Throughout there journey, Don helps Tony write letters to his wife, correctly spelling and rephrasing passages, which I found touching and emotional in places. Even after the episode in the YMCA pool, which I thought would change the direction of the film, was brilliant because the director chose not to dwell on the matter. The main element that made this movie unique, has to be the excellent performances from the leading actors. Their chemistry on screen was amazing, like Cruise & Hoffman in Rainman, and the director shot the period well, but it's not the type of movie that you can watch time and time again. In real life, Tony Lip and Dr. Donald Shirley remained friends until they died within months of each other in 2013, so you're actually watching a life-long relationship unfold on screen. In all, I highly recommend this movie to all adult movie-goers because it has something for everyone, and you will be left feeling hope and joy. Great!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Peter Farrelly, who also brought you Dumb and Dumber in 1994, Kingpin, There's Something About Mary, Me, Myself & Irene, Osmosis Jones, Shallow Hal, Stuck On You, The Perfect Catch, The Heartbreak Kid, Hall Pass, The Three Stooges, which was awful, Movie 43 and Dumb and Dumber To. His change of direction with this film has really paid off because it won the Best Motion Picture of the Year Oscar, along with the Best Original Screenplay and the Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting role for Mahershala Ali. Personally, I thought that Viggo Mortensen deserved the Oscar for Best Actor, but he sadly lost out to Rami Malek for his great performance in Bohemian Rhapsody. For such a highly rated movie, which has won many awards and loved by critics, it still didn't smash the box office like a lot of the weaker movies did, but at least it was recognised by the people in the academy, even though they don't always get it right. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and for a director who has produced more comedic movies than serious drama's, he put together a good script, along with great actors, who brought this true story to the big screen with style.

Budget: $23million Worldwide Gross: $319million

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Music Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini, Sebastian Maniscalco, Mike Hatton, P.J. Byrne, Joe Cortese and Maggie Nixon. 8/10
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Glass (2019)
4/10
Big let down but McAvoy smashed it! 4/10
21 May 2019
Review: After the success of Split and Unbreakable, I had high hopes for this film, especially as the whole cast was returning, but once again, it turned out to be a total disappointment. The movie is based in a mental institution, which was a bad idea from the get-go because you don't get to see the 3 main characters, David Dunn (Bruce Willis), Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) and the Beast (James McAvoy), use their unique powers until the very end. Although it's called Glass, it's mainly about the Beast in my eyes because Elijah plays dumb for most of the movie, and David is locked up in a room, playing the "Good Samaritan" who gets treated like the enemy. After an hour and a half of boring psychoanalysis, and the beast constantly changing from one character to another, I got fed up with the film, and the ending was appalling. Samuel L. played his usual type of role, where he is superior to others, but James McAvoy was excellent throughout. Without his character, the movie would have been much worse because Bruce Willis looked like he didn't want to be in the film. All of the action scenes which involved Willis, were really weird because you could see that he was struggling to play the role convincingly. As I had watched Split and Unbreakable, the whole Mental Institution concept seemed pointless because I already knew about there powers and what they were capable of. Towards the end, the director finally woke up and started to add some complex elements, which didn't make any sense to me, but by that time it was way too late. It seemed like he did a tribute to the Usual Suspects, in terms of the way that Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) pieced together the whole suicide plot at the end, but there were way too many holes in the script and I was left feeling that it was a total waste of a great cast. Personally, I thought that we were going to get an in-depth look into Elijah's character as we did with Unbreakable for David and the different personalities of McAvoy's characters in Split, but we ended up with pointless hospital jargon about comic book heroes and fake superhumans. On the plus side, the beast was pretty scary, and his physique was a drastic change from the usual size of McAvoy, but this film really didn't live up to its expectations. If they do decide to gather other superhumans for another movie, I really hope that the director gets back his spark because his last few movies, except for Split, haven't been that great. Average!

Round-Up: This movie was written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, who also brought you Praying for Anger in 1992, Wide Awake, The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs, The Village, Lady in the Water, The Happening, The Last Airbender, After Earth, The Visit, and Split. His career has certainly had its ups and downs, and he's worked with some top actors when they were in there prime, but his complex storylines sometimes leave the audience baffled and confused. After creating 3 brilliant characters, who brought different elements to make a perfect movie franchise, I don't know how he made a shambles of the whole thing. He had already done the hard work by giving all of the characters an in-depth back story, which was why it was weird that he didn't give Glass his own standalone movie, and then made a 4th movie about all three characters together. Anyway, judging by the box office takings, it's obvious that the public has grown to like these characters, which was why they rushed to the cinema to see them all together on the big screen, but after reading the critics reviews, it certainly didn't go out with a bang.

Budget: $20million Worldwide Gross: $247million

Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller Cast: James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Anya Taylor-Joy, Sarah Paulson, Spencer Treat Clark, Charlayne Woodard, Luke Kirby and Adam David Thompson. 4/10
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Bumblebee (2018)
4/10
Great CGI, poor concept! 4/10
15 May 2019
Review: This is yet another average movie from the Transformers franchise, which certainly looked good, in terms of the CGI, but the storyline and poor characters, really let the movie down. It starts off well, with the war on planet Cybertron, were the Autobot resistance, led by Optimus Prime, is on the verge of losing the civil war against the Decepticons but once it switches to planet earth, it goes from bad to worse. It's set in 1987, and the director portrayed the period well, but it's really the weak characters, and poor wit, that really didn't work. Bumblebee made the movie watchable, but the miserable Charlie Watson (Hailee Steinfeld) got on my nerves after a while. I can understand why she had to play the part in that manner because she is traumatised by the death of her father, and she's resentful of her mother for moving on too quickly with her new boyfriend, but we have seen Bumblebee teamed up with a character like this before. After finding the Volkswagen Beetle in a scrapyard, her life changes, and she becomes more upbeat, but once the Decepticons track Bumblebee on earth, the movie becomes extremely far-fetched and totally ridiculous in places. A lot of the previous Transformer movies had messy action scenes, which were hard to notice the attention to detail, but this movie had clean and clear shots which looked good on the big screen. The transformations were brilliant, especially when the Decepticons were switching from planes, cars and Transformers, but it wasn't enough to make the movie a unique cinematic experience. The relationship between Charlie and Bumblebee was quite emotional in parts, especially when they had to part company towards the end, but her ridiculous family who didn't really seem that bothered when their house was totally destroyed by Bumblebee, was a pointless addition to the cast. It did follow the usual Transformers concept because the same thing happened in the very first movie, starring Shia LaBeouf, were his family were also a nuisance, so it wasn't that surprising. Anyway, I'm surprised that the movie got a PG rating because some of the action scenes are pretty gruesome, especially when the Decepticons are executing there enemies. As for the other characters in the film, I didn't really see the point of Memo (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.), who seemed like a blithering idiot throughout the film, and Agent Burns (John Cena) didn't act like he was taking the whole "Decepticons destroying earth" seriously. Bumblebee looked tiny compared to the other Transformers, but he always stood his ground, even though he got beaten to his very last screw most of the time. With the 3 storylines running together at the same time, which are Charlie's dysfunctional family, Charlie's relationship with Bumblebee, and Bumblebee vs. The Decepticons, the movie seems a bit of a mess but it all comes together with a final showdown, which was pretty intense. I didn't have high expectations for the film, after the disappointing last couple of Transformers movies, so I wasn't totally disappointed. I do think that it's time for a darker and more adult version of the Transformer movies because this "teenage sidekick" concept, has been done to death. Watchable!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Travis Knight, who also brought you, the spectacular Kubo and the Two Strings. He was the lead animator for Coraline, ParaNorman and the Boxtrolls, which he also produced, so his background has mostly been in animation, hence why the attention to detail in this movie was so good. Although Kubo and the Two Strings didn't smash the box office, it was a great movie and a fantastic achievement for his first major release. This movie made a hefty profit, but that's not to say that it's a better film. Visually it's brilliant, but it failed when it comes to bringing something new to the Transformer legacy. Time for a reboot!

Budget: $135million Worldwide Gross: $468million

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Cast: Hailee Steinfeld, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., John Cena, Jason Drucker, Pamela Adlon, Stephen Schneider, Ricardo Hoyos, John Ortiz, Glynn Turman, Len Cariou and Fred Dryer with voices by Dylan O'Brien, Peter Cullen, Angela Bassett and Justin Theroux. 4/10
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Creed II (2018)
5/10
Didn't have the same impact than the earlier Rocky movies! 5/10
15 May 2019
Review: I've grown up watching the Rocky movies, and I always used to get excited when I heard that Sylvester Stallone was working on another one, but they went downhill after the 4th instalment. Now with the Creed movies taking over, the first movie was quite good, but this film just seemed like a "Mish Mash" version of the 4th movie, were Rocky went toe to toe with the gigantic Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), who was basically a laboratory experiment. In this movie, Creed (Michael B. Jordan) is out for revenge against Drago's son, Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), who is quickly moving up the ranks, and seeking the heavyweight champion belts. After losing his dad in the ring during a fight against Ivan, Adonis (Creed) agrees to fight Viktor, but without the backing from Rocky, who thinks the fight is a bad idea. I did find the movie quite slow, from the beginning to the end, and the fighting scenes weren't as dramatic as the earlier Rocky movies. The whole concept was, more or less, exactly the same as Rocky 4, and the predictable storyline, which had some corny lines, did become a bit tedious after a while, but it's what's we have grown to expect from Rocky/Creed movies. Michael B. Jordan seems to act the same in all of his movies, so his performance wasn't that surprising, but once he had the baby, and he actually took the fight seriously, it was good to see an emotional character who became more technical with his fighting skills. I did realise a Father/Sons theme, which must have been hard for Sylvester Stallone after losing his son, Sage Stallone in 2012 at the young age of 36. Anyway, I didn't get that "underdog coming good" feeling after watching this movie, but it's watchable, once it eventually gets going. I would have liked to have seen some banter between Ivan and Rocky, and it would have been good to hear Viktor speak. As we live in a day and age of endless remakes, I doubt that another franchise is ever going to able to give you that amazing feeling that you get when you hear the Rocky theme again, and the fight choreography looks more staged than intense like the olden days, which is why this average movie didn't meet all expectations. On paper, the thought of Ivan and Apollo's sons coming face to face in the ring sounds like it's going to be a movie spectacular but it lacked the action and intensity that the original Ivan vs. Rocky fight did. A lot of time was wasted on Adonis's back story, which made complete sense in one way, but I personally just wanted to see the fight. With opponents like Apollo, Mr. T and Ivan Drago, Viktor certainly looked the perfect candidate but he wasn't that entertaining out of the ring. I just think that it's time for a new boxing franchise, with some flamboyant characters who will light up the screen. Watchable!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Steven Caple Jr., who also brought you the Land in 2016. As this is his first major release, he wouldn't have been my first choice to direct a movie which could affect a whole franchise. He did a decent job, but he seemed to have followed the Rocky handbook, more than trying something fresh and new. One of the things that let this movie down, was the annoying backing track, which made the film feel cheap and a bit stale. With Rocky IV being the most successful movie in the Rocky franchise, taking in $127million, closely followed by Rocky III, which was my favourite, I'm not surprised that they chose this concept to carry on the Creed franchise. It would be good to see Mr. T talking trash again, but that's just wishful thinking. Anyway, Creed II definitely didn't have the impact that the early Rocky movies did, but it's still a decent boxing movie, which had some emotional moments.

Budget: $50million Worldwide Gross: $214million

Genre: Drama, Sport Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Dolph Lundgren, Florian Munteanu, Russell Hornsby, Wood Harris, Brigitte Nielsen and Milo Ventimiglia. 5/10
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Aquaman (2018)
5/10
Visually great but bad storyline! 5/10
12 May 2019
Review: I was surprised to see that this movie is in 21st place in all-time box office takings because I really didn't think that it was that amazing. Jason Momoa is the perfect Aquaman, but the script was awful, and the music throughout the film REALLY got on my nerves. Some of the scenes looked great, especially on the big screen, and the few witty moments were delivered well from Momoa but I found the core of the plot to be predictable and a bit annoying in places. The whole "step-brother wanting to gain the power to control the seas" theme was weak, and Aquaman's sidekick, Mera (Amber Heard), seemed to take centre stage during the important parts of the concept, more than Momoa. Dolph Lundgren put in a decent performance as King Nereus, alongside Patrick Wilson (King Orm), but that Fly looking "Baddie", Manta (Yahya Adbul-Mateen II) was completely useless, and the acting was terrible. I liked the relationship between Aquaman and his father Tom Curry (Temuera Morrison), but Nicole Kidman seemed a bit out of place, as Atlanna. Visually, it was a great achievement because it must have been hard to make the characters look like they were actually underwater, and some of the action scenes were put together well, but it's really Momoa's fresh acting style, that saved the day. He would have been great in a Marvel movie, but now he's stuck with DC's Aquaman, it really could do with Ragnorak's director, Taiki Waititi, touch. With all that aside, it is a decent watch, and it's much better than some of the movies that have come out of DC's camp, but it wasn't memorable and I'm glad that I didn't pay top dollar to watch it in the cinema. With a sequel due to come out in 2022, it's a shame that the same director is making the movie because I can't see it being dramatically different from this one. Now that Aquaman is king, there are many different avenues that they can take the character, but I don't think that the director is willing to take many risks, in terms of wit and really letting Momoa loose. Judging by the scenes after the credits, it's obvious that Manta is returning to revenge his dad, and the fact that King Orm is in a room with a view, I'm sure that he will be returning to gain the throne but it really needs a charismatic character to make this movie something to remember. Anyway, it's worth a watch, especially if you're a comic book fan, but I preferred Wonderwoman. Watchable!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by James Wan, who brought you Saw in 2004, Dead Silence, Death Sentence starring Kevin Bacon, Doggie Heaven, Insidious 1 & 2, The Conjuring 1 & 2 and Fast & Furious 7. He has quite a versatile filmography, which was originally based on horror mysteries, so he was a questionable choice to bring this epic movie to the big screen. He also produced all of the Saw movies, Annabelle, Demonic, Lights Out, Jigsaw, Annabelle: Creation, The Nun and the Curse of La Llorona, so he has a passion for the supernatural genre. As this is the highest grossing movie from DC, including all of the Batman movies, it certainly passed all expectations, especially after the disappointing Justice League movie. I just hope they cut down on the visuals, and concentrate on a decent plot for the sequel.

Budget: $160-$200million Worldwide Gross: $1.15billion

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi Cast: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Temuera Morrison, Lundi Lin, Michael Beach and Randall Park. 5/10
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3/10
Waste of time and money, but the original concept was decent. 3/10
11 May 2019
Review: What a total waste of time and money! All of the details that went into the extravagant sets, were wasted because there was way too much going on from one scene to the next. On top of that, all of the actors didn't put in a good performance, and the depth throughout the film was uninteresting and quite pointless. I liked the robot, Strike because his back story and determination to catch Hester Shaw, made complete sense, but the rest of the cast just got on my nerves after a while. I am also getting fed up with Hugo Weaving playing the same "Baddie" roles because he is a good actor who has a bigger range. The whole movie just seemed like a "Mish Mash" of other movies like Star Wars, Mad Max etc, which is why it really didn't go down well with audiences around the world. I do appreciate that the movie was based on a book, so I can't totally blame the crew of this film, but I must say that it's a terrible adaptation which must have looked good on paper. I'm not going to type an in-depth review about the storyline like I usually do because it has was too many twist and turns, and the technical jargon will is too complex and confusing, so I'll carry on giving my opinion of how the creators made a right shambles of this film. Now, on top of the corny script and awful looking ships, the ending was terrible, and I was expecting Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmer), to be some kick-ass Ninja skills, which she totally didn't. I can understand that she was miserable about her past, after losing her mum to the evil Thaddeus Valentine, but after being saved numerous times, she could have at least showed some sort of appreciation. As for Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan), he just got on my nerves from the very beginning, which is a shame because he was excellent in The Umbrella Academy. On the plus side, I was shocked to see that they actually built a lot of the sets, which makes it worse when you see how much it lost at the box office. They did use the hell out of CGI, but a lot of the action scenes were a right mess, especially the air battles. I will give it a couple of points because the concept was promising, but it's not in the same league as the Hunger Games or other movies in this genre. With Hugo Weaving being the biggest star in the movie, it's obvious that they would have to get some bigger names to get back the money they lost if they decide to make a sequel. I just hope they concentrate on the script more than the stupid moving cities, which looked ridiculous. I think you can tell that I really didn't like this film, but I stuck with it because I was expecting a big showdown towards the end, which turned out to be yet another disappointment. Waste of Time!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Christian Rivers, who also directed Minutes Past Midnight, which was an unheard-of movie. For such a big film, I'm surprised that he was given a big budget. Maybe it's because Peter Jackson contributed to the screenplay, and he also co-directed and produced this film, so the studio must have thought that it would be a guaranteed blockbuster after the success of the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit franchises. It has been calculated that the film lost the studio $174.7million when factoring together all expenses and revenues, making it the biggest box office bomb of 2018.

Budget: $100million Worldwide Gross: $83.6million (Flop!)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Thriller Cast: Hera Hilmer, Robert Sheehan, Hugo Weaving, Jihae, Ronan Raftery, Leila George, Patrick Malahide, Stephen Lang, Colin Salmon, Mark Mitchinson and Rege-Jean Page. 3/10
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8/10
Great animation and storyline! 8/10
9 May 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Review: When I heard they were making an animated version of Spider-Man for the big screen, I wasn't overly excited, but after watching a couple of trailers, I saw that they really took a chance with the unique style and concept of the film. It still didn't make me want to pay to see it on the big screen, so I waited for it to be released on Blu-ray, and I must admit, it was a great movie. The whole black Spider-Man concept was brilliantly put together, and I liked the family element throughout the film. The various Spider-Men & Women were great but it did take me some time to get used to the animation, which was done just like a comic book. The mannerisms and facial expressions of Miles Morales were brilliant, and the kingpin looked nuts but it really is the storyline which I have to give top marks. It did get a bit confusing when it came to the quantum leap concept because they seemed to be flying in and out of time, but apart from that, I really did enjoy it. The movie is about a teenager called Miles Morales, who struggles to live up to the expectations of his father, police officer Jefferson Davis, who sees Spider-Man as a menace. Miles changes to a boarding school, but he sneaks out and goes to his Uncle Aaron Davis house. When he takes Miles to an abandoned subway station to paint graffiti, Miles is bitten by a radioactive spider and gains spider-like abilities. Miles returns to the station to search for the spider and discovers a particle accelerator called "The Super-Collider" built by Wilson Fisk. Fisk hopes to access parallel universes to find alternative versions of his deceased wife and son, who died in a car crash after they found Fisk trying to kill Spider-Man. Spider-Man tried to disable the collider while fighting Fisk's enforcers, Green Goblin and Prowler. Spider-Man saves Miles and senses that they are alike. Green Goblin shoves Spider-Man into the collider, causing an explosion that kills Green Goblin. Wounded, Spider-Man gives Miles a USB drive to disable the accelerator and warns that the machine could destroy the city if activated. Miles watches in horror as Fisk kills Spider-Man, and flees from Prowler. Miles damages the hard drive whilst trying out his newfound abilities. At Spider-Man's grave, Miles meets Peter B. Parker, an older and worn down version of Spider-Man from another dimension. Upon meeting Peter, Miles inadvertently discovers a power to emit a bio-electric pulse to disable his victim. Peter reluctantly agrees to train Miles in exchange for help stealing data to create a new drive. In Fisk's research facility, Miles discovers he has the power to turn invisible. They are confronted by chief scientist Olivia Octavius, who reveals that Peter will die due to cellular decay if he stays longer in their dimension after taking DNA samples from Peter. Miles and Peter are rescued by Gwen Stacy, Spider-Woman from another dimension. They find Peter's aunt, May Parker, who is sheltering more heroes from other dimensions. Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Ham and Peni Parker are also deteriorating. Miles offers to disable the collider so the others can return home, but the heroes tell him he lacks experience. Miles retreats to Aaron's home, where he discovers that Aaron is the Prowler. He returns to May's house, where Peni has completed the drive, however, he is followed by Fisk, Prowler, Octavius, Scorpion and Tombstone, leading to a brawl. Miles flees, but is captured by Prowler and unmasks himself. Unwilling to kill Miles, Aaron is shot by Fisk. Miles flees with Aaron, but Aaron dies of his injuries. Jefferson sees Miles mourning over Aaron and concludes that Spider-Man killed him. The heroes regroup with Miles in his dorm. peter restrains Miles with his webs to ensure his safety before heading out with the heroes, choosing to sacrifice himself by staying behind and deactivating the collider. Miles masters his powers and goes to Aunt May's, where he gains web shooters and repairs Peter's suit. He joins the heroes and helps them defeat Fisk's enforcers before activating the USB drive and sending them home. Fisk and Miles fight throughout the collider and Miles paralyses Fisk with his venom blast and throws him at the kill switch, destroying the collider. Fisk and his enforcers are arrested and Jefferson recognises Spider-Man as a hero. Back in their home dimensions, the heroes return to their lives. Peter prepares to fix his relationship with Mary Jane, and Gwen finds a way to connect Miles across dimensions. It's definitely not a straight forward plot, but it makes more sense when you're watching it. The directors tried their utmost to stay close to the comics, which is why it was popular with the die-hard fans. Personally, I haven't read any of the comics but I still found the movie entertaining, and completely different from any of the movies. It wasn't made with young kids in mind, which is why it didn't smash the box office, and it's "Street" concept isn't for everyone, but there are many different elements that will satisfy all ages. I just hope that they carry on this animated franchise because it's one of the best Spider-Man adaptations that I have seen to date. Surprisingly Enjoyable!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by 3 different directors, who all brought there own fresh idea's to make this movie truly unique. The first director, Peter Ramsey brought you Rise of the Guardians in 2012, and he was a storyboard artist for movies like Predator 2, Backdraft, Far and Away, Bram Stoker's Dracula, The Shadow, Tank Girl, Batman Forever, Eye For An Eye, Independence Day, Men In Black, Godzilla, Edtv, Being John Malkovich, Fight Club, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Cast Away, A.I., Panic Room, Minority Report, Adaptation, The Core, Spartan, Shark Tale, Penguins of Madagascar, Sausage Party and a Wrinkle in Time, so he has loads of experience when it comes to his profession. The second director, Bob Persichetti hasn't directed any other movies, but he was also a storyboard artist, and rough inbetweener, for Hercules, Mulan, Tarzan, Fantasia 2000, The Emperor's New Groove, Treasure Planet, Shrek 2, Shrek The Halls, Monsters vs. Aliens, Puss In Boots and the Little Prince in 2015, so he was perfect when it came to the animation department. The 3rd and final director, Rodney Rothman, produced Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Year One, Get Him To The Greek and The Five-Year Engagement, so he was obviously brought into the mix for his experience in the comedic world. He also wrote Grudge Match and 22 Jump Street, and he supplied the screenplay for this movie alongside Phil Lord, so he played a big part in bringing this movie to the masses. It's not very often that 3 directors, that come from completely different backgrounds, are able to make a successful movie together, but in this case, it actually worked. It's a thumbs up from me!

Budget: $90million Worldwide Gross: $376million

Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure, Family, Sci-Fi Cast: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Luna Lauren Velez, Zoe Kravitz, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn, Nicolas Cage, Kathryn Hahn, Liev Schreiber, Chris Pine, Natalie Morales, Oscar Isaac and Stan Lee. 8/10
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The Grinch (2018)
6/10
Great attention to detail but could have been funnier! 6/10
8 May 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Review: For an animation movie made for kids, I actually enjoyed this film. Maybe I'm going soft! The animation was top class, and the vibrate colours and attention to detail was quite impressive. The director stuck to the original concept, which was a plus, and I must admit, I did get a bit emotional towards the end. Don't get me wrong, it's not in the same league as the old Pixar movies, but there is something for the whole family, especially the little ones. The movie kicks off in the town of Whoville, were the humanoids called Who's are filled with excitement about celebrating Christmas. The only one who isn't amused is a cantankerous, green-furred creature called The Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch), who has a heart "two sizes too small" and lives in a cave on the top of Mount Crumpit just north of Whoville. The Grinch has a pet dog named Max and they both only visit Whoville when the Grinch needs to buy food and do bad things. Meanwhile, 5-year-old Cindy Lou Who notices that her mother Donna is overworked trying to take care of herself and her baby twin brothers, Buster and Bean. At First, she decides to send a letter to Santa Claus to help her mother, but after encountering the Grinch, who sarcastically says that she'll have to talk to Santa face-to-face about it, she then decides to go to the North Pole to talk to Santa, but when Donna tells her that it would take a month to get there and back home, her final decision is to try and trap Santa with the help of her friends. With Christmas approaching, all the Whoville festivities give the Grinch a flashback, recalling his disjointing childhood spent mostly alone and unwanted in an orphanage. The Grinch soon decides that he will steal Christmas from Whoville to assuage his distress. He acquires a fat reindeer whom he calls Fred to help him pull a sleigh that he stole from his neighbour, Mr. Bricklebaum. After a test run, the Grinch discovers that Fred has a family. With a heavy heart, he lets Fred go home with them. On Christmas Eve, after making a Santa Claus disguise and dozens of gadgets to help him with his plan, the Grinch and Max, who pulls the sleigh in Fred's place, go down to Whoville to steal the decorations and presents. He soon encounters Cindy after falling into her trap. Her request to help lighten her mother's workload, and her kind advice about listening to the Who's singing to alleviate his sadness, touches the Grinch's bitter heart, but he still carried on with his mission. After stealing every Christmas present, the Who's wake up and are shocked to see that the presents and decorations are gone. At first, Cindy believes that she's to blame because she trapped Santa, but Donna tells her that Christmas is more than just about presents and that Cindy's the best thing that ever happened to her. The Who's then join together and sing, which puzzles the Grinch because they are still celebrating Christmas, despite the theft. After heeding Cindy's advice and immersing himself to their singing, his small bitter heart grows up three times it's original size. The Grinch and Max decide to return to Whoville to return the stolen items. A guilt-ridden and remorseful Grinch admits his crimes to the Who's, and apologises before returning to his cave. Feeling sorry for the Grinch, Cindy Lou comes to invite him to celebrate Christmas at her house, and he awkwardly attends. When seated down for dinner, he realises and confesses that it wasn't really Christmas he despised, but being alone and his bitterness over being neglected. Before carving the roast beast, the Grinch affects a toast "To kindness and love, the things we need most. What a sweet story! Personally, I can't see myself watching it more than once, but I still enjoyed this adaptation of an old classic. Although he was a grumpy so and so, I liked the relationship between the Grinch and his trustee companion Max, who was always there for him. I did think that the soundtrack didn't suit the film, and the narrating got on my nerves after a while but judging by the box office takings, and the decent reviews, it's still worth a watch. Watchable!

Round-Up: This is the first major release for director Scott Mosier, who did a decent job with this project, even though it has been made a few times before. It was also directed by Yarrow Cheney, who was co-director for the Secret Life of Pets, The Very First Noel and the Minions short, Puppy!. After watching the bonus material, It's amazing to see the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes in the animation world, which is why it takes so long to release movies in this genre. Every hair, colour and facial expression is finely detailed, which goes through many processes before it's final render, so I appreciate the work that went into making this film. With that aside, I do think that the humour could have been much better, and I would have liked to have seen some more depth from the various characters but it's still fun for the whole family.

Budget: $75million Worldwide Gross: $512million

Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Musical Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Cameron Seely, Rashida Jones, Pharrell Williams, Tristan O'Hare, Kenan Thompson, Sam Lavagnino, Ramone Hamilton, Angela Lansbury, Lori Alan and Michael Beattie. 6/10
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Hunter Killer (2018)
5/10
Decent plot but only worth a one-watch! 5/10
27 April 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Review: This is yet another mediocre movie from Gerard Butler, which does have its intense moments, but it's nothing that we haven't seen before. I did enjoy the Navy Seal part of the plot, which I thought Butler should have played, and it did have a Hunt for the Red October feel, but without the Connery class performance. Gary Oldman should have played Butler's role, which would have worked perfectly in the submarine, but with that aside, I did like the whole "American's teaming up with the Russian's" concept, which is rare in this day and age. The film kicks off under-water, were the USS Tampa Bay vanishes while shadowing a Russian Akula-class submarine in the Arctic. Rear Admiral John Fisk (Common) sends a Virginia-class submarine, the USS Arkansas, under the command of newly-promoted and unorthodox Commander Joe Glass (Gerard Butler) to investigate. At the same time, a Navy Seal team under the command of Lieutenant Bill Beaman (Toby Stephens) is sent in to discreetly observe a Russian naval base, but their mission is swiftly complicated when Martinelli (Zane Holtz), the team's new designated marksman recruit, is rendered unconscious during the HALO drop. When they arrive at the naval base, they witness defence minister Dmitriy Surov (Mikhail Gorevoy) conducting a coup d'etat and taking Russian President Nikolai Zakarin (Alexander Dyachenko) prisoner and swiftly realise that Duroc intends to trigger a war. Meanwhile, Arkansas discovers the lost U.S. submarine, and also finds a sunken Russian submarine damaged in a manner that suggests internal sabotage rather than external attack. They are attacked by another Russian submarine that has been hiding under an iceberg, but Glass is able to destroy the ambushes and rescue Russian survivors from the wreck, including submarine captain Sergei Andropov (Michael Nyqvist). Now I know that it sounds confusing, but believe me, it's pretty straight forward when you watch it. Anyway, back at base, the U.S.government learns about the coup, and Admiral Charles Donnegan (Gary Oldman) recommends preparing for war, while Fisk suggests that Arkansas be sent to rendezvous with Beaman's team after they have rescued Zakarin. Glass manages to convince the reluctant Andropov to help, and with Andropov's knowledge of the minefield around the base, Glass navigates the Arkansas near the base undetected. Meanwhile, Beaman's team infiltrate the base and succeed in retrieving President Zakarin, but lose two teammates in the process. Beaman delivers the injured president to Arkansas's DSRV, then goes back alone for Martinelli, whom he was forced to leave behind due to prior injuries. As U.S. and Russian fleets face off for battle, Arkansas sustains further damage when they are attacked by Andropov's old ship. Andropov is able to communicate a message affirming that President Zakarin is aboard the submarine. When Duroc orders his forces at the base to fire missiles at the surfaced Arkansas, Glass refuses to take action, recognising that firing back at the Russians could start the war he is trying to stop. In the last seconds, Andropov's old crewmates defy orders and destroy the incoming missiles with CIWS before they can strike Arkansas, and subsequently destroy Durov's naval base headquarters with their missiles. With the war averted, Glass docks Arkansas to the Russian naval base to return Zakarin and Andropov's surviving crew to their country. Although the movie flopped heavily at the box office, even with big names like Butler and Oldman in the cast, it's still a well-written story, with realistic sets, but it's not the type of film that I would personally watch twice. It's obvious from the very beginning that Butler is going to save the day, again, but with the many twist and turns in the plot, it does make it watchable. It's just a shame that the director didn't take full advantage of the great cast! Watchable!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Donovan Marsh, who brought you Spud in 2010, Spud 2 and iNumber Number, which are all unheard of. He did do a decent job with a complex storyline, but I personally think that it would have been a smash hit if it went to an established director. With Butler's name on the producer credits, the failure at the box office must have hit everyone hard, especially after the amount of work that went into the 3 parallel concepts. As this film didn't get a big distribution campaign, I can't see it damaging any of the actor's reputations, but I still think that it would have been a better watch of Butler was in the action role, with Oldman controlling the submarine.

Budget: $40million Worldwide Gross: $16million

Genre: Action, Thriller Cast: Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, Common, Corey Johnson, Adam James, Christopher Goh, Carter MacIntyre, Michael Nyqvist, Caroline Goodall, David Yelland, Jacob Scipio, Shane Taylor and Henry Goodman. 5/10
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Robin Hood (2018)
2/10
Predictable & Unentertaining! 2/10
25 April 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Review: This movie is really poor quality! Although there are some epic action scenes, it still looks and feels cheap, and the weak and unrealistic plot didn't help. The mediocre performances and terrible pairing of Foxx and Egerton were also a contribution to the failure of this film, but Mendelsohn plays the "Baddie" well, like in most of his movies. I couldn't grasp what accent Foxx actually had, and the typical "period drama" English accent from the rest of the cast became tedious after a while. The love story wasn't bad, but it didn't touch the other interpretations of this classic story. In this 2018 version, Lord Robin of Loxley (Taron Egerton) lives in Nottingham, and enjoys a good life with his lover Marian (Eve Hewson), before he is drafted by the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn), to fight in the Third Crusade against the Saracens. After four years away from England, Robin becomes disillusioned with the Crusades when he fails to prevent his commander, Guy Of Gisbourne (Paul Anderson), from executing prisoners, including a teenage boy, despite the pleading of the boy's father, which prompts Gisbourne to send Robin back home. When he returns to Nottingham, Robin learns from his old friend Friar Tuck (Tim Minchin), that the Sheriff had him officially declared dead two years prior in order to seize Robin's land and wealth to continue funding the war effort at the behest of the corrupt Cardinal (F. Murray Abraham), exiling the citizens from the city and into the coal mine town across the river. Investigating "the Slags", Robin witnesses the commoners planning to rise against the government that oppresses and exploits them and learns that Marian is now involved with their aspiring leader, Will Tillman (Jamie Dornan). Robin is prevented from making contact with her by the Arab whose son he tried to save. The man introduces himself as Yahya, which he says can be translated to John, and proposes that he and Robin work to end the war by stealing the money taken from the people to fund the church's conflict. Marian seeks Robin upon learning that he is alive, but he chooses not to tell her his plans for her protection. After hours of training with John, Robin begins stealing the riches that the Sheriff has extorted from the townspeople, earning the nickname The Hood, while concealing his activities by masquerading as a frivolous playboy who supports the Sheriff's regime. During a party in the Cardinal's honour, Marian and Robin discover the war is a ploy of the church, which is also funding the Saracen army, to defeat the king and claim total power after his death. Gisbourne and his men raid the Slags, in order to find the Hood. Marian attempts to intervene despite Will's objections and crosses paths with the Hood, whom she discovers is Robin. John is captured by Gisbourne and tortured by the Sheriff but refuses to reveal the Hood's identity. Robin reveals himself to the commoners and is embraced as their leader, upsetting Will. Will leads a riot to distract the Sheriff's men while Robin intercepts a caravan transporting the Sheriff's fortune out of Nottingham, to be delivered to the Saracen army. Robin then leads the townspeople in a battle against the Sheriff and his forces. During the confrontation, Robin shares a kiss with Marian, which is witnessed by Will, moments before he is horribly scarred by an explosion. Disillusioned by Marian's betrayal, he abandons her and the revolution. When the tide of the battle begins turning in the Sheriff's favour, Robin surrenders to avoid further bloodshed and is taken to the Sheriff's castle to be executed. One of the guards is actually John, having escaped his cell, and he finally claims revenge on the Sheriff by hanging him by the chain on an oil burner. Robin and John flee to reunite with Marian and the townspeople who assisted them in Sherwood Forest, taking refuge there as outlaws. Meanwhile, the Cardinal approaches a vengeful Will and offers him the chance to claim the power vacuum in Nottingham if he is loyal to the church. Will is appointed the new sheriff and brands Robin and his follower's criminals, with Robin defiantly challenging Will to come after him. They have definitely left it open for a sequel, but after the terrible box office takings, and the bad reviews from the critics, I can't really see it happening. This film reminded me a lot of the terrible King Arthur movie, where they tried there utmost to bring an old tale into the 21st century, but they got it totally wrong. Anyway, I won't be watching this film again in a hurry, and I personally think that it was one of the worse films of 2018. Disappointing!

Round-Up: This is the first major release from Otto Bathurst, who must be disappointed with the outcome. He was able to pull together a decent cast, especially with the demand for Taron Egerton after the success of the Kingsman franchise, but the predictable action scenes and poor wit made it unentertaining and a strain to watch.

Budget: $100million Worldwide Gross: $85million (Flop!)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller Cast: Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn, Eve Hewson, Jamie Dornan, Tim Minchin, Paul Anderson and F. Murray Abraham. 2/10
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3/10
Not that entertaining! 3/10
22 April 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Review: I'm not a big Potter geek so I was watching this film from a stand-alone point of view, and I must admit, I really didn't enjoy it. Right from the beginning of the movie, during the epic breakout, it just seemed like a right mess, and the straight-forward concept was over complicated. I would have preferred the director to spend more time on character building than the CGI, which seemed a bit over the top throughout the film. That's not to say that it didn't look amazing, it's just that the storyline quite boring, and I got a bit fed up with all of the technical jargon, which went straight over my head. I was also expecting a big showdown towards the end, which turned out to be a big build-up to the third instalment. On the plus side, Depp was really creepy and the costumes added to the unique look of the film but I still found it unentertaining. It kicks off in 1927, were the Magical Congress of the United States of America is transferring the powerful dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) to London to be tried for his crimes. Grindelward escapes, helped by Abernathy (Kevin Guthrie). Three months later, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is asked to work alongside his brother Theseus (Callum Turner) to locate Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller) in Paris. Credence maybe Leta's (Zoe Kravitz) lost brother, Corvus Lestrange, the only person who can kill Hogwarts professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law). Confused! You Will Be! Newt declines, and the Auror Grimmson is dispatched in his place. Later, Dumbledore persuades Newt to go. Newt's American friends, Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol) and Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) visit him unexpectedly. Jacob & Queenie quarrel about marrying, and an upset Queenie leaves to find her sister Tina (Katherine Waterston), who is searching for Credence in Paris. Newt and Jacob decide to follow. In Paris, Tina searches for Credence at the Circus Arcanus. Credence and a circus freak named Nagini (Claudia Kim) escape after causing a distraction. While searching for Credence's birth mother, he and Nagini locate the servant who put him up for adoption. However, Grimmson, who is secretly working for Grindelwald, arrives and kills her. Meanwhile, Tina meets Yusuf Kama (William Nadylam), who is also hunting Credence. Newt and Jacob follow Yusuf to Tina, and Yusuf explains that he made an unbreakable vow to kill Credence, who he believes is his step-brother and the last of the Lestrange family. Their search for information about Credence leads them to the Lestrange family tomb. Yusuf says that he and Leta have the same mother, and Leta reveals that she unintentionally killed her infant brother and thus he cannot be Credence. However, a fabricated trail led Credence to the tomb, where Grindelwald is holding a rally for his followers. Jacob finds Queenie at the rally. At the rally, Grindelwald preaches against laws forcing wizards to be hidden from muggles and utilises future images of World War II to call for worldwide wizard supremacy and domination. Led by Theseus, Aurors surround the rally, but Grindelwald creates a diversion while sending his followers across Europe to spread his message. Grindelwald casts a circle of blue flame to divide followers from enemies. Credence and Queenie cross over to join him, while Leta sacrifices herself by attacking Grindelwald, allowing Newt, Tina, Jacob Yusuf Nagini, and Theseus to escape. As Grindelwald leaves, the remaining heroes unite alongside the immortal alchemist Nicolas Flamel to defeat Grindelwald's blue flame. Newt now realises he must join the fight. At Hogwarts, Newt gives Dumbledore a vial stolen from Grindelwald. It contains the blood pact that Grindelwald and Dumbledore, once young lovers, made with one another in their youth. Newt surmises that this has prevented Dumbledore and Grindelwald from duelling each other. Dumbledore confirms this but believes it may be possible to destroy the pact. At his Nurmengard base in Austria, Grindelwald reveals Credence's true identity as Aurelius Dumbledore, Albus' long-lost brother and the only person powerful Anouilh to defeat him. Blah! Blah Blah! Queenie uses her mind-reading ability to advise Grindelwald on ways to control Credence. A baby bird that Credence had been caring for is revealed to be a phoenix, a bird associated with the Dumbledore family. So Complicated! If you don't remember the characters names you will definitely lose the plot. I've had a chat with loads of Harry Potter fans, who also didn't think that much of this movie, so I'm not alone with thinking that it was a big letdown. I just hope the next movie in this franchise, cleans up the mess it left behind. Average!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by David Yates, who also brought you Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, The Legend of Tarzan and the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. On paper, he was the perfect choice to direct this movie especially after the success of the Harry Potter and the first Fantastic Beasts movies, but something didn't quite work with this film. I don't know if it was because he was trying to keep close to J.K. Rowling's vision, or he caught the Johnny Depp bug, where everything he touches goes downhill. Anyway, I'm sure a lot of people will disagree with my review, especially the people who actually enjoyed the film, but I can honestly say that I won't be watching it a second time. With the next movie coming in 2020, and another 3 movies in this franchise to be released, I'm sure this is just a build up to how the story will unfold.

Budget: $200million Worldwide Gross: $654million

Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Dan Fogler, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Zoe Kravitz, Callum Turner, Carmen Ejogo, Ezra Miller, Claudia Kim, Kevin Guthrie, Poppy Corby-Tuech, Victoria Yeates, William Nadylam and Wolf Roth. 3/10
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4/10
Blunt is brilliant but not as magical as the first movie!
19 April 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Review: Personally, when I heard they were releasing another Mary Poppins movie, I thought that it was a bad idea, but it actually didn't turn out to be too bad. Don't get me wrong, Lin-Manuel Miranda didn't have the amazing screen charisma of Dick Van Dyke, and the songs were no way close too the original movie, but Emily Blunt played Mary Poppins well and it was well written. It didn't have the magical feel like the first movie, mainly because of the time that it was released, but the mixture with animation was done well, and the kids, especially Georgie, played their parts well. Like many Disney movies in this genre, the plot seems more patronising than fantasy, but I'm sure the kids will love it. If you're familiar with the original movie, you will know about Mary Poppins magical powers, which is why I'm not going to spend ages typing a review about how she became a cinematic icon. The film is set in the 1930s, were Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) lives in his childhood home with his 3 children, Annabelle (Pixie Davies), John (Nathanael Saleh), Georgie (Joel Dawson), and his sister Jane (Emily Mortimer), after the death of his wife a year earlier. Michael has taken a loan from his employer, the Fidelity Fiduciary Bank, and Wilkins (Colin Firth), the bank's corrupt new chairman, send associates to warn him that his house will be repossessed if the loan is not repaid in full by Friday. Michael and Jane recall that their father had left them shares in the bank that should cover the loan, and they search the house for the share certificate. Whilst playing in the park with his brothers and sisters, Georgie finds his dad's old kite, which he had thrown out while he was searching for the certificate, and he flies the kite. Out of the blue, Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) descends from the sky with the kite in her hand. She takes the children home and announces that she will take charge of them as their nanny. Michael visits the bank seeking proof of his shares, but Wilkins denies there are any records before covertly destroying the page from the official ledger. The next morning, Mary Poppins takes the kids to the bank, to give Michael his briefcase which he had left at home, but when the children visit Wilkins office to ask for help, they overhear him planning to repossess their house. After confronting Wilkins, Michael becomes angry with the children for putting the house and his job at risk. Mary Poppins takes the children home, guided by Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda) and his fellow lamplighters who teach the children their lingo. As midnight on Friday approaches, the Banks family prepare to move out of their house, but whilst examining his old kite, Michael discovers that Georgie used the missing share certificate to mend it. Michael and Jane head to the bank while Mary Poppins and the children go with Jack and the lamplighters to Big Ben to turn back time. After scaling the clock tower, Jack and Mary Poppins turn the clock back five minutes, giving Michael and Jane just enough time to reach the bank. Wilkins, however, will not accept the certificate as part of it is still missing. Wilkins elderly uncle, the bank's previous chairman, Mr. Dawes Jr. (Dick Van Dyke), arrives and sacks Wilkins on the spot for his corrupt business practices. He reveals that Michael has plenty of assets to cover the loan, namely the judiciously-invested tuppence that his father had deposited with them many years earlier. Now with there home back in there hands, Mary Poppins realises it is time for her to leave, so Michael and Jane thank her as her umbrella carried her back up into the sky. It's quite a sweet story, which does have it's emotional moments but it just felt like a typical Disney movie, which seems mediocre for this day and age. I don't understand why Mary Poppins watched Jack and the lamplighters risking there life's to go up Big Ben, when she could have easily used her umbrella to fly up there, which she finally does, and she could have easily given Michael the certificate, which would have saved the turmoil that the family had to go through to save their house. Anyway, I appreciate the amount of work that went into the film, especially with the original still being one of the best musicals of all time, and when Dick Van Dyke did his little dance number, it was pretty touching. I wasn't left with that magical feeling when the film finished, and I didn't remember any of the songs, so it definitely didn't have the same impact as the original. With that aside, Emily Blunt was brilliant, so it's worth a one watch but no cigar. Watchable!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Rob Marshall, who brought you Chicago in 2002, Memoirs Of A Geisha, the awful Nine starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Into The Woods. Although this movie made a profit at the box office, and it got some decent reviews, the buzz around the film was short-lived, and it didn't manage to pick up any of the Oscar's for music and design, which it was nominated for. In this day and age, our expectations are extremely high, so this film was definitely not going to please everyone but it's a decent achievement from Rob Marshall, who must have found this project daunting.

Budget: $130million Worldwide Gross: $350million

Genre: Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Musical Cast: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury, David Warner, Jim Norton, Tarik Frimpong and Jeremy Swift. 4/10
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5/10
Great animation, and the first half was entertaining!
17 April 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Review: I quite enjoyed this movie, mainly because the animation was spot on, and the number of companies that Disney managed to use throughout the film added to the well-written storyline, but it's not the type of movie that I can watch time and time again. Although I thought that this movie was better than the original, it had that typical Disney feel, which I find quite patronising and totally unbelievable. With that aside, I did appreciate the depth within the storyline, and the relationship between Ralph (John C. Reilly), and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) was quite touching in places but it was Shank (Gal Gadot) that done it for me, even though she wasn't in the movie that much. The film is set 6 years after the first one, was Ralph and Vanellope have been friends, hanging out every night after work in Litwak's Family Fun Center and Arcade. While Ralph is content with his current life, Vanellope admits to being bored with her game's predictability and wishes for something new. One day, Ralph attempts to fulfill her desires by creating a secret bonus track during a race. Vanellope overrides player control to test it out, but the resulting conflict between her and the player results in the cabinet's steering wheel being broken. Since the company that made Sugar Rush is defunct, one of the kids finds a replacement for Mr. Litwak on eBay. However, Litwak deems it too expensive and has no choice but to unplug Sugar Rush, leaving the game's characters homeless. That night, after talking with Fix-It Felix Jr., Ralph decides to enter the internet via Litwak's recently installed Wi-Fi router to obtain the new wheel on eBay. Ralph brings Vanellope with him, and although they place a winning bid of £27,001 to obtain the wheel, they cannot pay and must make the purchase within 24 hours. The two turn to J.P. Spamley to quickly make money, receiving a lucrative job of stealing a valuable car belonging to Shank from the Slaughter Race. Ralph and Vanellope steal the car but are forced to return it. Shank compliments Vanellope's driving skills and points the duo towards Yessss at BuzzTube, where Ralph decides to make a series of viral videos playing off popular trends to get the money. As Ralph's videos become a viral sensation, an excited Vanellope joins Yesss's staff in spamming users with pop-up ads. Ralph convinces Yesss to send Vanellope to Oh My Disney, where she meets and befriends the Disney Princesses, being encouraged by them to address her sense of unfulfillment and reaching a musical epiphany when Ralph calls her upon earning enough money to purchase the wheel. When Vanellope does not show up at eBay, Ralph's second call causes him to overhear her confessing to Shank she wants to stay in Slaughter Race because its unpredictability and challenges made her feel more alive than she did in Sugar Rush. Horrified at the thought of Vanellope leaving him, Ralph turns to Spamley for a way to make Slaughter Race unsatisfying for Vanellope by slowing down everything in the game. Spamley takes Ralph to meet Double Dan, the creature of the dark web, who gives him Arthur, an insecurity virus, which replicates any flaw it finds. When Ralph unleashes the virus in Slaughter Race, it unexpectedly replicates Vanellope's glitch across the game, triggering a server reboot and forcing Ralph to rescue Vanellope before the reboot deletes her from the game. Vanellope assumes the crash was her fault, but a guilty Ralph confesses to her what he had done. Feeling betrayed, she furiously disowns Ralph as her best friend and symbolises it by throwing away the hero medal. While Ralph recovers the now broken-in-half medal, Arthur scans him and duplicates his personality flaws. this creates a legion of extremely possessive Ralph clones that cause serious damage to the internet on a rampant search for Vanellope. The real Ralph finds her, and they work with Yessss to lead the clones into an antivirus software district, but the clones combine into Ralphzilla, a gigantic Ralph automaton. Seeing Ralph is fighting a losing battle, Vanellope surrenders herself, but Ralph refuses to accept this. He confronts his clones, owning up to his selfishness and possessiveness of Vanellope in the process, telling them physical separation does not mean the end of their friendship. With his insecurities resolved, the clones disintegrate, and the internet is restored, while Ralph is saved from falling to his death by the Disney Princesses. Later, Shank arranges for Vanellope to respawn in Slaughter Race, allowing her to stay. Ralph gives her half of the broken medal as they both bid a tearful farewell. It's quite an in-depth storyline, for a Disney animation movie, but I personally thought that the first half of the film was much better than the second half. Once Vanellope went into Disney world, it felt like they were making fun of themselves, but when she burst into her Disney-type song, it fit right in with all of there other annoying movies. Although I thought that the movie was watchable, for such a high budget, I was hoping for an all-time classic, especially as the whole cast returned for the sequel. Basically, it just goes down as another typical Disney movie, which had a decent concept but failed at the final hurdle. Watchable!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Rich Moore who brought you Zootropolis and the original Wreck-It Ralph. It's also directed by Phil Johnston, who was the executive producer of Grimsby, which doesn't say much. For two people who haven't had that much experience with directing, they certainly went to town with this film, in terms of depth and the excellent animation, but they failed in the comedy apartment, and the emotional scenes were just typical Disney.

Budget: $175million Worldwide Gross: $528.5million

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family Fantasy Cast: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Alfred Molina, Ed O'Neill, Sean Giambrone, Fula Borg June Squibb and Timothy Simons. 5/10
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5/10
Mediocre movie that's only worth a one watch!
26 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Review: This is a mediocre movie with a decent storyline and some impressive action scenes, but it's not in the same league as the previous movies in this series. My main problem was with the main character, Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy), who didn't have as much screen charisma as Naomi Rapace, who was great in the first three movies. Also, the movie takes ages to get going, and there are a lot of unnecessary shots that could have easily been taken out of the final cut. I was expecting more action, and the predictable plot did seem to go round and round in circles in parts, but the intensity keeps it going, even though I was hoping for some sort of emotion from Salander. Anyway, the movie is set in Stockholm, Sweden, were vigilante hacker Lisbeth Salander is hired by computer programmer Frans Balder (Stephen Merchant), to retrieve Firefall, a program capable of accessing the world's nuclear codes that he developed for the National Security Agency, as Balder believes it is too dangerous to exist. Lisbeth successfully retrieves Firefall from the NSA's servers, attracting the attention of agent Edwin Needham (LaKeith Stanfield), but is unable to unlock it, and the program is later stolen from her by mercenaries led by Jan Holster (Claes Bang), who also attempts to kill Lisbeth. When she does not attend their scheduled rendezvous, Balder mistakenly believes Lisbeth decided to keep Firefall for herself and contacts Gabrielle Grane (Synnove Macody Lund), the deputy director of the Swedish Security Service, who moves Balder and his young son August (Christopher Convery), to a safe house. Meanwhile, Needham tracks the unauthorised login to Stockholm and arrives to seek Lisbeth and Firefall. Lisbeth asks her hacker friend Plague (Cameron Britton) for help and they contact Lisbeth's former lover, investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudnason), for help identifying her assailants. Blomkvist learns Holster previously worked for Lisbeth's late father, crime lord Alexander Zalachenko, and is now affiliated with an elusive international crime syndicate known as "The Spiders", hence the title. Lisbeth puts surveillance on Balder's safe house, and when it is attacked, she intervenes to protect Balder and his son. She is intercepted by Holster, who kills Balder, frames Lisbeth, and kidnaps August. Lisbeth pursues them in a stolen police car and is able to rescue August and take him to another safe house, where she confirms that he is the only one capable of unlocking Firefall. Elsewhere, Needham locates Lisbeth's girlfriend Sofia and persuades her to arrange a meeting between them, intending to lure Lisbeth into a trap, but Lisbeth manages to evade him, and Needham is later arrested by Grane. Now you know why I said that it seems like it goes round and round in circles! Lisbeth helps him escape in exchange for Needham safely escorting August back to the United States to be reunited with his mother and begrudgingly agrees to give him Firefall as well.Once again, the Spiders attack Lisbeth's safe house and kidnap August. Lisbeth and Blomkvist manage to escape, and Lisbeth learns that their leader is her twin sister Camilla Salander (Sylvia Hoeks), whom Lisbeth believed to be dead. When they were children, Lisbeth decided to run away from their abusive father, and when Camilla hesitated, Lisbeth left her behind. After years of torture, Camilla faked her suicide and went underground to form the Spiders. Camilla and the Spiders take August to her base of operations at the sister's childhood home. Grane had hired the Spiders to retrieve Firefall for her and informed them of Balder's location, but Camilla kills Grane instead. Lisbeth, Blomkvist, Plague and Needham track August to the building, and Lisbeth breaks in to give Plague access to the buildings surveillance system but is caught and taken to the room where August is being held, where she learns that Blomkvist has also been captured. When Camilla threatens to torture him, Lisbeth tells August to trust her and reveal the password to Firefall. Camilla then tries to suffocate Lisbeth by wrapping her in a rubber coating and suctioning out all the air, while describing the abuse she suffered at the hands of their father. Armed with a sniper rifle and guided by Plague, Needham eliminates Camilla's henchmen, saving August and Blomkvist, while Camilla escapes with the laptop containing Firefall. Lisbeth escapes Holster, having been injected with a poison that includes blindness, stumbles around in the forest and gets hit by Camilla's car, causing the vehicle to plunge into the woods. An injured Camilla escapes from the crash site. Lisbeth pursues her to a nearby cliff, where Camilla tearfully asks why she never returned for her. Lisbeth tells her sister that she chose to remain with their father, rather than escape with her. It is then that Camilla realises the error of her ways, but she ends up committing suicide by jumping off the cliff, despite her sister's objections. Meanwhile, Needham attempts to access Firefall, only to discover Lisbeth has already destroyed it. Personally, I think that this movie needed some characters that the audience would care about, except for the usual European gangsters that seemed to be dropping like flies. Also, the dark palette that was set from the beginning of the film, made it feel pretty dull, which is why it's only worth a one watch. Watchable!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Fede Alvarez, who also brought you the Evil Dead remake, which wasn't that great and Don't Breathe. With such a limited filmography, he wouldn't have been my first choice to direct this movie, especially after the success of the previous movies in this series, and the novels. Also, with Claire Foy's limited action experience, she wouldn't have been my first choice either, but that's not to say that she isn't a good actress. On the plus side, all of the action was done without the help of CGI, which is impressive for this day and age, but it still wasn't enough to save the day. Judging by the poor takings at the box office, I'm not alone with thinking that this movie really needed some A-List actors to make it compete with the previous ones, even though they didn't have any. There just wasn't enough substance to make this movie a hit, which is a shame because Salander is an intriguing and unique character.

Budget: $43million Worldwide Gross: $35.2million (Flop!)

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller Cast: Claire Foy, Sverrir Gudnason, LaKeith Stanfield, Sylvia Hoeks, Stephen Merchant, Christopher Convery, Claes Bang, Cameron Britton, Synnove Macody Lund and Vicky Krieps. 5/10
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3/10
Really poor movie but the sets are spectacular!
15 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Review: What a total waste of time and money! This typical Disney movie, certainly looked spectacular and the various sets were truly amazing, but I struggled to keep my eyes open through the whole movie. The period drama tone was set right from the beginning, and then it seemed to go all "Narnia" in the middle. The storyline was pretty awful, along with the uninteresting characters, who became pretty annoying after a while. I found the plot quite patronising and predictable throughout, and it amazed me how nothing seemed to faze the main character, who found herself in this magical world all by herself. It's saving grace was the attention to detail, and vibrate colours which looked great on the big screen but apart from that, it really wasn't that entertaining. I was hoping for some adult wit or at least good performances that would make it watchable, but it really failed in that department. Even the big names, like Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren and Kiera Knightley, didn't make a big impact in the film, which is mainly down to the poor adaptation of this well-known tale. Anyway, the film kicks off in Victoria London on Christmas Eve, were Mr. Stahlbaum (Matthew Macfadyen), gives his children the Christmas presents his wife Marie had set aside for them before she died. The younger daughter, Clara (Mackenzie Foy), receives a handcrafted egg-shaped box, which she is unable to unlock. The Stahlbaum family then heads to a Christmas Eve ball, hosted by the children's godfather and skilled engineer Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman). Refusing to dance with her father, Clara scurries from the crowd to ask Drosselmeyer how to unlock her egg. He then reveals to Clara that the egg was a creation of his that he gifted to Clara's mother when she was younger and that her mother's wish was to bestow the gift to her daughter. Drosselmeyer announces that it's time for the children to open their gifts, and Clara finds her string with her name on it, signifying her gift. The string takes her to a forest in a parallel world where she sees the key for her egg. Before she can grab the key, a mouse snatches it, and she's unable to reach the mouse because it crosses a frozen-over river. Clara approaches Captain Philip Hoffman (Jayden Fowora-Knight) the Nutcracker, who leads her across the bridge into the Fourth Realm, but they are unable to obtain the key from the mice. Philip then guides Clara to the palace, where she meets three regents of each land from the Sugar Plum Fairy (Keira Knightley) of the Land of Sweets, Shivers (Richard E. Grant) of the Land of Snowflakes, and Hawthorne (Eugenio Derbez) of the Land of Flowers. They tell Clara that they are at war with the Land of Amusements which they now refer to as the Fourth Realm. Watching a ballet that tells the story of their world's creation, the Sugar Plum Fairy explains to Clara that her mother created this world as a young girl. She later explains that her mother animated everyone with a machine that can turn toys into real-life people. Sugar Plum says that she can use this machine to defend the other three realms against Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), the regent of the Fourth Realm, but it needs a key. Clara notices that the machine's keyhole matches that of the one on her egg. Clara and her soldiers head towards Mother Ginger and steal the key the mouse had snatched. However, Clara is disappointed upon discovering that the egg is only a music box. Once Sugar Plum obtains the key, she uses the machine to turn toy soldiers into life-size soldiers that obey her every command, including her command to attack the Fourth Realm. She then reveals that she had lied about Mother Ginger who, with her people, resisted against Sugar Plum's plan of taking over all four realms in revenge for her perceived abandonment by Marie and that the machine can turn this world's people back into toys as well, intending that to be the fate of the other regents who resist her. Sugar Plum then imprisons Clara, Captain Philip, Shivers, and Hawthorne. Clara and the other prisoners escape and she and Captain Philip are then greeted by one of Mother Ginger's mice who shows Clara another way into the machine room and guides Captain Philip to Mother Ginger to convince her to help Clara overthrow Sugar Plum. Clara enters the machine room and shuts down the machine whilst fighting off soldiers. Mother Ginger comes to her aid and helps her to fight off the soldiers. Sugar Plum ultimately traps Mother ginger and attempts to turn her back into a toy with the machine. However, Clara tinkers with the machine so that it aims at Sugar Plum, which zaps her and turns her back into a porcelain doll as punishment for high treason to the Realms, deactivating her army and saving Mother Ginger. With the Realms restored to peace, Clara promises to visit the Realms in the future and returns back to London. As I said earlier, total garbage! With such a huge budget and some decent actors, Disney made a right mess of this classic book. Personally, I thought that the girl who played Clara was bland and boring, and the ridiculous climax at the end was terrible. Anyway, I think you can tell that I wasn't impressed with this film, but I can see the young ones enjoying it. Saying that it didn't really smash the box office, and it didn't go down to well with the critics so it seems like a lot of people have the same view as me. Disappointing!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Lasse Hallstrom and Joe Johnston. Lasse Hallstrom brought you many of the ABBA videos in the 70's and 80's, Once Around, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Something To Talk About, The Cider House Rules, Chocolat, The Shipping News, Casanova, An Unfinished Life, The Hoax, Hachi: A Dog's Tale, Dear John, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, The Hypnotist, Safe Haven, The Hundred-Foot Journey and A Dog's Purpose. Joe Johnston has brought you Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, Rocketeer, The Pagemaster, Jumanji, October Sky, Jurassic Park III, Hidalgo, The Wolfman, Captain America: The First Avenger and Not Safe For Work. He is due to direct The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Silver Chair, which is in development, so he hasn't let the disappointment of this movie hold him back. Both of these directors have an impressive back catalogue, so I can only put it down to a failure in the collaboration department, why this film was so poor. I just hope they don't decide to do a sequel!

Budget: $120million Worldwide Gross: $174million

Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy Cast: Mackenzie Foy, Jayden Fowora-Knight, Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Omid Djalili, Jack Whitehall, Richard E. Grant and Eugenio Derbez. 3/10
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7/10
A great watch but could have gone a bit deeper! 7/10
14 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Review: This is one of those movies that is over 2 hours long, but you don't want it to finish. It doesn't delve too deep into Freddie Mercury's life, but you certainly get an insight into the period before he sadly died of bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS, on the 24th of November 1991, at the young age of 45. The performances were great throughout the film, especially from Rami Malek who deserved the Oscar for his role, but you don't get to find out that much about the rest of the band, who also played a big part in making Queen such a unique, and successful band. I would have like to have seen more about the last 6 years of Freddie Mercury's life, after the Live Aid concert, but at least the movie ends on a high note, even though you know that he's dying of AIDS. Anyway, the movie starts with Farrokh "Freddie" Bulsara (Rami Malek), an Indian Parsi refugee from Zanzibar, working as a baggage handler at Heathrow Airport in 1970. After seeing the band Smile perform at a pub, Freddie encounters Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton) and meets the drummer, Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy), and guitarist Brian May (Gwilym Lee). After learning that the lead singer for there band has quit, Freddie offers to join and he demonstrates his vocal ability. With Freddie as the lead singer, and a new bassist John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello), the band sells out gigs across Britain. After selling there van to book a studio to record their debut album, Freddie changes the band's name to Queen and legally changes his own name to Freddie Mercury. The band signs with John Reid (Aiden Gillen), Elton John's manager, and receives a contract with EMI. After touring to promote the album, Mary and Freddie become engaged. The album hits the American charts, and the band embarks on a sold-out U.S. tour, where Freddie questions his sexuality. In 1975, Queen recorded their 4th album but leaves EMI when executive Ray Foster (Mike Myers), refuses to release the operatic and lengthy Bohemian Rhapsody as the album's lead single. Confronted by Mary, Freddie comes out to her about being bisexual, although she assures him he is gay. They end their engagement and she moves next door when he purchases an extravagant house in 1980. On Queen's world tour, Freddie begins an affair with Paul Prenter, the band's day-to-day manager. Tensions arise in the band as Freddie sinks into debauchery with the manipulative Paul. Following a successful show, Paul puts Reid up to proposing that Freddie pursue a solo career and disband Queen, prompting Freddie to fire Reid without consulting the band, furthering their strain. After their latest video is banned from MTV because the band appears in drag, Freddie announces his $4million solo deal with CBS Records, effectively breaking up the band. In 1984, Freddie moves to Munich to work on his first solo album, finding himself lost in drugs, alcohol, and gay orgies with Paul and becomes increasingly ill. Mary, now pregnant by her new partner and concerned about Freddie, urges him to return to the band, as they have been offered a spot in Bob Geldof's benefit concert, Live Aid at Wembley Stadium. Realising that Paul withheld this news, Freddie severs ties with him, and Paul retaliates by going public about Freddie's sexual escapades. Freddie returns to London and reconciles with his bandmates, and they agree to perform at Live Aid after getting a last-minute slot. With HIV/AIDS spreading worldwide, Freddie discovers that he has contracted the virus, and he reveals this to his supportive bandmates. After an amazing performance, helping to increase donations and making the event a massive success, the movie ends with real photos of Freddie Mercury, and you get to see one of his performances during the end credits. It is quite a remarkable story, which is entertaining throughout and I couldn't help tapping my feet during some of the songs. I was also impressed with the way that they were able to recreate the Live Aid concert, which had amazing attention to detail, and the fact that Rami Malek also performed the songs, shows how much work went into the film. The only problem is that I didn't learn anything new about the man himself, who led an extremely extravagant life, but with that aside, I still enjoyed it. Enjoyable!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Bryan Singer, who also brought you The Usual Suspects, Apt Pupil, X-Men, X-Men 2, Superman Returns, Valkyrie, Jack The Giant Slayer, X-Men: Days Of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse. Although it's down on paper that Bryan Singer directed this movie, he was only the director through principal photography, which began in London in September 2017, but was fired in December 2017, for absence, and clashing with the cast and crew. Dexter Fletcher, who was originally set to direct the film early in development, was hired to complete the film, although Singer retained sole director credit as per Directors Guild of America guidelines. Fletcher received an executive producer credit and filming concluded in January 2018. It's a good thing that it didn't win the Oscar for Best Picture because there would have been a bit of a discrepancy about who would have it on there mantle. Anyway, Sacha Baron Cohen was set to play Mercury in 2010 but he left the project in 2013, following creative differences with the producers. He must be gutted after seeing Malek winning the Oscar for a leading role! Anyway, this movie was the sixth-highest-grossing film of 2018 worldwide, setting the all-time box office records for the biopic and drama genres, so it certainly made a big impact. Personally, I think that it could have gone a bit deeper, and the director should have taken some risks but apart from that, it's a decent watch.

Budget: $52million Worldwide Gross: $876million

Genre: Biography, Drama, Music Cast: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Aidan Gillen, Allen Leech, Tom Hollander, Aaron McCusker and Mike Myers. 7/10
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First Man (2018)
2/10
Boring and long but the effects are decent! 2/10
21 February 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Review: Man, this movie was boring! I know that it's based on a historical moment which will never be forgotten, especially in America, but from an entertainment point of view, it sent me straight to sleep. None of the characters had a personality worth watching, and Gosling just seemed to be his usual moody self. Most of the missions into space are documented, and we all are well aware of the famous Apollo 11 flight, so we don't get to see anything that we don't really know. The scenes concerning his daughter were a total surprise, and extremely emotional, and you can see that it made a big impact on the Armstrong's, but the movie is mostly based on the first manned mission to the moon, which I found quite dull to watch. It's not in the same league as Apollo 13, which was 100 times better because the characters were actually interesting, but the director did capture the period well, and the scenes in space did look realistic. After watching the bonus material, a lot of the people surrounding Armstrong said that he was a funny character, who was fun to be around, but this film didn't show that side of him at all. Anyway, In 1961, NASA test pilot Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) is flying the X-15 rocket plane when it inadvertently bounces off the atmosphere. Although he managed to land the plane in the Mojave Desert, his colleagues express concern that his recent record of mishaps is due to distraction and he is grounded. His two-and-a-half year daughter, Karen, is undergoing treatment for a brain tumour. Desperate to save her, Neil keeps a detailed log of her symptoms and feverishly tries to find possible treatments, but she dies soon afterwards. Grief-stricken, Neil applies for Project Gemini and is accepted to NASA Astronaut Group 2. Neil then moves to Houston with his son and wife, Janet (Claire Foy), alongside other astronaut families. After the Soviet Union reaches every milestone in the Space Race, ahead of the United States, the pressure is on for the new Americans astronauts to impress with the new Gemini program. After the Soviets complete the first extravehicular activity, Neil is informed that he will be the commander of the Gemini 8, with David Scott (Christopher Abbott) as the pilot. Prior to the mission, two of his friends are killed in a T-38 crash, deepening Neil's grief at the string of recent losses. After another mission fails, Neil initially faces criticism, but NASA determines the crew is not at fault. During a launch rehearsal test on January 27, 1967, a fire kills the Apollo 1 crew, and Neil hears the news while representing NASA at the White House. Neil is selected to command Apollo 11, and he is informed that it will likely be the first lunar landing. When Apollo 11 successfully launches, it finally arrives at the Moon on the fourth day. Neil is forced to take manual control of the spacecraft, after realising the landing area is full of large boulders. When the lunar module successfully lands, with minimal fuel remaining, Neil sets foot on the Moon and he drops Karen's bracelet into Little West Crater. After returning home, the crew are placed in quarantine, where a rerun of JFK's 1962 speech "We Choose To Go To The Moon" is shown. Boring! Boring! Boring! On the plus side, the director chose not to pack the film with technical jargon, which would have made the film worse, but it did feel like it jumped from one mission to another without much explanation. Although the achievement was truly amazing, I personally think that Neil Armstrong's true-life story needs to be remade by a director who will help the audience to connect to characters because this director failed to make this picture interesting. Boring!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Damien Chazelle, who brought you Whiplash and La La Land. After the success of his previous movies, I did think that he was the perfect choice for this film, but he made a right shambles of it. Ryan Gosling tried his utmost to be authentic throughout the film, but he seemed distant and pretty dull. I don't blame him for his performance because Neil Armstrong might have actually been like that, but from an entertainment point of view, I couldn't wait for the movie to finish. It was written by Josh Singer, who brought you The Post starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, Spotlight and the Fifth Estate, so the movie was in good hands, but they just failed to execute. As the movie was also based on a book, called First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong, I would have to read it to see how close this film is to the story. Anyway, it's been nominated for 4 Oscars, which are Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Production Design and Sound Mixing, which proves that this historical concept didn't go down too well with the big players in Hollywood.

Budget: $59million Worldwide Gross: $104million

Genre: Biography, Drama, History Cast: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Corey Stoll, Patrick Fugit, Christopher Abbott, Ciaran Hinds, Olivia Hamilton, Pablo Schreiber and Lukas Haas. 2/10
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6/10
Typical Spike Lee movie but a shocking true story! 6/10
20 February 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Review: Being a black man, I did find the language in this movie quite disturbing, along with the intense subject matter, but I should have known what to expect from a Spike Lee film. As it's based on true events, I did find the storyline quite shocking, so I was glad to see that Spike Lee added some wit to lighten the mood. With the horrific events that happened during the Unite the Right Tally in 2017, in Charlottesville Virginia, I can't believe that these ignorant individuals still have the same mindset as when this film was based, in 1970. I was impressed with the performances, and Spike Lee captured the period quite well, but it's Ron Stallworth's true story that made the movie entertaining. Anyway, in the early 1970s, Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), is hired as the first black officer in the Colorado Springs Police Department, assigned to work in the records room. He faces racial slurs from his co-workers, so he requests to be transferred to do undercover work. After being turned down, he is assigned to infiltrate a local rally where national civil rights leader Kwame Ture (Corey Hawkins), gives a speech. At the rally, Ron meets Patrice Dumas (Laura Harrier), president of the black student union at Colorado College. After the rally, Ron is reassigned to the intelligence division. Whilst reading the local paper, he sees an ad about a local division of the Ku Klux Klan, so he calls them, posing as a white person, and he speaks to Walter Breachway (Ryan Eggold), the president of the Colorado Springs chapter. Ron recruits his Jewish coworker, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), to act as him during a meet with the Klan members. Flip meets Walter, the more reckless Felix Kendrickson (Jasper Paakkonen), and Ivanhoe (Paul Walter Hauser), who cryptically refers to an upcoming attack. Ron begins regular phone conversations with Grand Wizard David Duke (Topher Grace), after trying to push forward his Klan membership. Ron begins dating Patrice, but he decides not to tell her that he is a police officer. Meanwhile, Duke visits Colorado Springs for Ron's induction into the Klan, but the Real Ron is assigned to a protection detail for the Duke. While Flip is masquerading as Ron, Felix's wife Connie (Ashlie Atkinson), leaves the ceremony to place a bomb at a civil rights rally. Ron realises her intentions, and he alerts local police officers. When Connie notices a heavy police presence at the rally, she goes to plant the bomb at Patrice's house instead, which was the pre-arranged Plan B. When she is unable to fit the bomb in her mailbox, she puts it on Patrice's car instead, but Ron tackles her as she tries to flee. Whilst trying to detain Connie, Ron is confronted by uniformed police officers, who beat him despite his protest that he is working undercover. Bombmaker Walker (Nicholas Turturro) recognises Flip from a prior arrest, and he goes to trigger the bomb with Felix and Ivanhoe, not realising were Connie hid it, and are killed in the explosion. Flip arrives and frees Ron, and Connie is arrested. Police Chief Bridges (Robert John Duke) congratulates the team for their success but orders them to destroy the records. Ron receives a call from Duke, and he reveals that he is black before hanging up. I liked the tribute to Prince at the end, and you actually get to see the real Ron Stallworth, who talks about the true events in the bonus material. Judging by the average box office takings, I can understand if people would be put off by the subject matter, and the fact that the first few scenes show black people be treated terribly, really is off-putting. Once the undercover action gets going, it does become interesting, and quite amusing in parts, but I was left with a bitter taste in my mouth, especially after seeing the real footage of the Unite the Right Rally. In all, it's worth a watch but you have to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy it. Watchable!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Spike Lee, who also brought you She's Gotta Have It in 1986, School Daze, Do The Right Thing, Mo' Better Blues, Jungle Fever, Malcolm X, Crooklyn, Clockers, Girl 6, He Got Game, Summer Of Sam, 25th Hour, Inside Man, Miracle At St. Anna, Oldboy and Chi-Raq. Personally, I'm not a big fan of his work, mainly because of his controversial directing style which always ends with a debate. Some of his work, like Inside Man, Summer Of Sam and 25th Hour, were straight forward, without a hidden message, so I was actually able to enjoy them but the rest were only worth a one watch. His biggest earner to date was Inside Man, with $88million at the box office, so his movies don't really break records but he's still highly respected, even though he has made some enemies along the way.

Budget: $15million Worldwide Gross: $90.5million

Genre: Biography, Crime, Drama Cast: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Topher Grace, Robert John Burke, Michael Buscemi, Laura Harrier, Jasper Paakkonen, Danny Hoch, Alec Baldwin, Nicholas Turturro, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Brian Tarantina, Ken Garito, Frederick Weller, Corey Hawkins and Harry Belafonte. 6/10
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6/10
An emotional movie with great performances! 6/10
17 February 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Review: With the Oscars just around the corner, I thought that I should watch this movie because it's tipped to win the big categories. I was expecting a romantic chick flick, but it actually turned out to be quite emotional and very well written. The chemistry between Ally (Lady Gaga) and Jack (Bradley Cooper), was excellent, and very believable, but I couldn't really get into the music. That's not to say that it wasn't performed well, but it just wasn't my cup of tea. I remember watching the Barbra Streisand version at a young age, so I had an idea about the concept, but I was still surprised with this adaptation, mainly because of the outstanding performances from these two A-list stars. The fact that Bradley Cooper also directed this picture, and performed the songs alongside Gaga, makes it a great achievement, which is why it made such a big profit at the box office. Anyway, if you haven't seen any of the previous A Star Is Born movies, it's about a famous country music singer, Jackson "Jack" Maine (Bradley Cooper), whose privately battling an alcohol and drug addiction. His main support is his manager, and older half-brother Bobby (Sam Elliott), who tries to keep Jack's personal problems under wraps. After a show in California, Jack visits a drag bar where he witnesses a performance by Ally (Lady Gaga), who's a waitress and singer-songwriter. Jack is amazed by her performance and they end up spending the night together, where Ally talks about the troubles she has faced in pursuing a professional music career. Ally goes to Jack's next concert, and with Jack's encouragement, she sings on stage with him, and they form a romantic relationship. Ally goes with Jack on tour, where she meets a record producer called Rez (Rafi Gavron), who offers her a contract. Jack supports her decision, and Rez refocuses Ally away from country music and towards pop. Jack misses one of Ally's performances after he passes out drunk in public. He recovers at the home of his best friend George (Dave Chappelle) and later makes up with Ally. There he proposes to Ally, and they get married that same day at a church ministered by a relative of George. During Ally's performance on Saturday Night Live, Bobby reconciles with Jack. Later, Jack and Ally fight after he drunkenly voices his disapproval of Ally's new image and music, which is nominated for three Grammy Awards. At the Grammy's, a visibly intoxicated Jack performs in a tribute to Roy Orbison, and Ally wins the Best New Artist award. When she goes up on stage to receive her award, Jack follows her, where he wets himself and passes out. Ally's father Lorenzo (Andrew Dice Clay) helps him sober up, and Jack joins a rehabilitation program shortly thereafter. Jack recovers in rehab for about two months, where he discloses to his counsellor that he attempted suicide when he was 13 and that he has been suffering from tinnitus, which has been getting worse. Ally wishes to bring Jack to perform with her on the European leg of her tour, but Rez refuses, prompting Ally to cancel the remainder of the tour so she can care for jack. Rez later confronts Jack, accusing him of holding her back. That evening, Ally lies to Jack and tells him that her record label has cancelled her tour so she can focus on her second album. Jack promises that he will come to her concert that night, but after Ally leaves, he hangs himself in their garage. It's definitely a touching story which shows how fame can destroy individuals, even though it looks like they have everything a person could want. I did find myself getting quite emotional when Ally was performing the tribute to her husband at the end, mainly because of Gaga's amazing journey throughout the movie. Although it's not the type of movie that you can watch time and time again, it's still worth a watch, even if you're into your action movies. Just make sure that you have a box of tissues to hand! Watchable!

Round-Up: This is the first movie directed by Bradley Cooper, and he has produced Limitless, Silver Linings Playbook, The Words, American Hustle, American Sniper, which he has also starred in. He also produced War Dogs, starring Jonah Hill and Miles Teller, but he didn't star in that film. For his directional debut, he certainly did a great job, by adapting the original screenplay to the present day. The only fault that I found with the film was that it occasionally seemed to jump from one scene to another, without much explanation, but I can understand that it would have made the movie about 3 hours long, which would have been a bit too much.

Budget: $36million Worldwide Gross: $420.5million

Genre: Drama, Music, Romance Cast: Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliott, Andrew Dice Clay, Rafi Gavron, Anthony Ramos, Dave Chappelle and Alec Baldwin. 6/10
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Venom (2018)
6/10
Could have been much better! 6/10
14 February 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Review: A lot of people were pretty disappointed with this movie, especially the die-hard comic book fans who were expecting to see a connection to Spider-Man, but I actually enjoyed the film, even though the storyline was a bit sketchy. The acting wasn't that great but the CGI was top form, and the action scenes were great. I was expecting an intense performance from Tom Hardy, like most of his movies, but the director chose to go down the comedy root, which didn't quite work in my opinion. I didn't quite understand why Hardy was talking to Venom out loud, which made him look like he had serious mental problems. A lot of time was wasted on Hardy trying to control the inner demon, which he still didn't pin down until the end, and no one seemed that surprised that there was a scary monster going around San Francisco causing complete carnage. Once again, they overcomplicated the plot, which could have been simplified if they cut out all of the technical jargon. Anyway, I will try and explain what happens at the beginning but you have to bear with me because it's quite baffling. While exploring space for new habitable worlds, a probe belonging to the bio-engineering corporation Life Foundation discovers a comet covered in symbiotic lifeforms. The probe returns to Earth with four samples, but one escapes and causes the ship to crash in Malaysia. The Life Foundation recovers the other three and transports them to their research facility in San Francisco, where they discover that the symbiotes cannot survive without oxygen-breathing hosts, which often fatally reject the symbiosis. Investigate journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) lives with his fiancée Anne Weying (Michelle Williams), an attorney at the law firm representing the Life Foundation. While Anne is sleeping, Eddie logs on to her computer and learns about these human trials from a confidential document he finds after accessing her work email. Eddie uses the information to publicly confront Life Foundation CEO Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), about the trials, leading to both Eddie and Anne being fired from their jobs. Consequently, Anne ends their relationship. Six months later, Eddie is approached by Dora Skirth (Jenny Slate), one of Carlton's scientists who disagrees with his methods and wants to expose him. She helps Eddie break into the research facility to search for evidence, and he learns that an acquaintance of his, a homeless woman named Maria, is one of the test subjects. Eddie attempts to rescue Maria, but the symbiote possessing her transfers to his body without him realising, leaving her dead. He reaches out to Anne for help, and her new boyfriend, Dr. Dan Lewis (Reid Scott), discovers the symbiote on examining Eddie. Carlton exposes Skirth to the remaining captive symbiote, which ultimately dies. This leaves the symbiote inside Eddie as the only known surviving specimen. Carlton sends mercenaries to retrieve the symbiote from Eddie, but it manifests around his body as a monstrous creature that fights off the attackers. It later introduces itself to Eddie as Venom and explains that the comet is searching for planets where the symbiotes can possess and devour the inhabitants. Venom offers to spare Eddie if he helps the symbiotes achieve their goal, and Eddie comes to enjoy the superhuman attributes that the symbiote imbues him with. Eddie breaks into his old workplace to turn in evidence of Drake's crimes, but is surrounded by SWAT officers and is forced to transform to escape. Anne witnesses this transformation and takes Eddie back to Lewis's office, where they explain that the symbiote is slowly rotting Eddie's internal organs. Eddie notes that the symbiote has two weaknesses: high-pitched noises and fire. Although Venom claims that the organ damage can be prevented, Anne uses an MRI Machine to help Eddie separate from the symbiote. Eddie is then captured by Carlton's men. Meanwhile, the fourth symbiote, Riot, makes its way from Malaysia to San Francisco by hopping from body to body. It bonds with Carlton, who agrees to take Riot in a Life Foundation space probe to collect the rest of the symbiotes and bring them to Earth. Anne reluctantly bonds with Venom so they can free Eddie. When Eddie and Venom have bonded again, the latter states that he has been convinced to help protect the Earth from his kind through his interactions with Eddie, and the pair attempt to stop Riot and Carlton with Anne's help. Venom damages the probe as it takes off, causing it to explode and kill both Riot and Carlton. Anne believes Eddie is no longer bonded to Venom after this, and that Venom also died in the explosion. However, the pair remain secretly bonded and set out to protect San Francisco by killing criminals. The ending was quite interesting because you get to see the introduction of Carnage, played by Woody Harrelson in an extremely weird wig. With a sequel planned to be released in 2020, after the success at the box office of this movie, I hope that Hardy gains control of Venom, so they can get straight on with the action. Anyway, it's definitely worth a watch if you're into your comic book movies, but it's not in the same league as the Avengers. Watchable!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Ruben Fleischer, who also brought you Gumball 3000: 6 Days in May, Zombieland, 30 Minutes or Less and Gangster Squad. With 8 movies in development, including Jekyll starring Chris Evans and a sequel to Zombieland called Zombieland: Double Tap, the director for the sequel to Venom hasn't been named yet, but I personally hope that it goes to someone who has more experience in this genre. I was hoping for a more edgier Hardy, mainly because Venom looks so scary and the concept is quite deep, but the director made him seem like a gullible weakling, which didn't suit his persona. Although this is a Marvel movie, it's the first film in Sony's Marvel Universe, an adjunct to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which might explain why it wasn't everyone's cup of tea. I just hope that the sequel meets everyone's expectations!

Budget: $100million Worldwide Gross: $855million

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi Cast: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Reid Scott, Jenny Slate, Melora Walters, Woody Harrelson, Peggy Lu and Wayne Pere. 6/10
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The Predator (2018)
2/10
Awful acting! Terrible humour! Dumb Storyline! 2/10
31 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Review: This is what happens when you get a bunch of mediocre actors to attempt to star in an all-time classic, you end up with an awful, unentertaining film. Seriously, what was the director thinking! After starring in the original movie, Shane Black should have been the perfect choice for this film, but he really made a right mess of it. The thing that made the very first Predator so great was the fact that the storyline was pretty straight forward, without all of the technical jargon and all of the actors were believable and at the top of there game. In this awful movie, every one of the actors seemed out of place, and the guy who was playing the leading role, Boyd Holbrook, was a terrible choice to lead the bunch of misfits. Also, the whole concept of the film went from bad to worse, especially the fact the Predator had human DNA, and I can't believe that the dumb soldier sent the Predator's armour to his house, without phoning his ex to tell her that it was coming. I personally can watch the original, time and time again, but this film will definitely not be getting a second watch. Anyway, the film kicks off with a Predator ship crashing to earth, and Army Ranger Sniper Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) and his team are attacked by the Predator, whilst on a hostage retrieval mission. Quinn incapacitates the Predator and has parts of its armour mailed off to prove the existence of extraterrestrial life. DUMB WRITING! Government agent Will Traeger (Sterling K. Brown), captures Quinn, and holds him for examination. Traeger also takes the Predator to a lab for experimentation and observation, recruiting evolutionary biologist Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn) to study it. The Predator awakes, breaks out of its bonds, kills lab workers, but spares Casey before leaving. Meanwhile, Quinn is bussed off with a group of other government captives, including Nebraska Williams (Trevante Rhodes), Coyle (Keegan-Michael Key), whose extremely annoying, Baxley (Thomas Jane), Lynch (Alfie Allen) and army helicopter pilot Nettles (Augusto Aguilera). After seeing the Predator escape from the lab, they take over the bus. Taking Casey with them, they head over to Quinn's estranged wife's house, Emily (Yvonne Strahovski), where he expects to find the armour he mailed off. However, Quinn's autistic son Rory (Jacob Tremblay) has gone trick-or-treating while wearing the armour, in hopes of avoiding detection from bullies. Quinn and his bunch of misfits find his son just in time to stop a pair of Predator Dogs from ambushing the boy. They then start to give the Predator's armour back when another, larger Predator arrives and kills the first. They flee, and the second Predator sets out to retrieve the lost technology. Casey concludes that the Predators are attempting to improve themselves with the DNA of humans and, presumably, other planets inhabitants. Traeger finds and captures them, and when he sees Rory drawing a map to the spaceship, he takes the boy away to go to the ship. When they eventually reach the crash site, the second Predator arrives and explains through translation software that it will blow up the ship to keep it out of their hands and then give them all a head start before it hunts them down. REALLY! With ease, he kills off most of the misfits and he takes Rory because his autism reflects advancement in human evolution and it therefore worthwhile in the Predator hybridisation, and flies away in his ship. Quinn, Nebraska and Nettles jump on the ship but the Predator activates a force field, which slices Nettles legs off. Nebraska sacrifices himself and slides into the ship's turbine, causing it to crash. Quinn manages to overpower the Predator, using his own weapons and the help of Casey who randomly turns up out of nowhere. As I said earlier, it's just a dumb storyline! The humour was corny, and it really seemed like no one was taking the whole situation seriously. The ending made it look like there was going to be a new set of movies to follow, but I really hope that they leave this franchise alone because no one has ever got it right. The only way that I can see a film coming close to the first one, is by setting it in the jungle with a bunch of testosterone filled actors who have something to prove, exactly like the original. Apart from that, enough is enough! Awful!

Round-Up: This movie was written and directed by Shane Black, who also brought you Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3 and the Nice Guys starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling in 2016. He also produced The Last Boy Scout and The Long Kiss Goodnight. He starred in the original Predator, The Hunt For Red October, Robocop 3 and As Good As It Gets as a waiter. He also wrote all of the Lethal Weapon movies, Last Boy Scout, Last Action Hero, Long Kiss Goodnight, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3 and the Nice Guy, so with all of this experience, I really don't know how he made such a mess of this film. Although the movie made a profit at the box office, it didn't go down to well with the critics, so I hope they have taken the hint to leave the franchise alone. With 6 movies in the franchise so far, including Alien vs. Predator and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, no one has touched the pumped up Arnie version, and I personally can't see that timeless masterpiece ever being replicated.

Budget: $88million Worldwide Gross: $160.5million

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller Cast: Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Mann, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Trembley, Keegan-Michael Key, Sterling K. Brown, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, Augusto Aguilera, Jake Busey, Yvonne Strahovski and Brian A. Prince. 2/10
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Deadpool 2 (2018)
7/10
Not that much different than the first movie but still funny! 7/10
14 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Review: Although I preferred the first movie, mainly because it was unique and quite shocking in parts, I did find this movie funny, even though I wanted Ryan Reynolds to shut up most of the time. The action scenes were pretty impressive and I liked Josh Brolin as Cable but I found Firefist a bit misplaced. Domino was also a great addition to the so-called X-Force but I would have liked to have seen more from Negasonic, who was great in the first movie. I think the main problem with this film is that we're not seeing anything new from Deadpool. We do get to see a bit of an emotional side after the dramatic beginning, and his relationship with Firefist shows that he has a heart, but from a superhero point of view, it's very much like the first movie. As usual, the jokes do go a bit far sometimes, but that's what makes Deadpool a unique character that is certainly different from the other superheroes on the market. The movie is set with Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) successfully working as a mercenary for two years, but when his girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) is sadly murdered after they decide to start a family, Deadpool tries many ways to kill himself. Colossus saves him after another attempt on his own life, and he takes him to the X-Mansion to rehabilitate. During his rehabilitation, Colossus and Negasonic respond to a standoff between authorities and the unstable young mutant Firefist (Julian Dennison) at an orphanage labelled a "Mutant Re-education Center". Deadpool realises that Firefist has been abused by the orphanage staff, and kills one of them, even though he agreed with Colossus not to kill anyone. Soon after that, Firefist and Deadpool are arrested and restrained with collars, which makes them unable to use their powers. Meanwhile, Cable (Josh Brolin) - a cybernetic soldier from the future whose family is murdered by an older Firefist - travels back in time to kill him before he ever becomes a killer. Cable breaks into the prison and attempts to kill Firefist, but Deadpool's collar breaks and he defends Firefist, who is unaware of why Cable is trying to kill him. Firefist overhears Deadpool saying that he doesn't care for him, so he gives himself up to the guards. Deadpool puts together a team, called the X-Force, to break Firefist out of a prison-transfer convoy, and defend him from Cable. During there mission, most of his team die whilst landing from a parachute jump, except for Deadpool and Domino (Zazie Beetz). Whilst fighting against Cable, Firefist frees fellow inmate Juggernaut, who agrees to help him kill the abusive orphanage headmaster. Juggernaut destroys the convoy, allowing himself and Firefist to escape. Cable offers to work with Deadpool and Domino to stop Firefist's first murder and agrees to give Deadpool a chance to talk him down. After an epic battle between the newly formed X-Force, Firefist and Juggernaut, Deadpool fails to talk down Firefist, so Cable attempts to kill him. Deadpool ends up jumping in front of the bullet, and after Firefist sees his sacrifice to save him, he doesn't kill the headmaster, who is eventually run over by Deadpool's driver Dopinder (Karan Soni). With Firefist under control, Cable uses the last charge on his time-travelling device, which he needed for returning to his family, to go back several minutes to stop the bullet from killing Deadpool. It's hard to see where they can take this franchise because they cram so much into one movie. With the newly formed X-Force, and the introduction to some new superheroes, the possibilities are endless but Deadpool is the Marvel cash-cow that has got audiences begging for more. Personally, I think his non-stop banter, and crazy one-liners won't last forever, but now that he has access to the time-travelling device, Marvel has the chance to do something special with the 3rd movie. I just hope they don't mess it up! Anyway, this movie is definitely worth a watch, especially if you were a fan of the first movie, but I would like to see him face a worthy opponent, who he would have to take seriously. Watchable!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by David Leitch, who also brought you John Wick and Atomic Blonde. He's due to remake Enter the Dragon, which should be left alone, and the Division starring Jessica Chastain and Jake Gyllenhaal. He's also filming a Fast & Furious spin-off called Hobbs & Shaw, which is about Dwayne Johnson's character from the Fast & Furious, teaming up with Jason Statham. It also stars Idris Elba so it's definitely a blockbuster that should get a good reception. As for this movie, it's very well written and full of action from the beginning to the end. The references to different movies cracked me up, and when Deadpool went back in time to kill Hitler, I just couldn't stop laughing. It certainly went down well with the critics, and it made a hefty profit at the box office but it's currently 100th in the highest-grossing movie chart, with the original in 85th place with a $783million profit. Although it's primarily a comedy, there is a lot of gory scenes, which meant that it's not suitable for kids, so that might explain why the profit wasn't as big as a lot of the other Marvel movies. Anyway, I can't wait for a 3rd instalment, and I hope they involve some of the X-Men.

Budget: $110million Worldwide Gross: $742million

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Karan Soni, Eddie Marsan, Terry Crews, Brad Pitt, Paul Wu, Matt Damon, Bob Delaney and Leslie Uggams. 7/10
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3/10
Expected much more from this sequel! 3/10
12 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Review: After watching Avengers: Infinity War, this movie is a right joke. It's more like a Carry On movie than a superhero film, and the jokes weren't even that funny. When the Ant-man was supposed to knuckle down and battle against evil, he still was splurting out these unfunny lines, which became extremely annoying after a while. Also, his superpowers have lost the shock factor, and it didn't help that the super suit didn't work half of the time. The so-called enemy was also pretty useless, but the first fight against the Wasp wasn't too bad. The storyline had way too many holes in it, and there were loads of times that they could have shrunk to get out of certain situations. I did enjoy the first movie, but this sequel really did need a re-write. With that aside, it's still an important movie in the Marvel world because I'm sure that the Quantum Realm will play a big part in the Avengers coming face to face with Thanos again. Anyway, two years after Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) was placed on house arrest due to his involvement with the Avengers in violation of the Sokovia Accords, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) briefly manage to open a tunnel to the quantum realm. They believe Hank's wife Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) might be trapped there, after shrinking to sub-atomic levels in 1987. When Scott had previously visited the quantum realm, he had unknowingly become quantumly entangled with Janet, and now he receives an apparent message from her. With only days left of house arrest, Scott contacts Hank about Janet, despite the strained relationship they have due to Scott's actions with the Avengers. Hope and Hank kidnap Scott, leaving a decoy so as not to arouse suspicion from FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park). Believing the message from Janet to be confirmation that she is alive, the trio work to build a stable quantum tunnel so they can take a vehicle to the quantum realm and retrieve her. Now, on paper, the concept sounds pretty impressive but the director made the whole film as a comedy, which took away the deep complexity of the quantum realm. Michael Douglas tries to bring some depth to the whole movie, along with his daughter but it's swept under the carpet, because of it's silly characters which include a black market dealer, Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), who has been selling Hope parts needed for the tunnel. Sonny soon realises the potential profit that can be earned from Hanks research and tries to double-cross them. During a fight with Sonny's men, Hope is attacked by a quantumly unstable masked woman "Ghost" (Hannah John-Kamen) who escapes with Hanks lab, which has been shrunk down to the size of a suitcase. Hank reluctantly visits his estranged partner Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne), who helps them to locate the lab but the Ghost captures the trio and reveals herself to be Ava Starr. Her father Elihas, another of Hanks former partners, died along with his wife during the experiment that caused Ava's unstable state. Now with all this going on, you would think that the movie would be entertaining..... well your wrong. There is a sense of intensity with Ava, which made her mysterious at the beginning but it doesn't really lead to anything. The same goes for Bill Foster, who was quite important to the plot but he didn't make a big impact. When they finally get the tunnel going, and Hank retrieves Janet from the quantum realm, she helps Ava and they live happily ever after. What poor writing! If it wasn't for the ending, which connects this movie to Infinity War, the whole film would have been pointless. I'm sure that I would have to watch this movie again, once Endgame comes out, but I really thought that it had Disney's footprint all over it. If they release another Ant-man movie, they really need to bring some seriousness to the script because this film really wasn't my cup of tea. Disappointing!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Peyton Reed, who also brought you Bring It On in 2000, Down With Love starring Ewan McGregor and Renee Zellweger, The Break-Up, Yes Man and the first Ant-Man movie. The only reason why I think he was chosen to direct, is because of Paul Rudd comedic background, but apart from that, I personally think that he was the wrong choice. You can easily add wit to movies without making it a full out comedy, which I felt this movie was, and it always helps if it is actually funny, which this movie wasn't. The fact that there were 5 writers, which included Paul Rudd, might explain why the movie felt like a right mess. They all had there own vision of what they wanted from the character, which is why you have the family element, along with the love element and the saving the world element. Mixed with bad comedy, all of these elements just didn't work in this film but I think that it's the beginning of something bigger, which Marvel is keeping close to there chest. Although it made a decent profit, and the critics thought that it was a much-needed MCU palate cleanser, I personally thought that some of the action scenes were half decent, but that's about it.

Budget: $195million Worldwide Gross: $623million

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michael Pena, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, T.I., Randall Park, Michelle Pfeiffer and Laurence Fishburne. 3/10
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