THE BATMAN THE REVIEW

HOLLYWOOD – With the release of Matt Reeves’ The Batman, the review is here. The Studio Exec delves into what worked well and didn’t work so well in THE BATMAN THE REVIEW.

Holy Shoegazing Batman!

Thankfully, The Batman spares us yet another origin story. If you’re going in to this film unaware Bruce Wayne’s parents were killed yada-yada-yada, then congratulations on living on a desert island for the last 50 years and maybe this film might be a bit much for your introduction into post studio-system cinema. Perhaps try Bonnie and Clyde, and then work your way up from there. But we join our caped crusader as he investigates a mysterious murder at the invitation of Jeffrey Wright’s Lieutenant Gordon. The murder is gruesome and there clues aplenty, even a riddle or two. And as he leaves the scene the cheery Nirvana ditty Something In The Way strikes up. The mood is set.

Holy Floppy Hair!

Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne is a billionaire emo who is sad. We can tell he is sad by the angle he holds his head and how he walks, like a teenager who has been told to be home by midnight and not to spend all night standing outside that 7-Eleven smoking Marlboro Golds all night long.

Holy Imperial March!

The music and score is wonderful, but the main theme’s melody owes a great deal to the Star Wars Imperial March, which can be a little distracting. As the music plays you expect to see a completely different black cape clad iconic character emerge from the darkness.

Holy Sore Throat!

Most of the male characters in the movie are attempting to out-do Pattinson’s rough sounding Batvoice except for all of the lower ranked ‘toughs’ and ‘hoods’ who all sound like they’ve been plucked straight from Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham series of games.

Holy Bang For Your Buck!

The action set pieces are spectacular and this version of the Batmobile is wonderful. It’s no indestructible Tumbler as in Nolan’s trilogy, but that makes it all the more thrilling to see it in action. The fight scenes are brutal and bone crunching. And the villains’ gallery is well populated with turns by Colin Farrell as The Penguin, John Turturro as Carmine Falcone. Paul Dano reprises his Prisoners role as The Riddler. Zoe Kravitz does all she can with what she’s given as Catwoman, but more could have been made of her character. And why does it always have to be ‘sexy skin-tight Halloween costume’? Why not a practical boiler suit and steel toed flat boots? Oh well.

 

Holy Summary!

There is more than a whiff of Fincher’s Seven in the art design, which is no bad thing and Pattinson is likely to develop nicely in future outings. So, pretty good if you like that kind of thing. Now let’s all funk it out to Prince’s Batdance.

The Batman Is Currently In Cinemas EVERYWHERE!

RECONSIDERED – THE PHANTOM MENACE

REVIEW – Time can be a great healer as paradigms and perceptions change. People age and mellow as tastes develop and evolve. What were once forgettable mediocrities upon release are often now viewed as classics of their time. And so we reconsidered The Phantom Menace. George Lucas’s prequel trilogy starter now has the reputation of an unpolish-able turd. But is that summation fair? The Exec reconsidered The Phantom Menace with an open mind and a blank slate.

Reconsidered – The Phantom Menace… Still Shit, It Is

Jesus Christ. Just imagine if George had opened with this one back in the 70s. It makes Star Crash look like Tarkovsky’s Stalker. Even the opening crawl manages to be so dull, reading it aloud could dehydrate fruit within a 30 yard radius. Who gives a shit about taxation trade routes? A long time ago, in an administration center far, far away.

At Best, Questionable Is Your Racial Stereotyping

Ok, so the Trade Federation guys aren’t that great in terms of progressing the franchise’s racial stereotyping images. But let’s gloss over that and move on. I’m sure George Lucas wont have any other characters that are racist- oh my, Jar-Jar has just arrived. Sweet Jesus, this is difficult to watch. Even if you ignore the god-awful attempts at physical comedy. I’m pretty sure you can see the moment Ewan McGregor realizes how bad this all is. Something in his eyes dies the first times he looks up at Jar-Jar. It’s probably about the same time he remembers he’s signed on for all 3 films and it’ll take more than a Jedi mind trick to get him out of his contract.

More Gungans. Embarrassed, Are We

Dear lord. Let me follow Boba Fett into the Sarlaac pit. It wont be as painful as having to watch this Gungun sequence again. This is what happens when a white, middle aged billionaire has nobody to say no to him or even question their decisions. This is how we now have Elon Musk. I blame you entirely George.

Watch More Of This Crap, I Can’t

At least Darth Maul is a very cool and genuinely threatening villain. I can’t wait to see how his character and story develops over the trilogy. Oh. What a sh *t kicker.

Watched The Phantom Menace Did We, So Have To, You Do Not. Welcome, Are You.

REVIEW: NO TIME TO DIE

REVIEW – With the long anticipated domestic release of No Time To Die, we tell you if you should like it or not. Read our review now to decide how you feel about No Time To Die. Tell your family, tell your friends they have to read this. They are incapable of independent thought.

No Time To Die

Clocking in at a bum-numbing 4 hours and 52 minutes, No Time To Die is the longest film in the James Bond franchise. But it’s still way shorter than Marvel’s Endgame and that made a shit load of money, so swings and roundabouts.

No Time To Eye-Eye

The starting sequence is a thrill ride of action packed references to previous Bond films. There’s a motorized Gondola chase, a racist red-neck Sheriff and a Zombie Judi Dench turns up to bend Pierce Brosnan over a desk to fist him as he squeals his way through The Winner Takes It All by ABBA.

No Time To I-Spy

The titles aint what they used to be. Long-gone are the days of naked women covered in fluorescent paint. And Duran-Duran warbling over the top, like adolescent Republicans at a Karaoke bar. These titles take themselves seriously, as does the theme song. Can anyone remember what the theme song sounds like? I can’t, and I’ve just watched the film. There are lots of musical references to previous Bond films. Alice Cooper’s Man With The Golden Gun theme is in there, as is Radiohead’s Skyfall theme. There’s also a reworking of the James Bond theme, played on guitar by Jimmy Page which lasts even longer than the film.

Dr No Character Development

The villain does a wonderful version of Crazy Little Thing Called Love from his glamorous evil hideout and Daniel Craig looks like a baked potato in a tuxedo. He’s ugly, but you’d still smother him in sour cream and push him into your face. But who cares about all of this because it’s Bond. So if you like Bond, you’ll go see it and if you don’t like Bond, you won’t go and see it. Either way it doesn’t matter. There’s far too much money to be made out of these things regardless of what we say or do.

No Time To Die Is Showing Somewhere Within 20 Yards Of You

TIMOTHEE CHALAMET STARS AS NICK CAVE IN YOUNG NICK

HOLLYWOOD – Andrew Dominic’s Young Nick is a triumph, boasting an amazing performance by Timothée Chalamet.

Call Me By Your Name and Ladybird star Timothée Chalamet once more pulls out the stops. This time with a bravura performance as Australian post-punk singer Nick Cave in a new film tracing the origins of the Australian nick cavemusician. Young Nick begins in Australia with the teenager Nick still searching to find his way through the world. Writer and director Andrew Dominic – and pal of Nick Cave – knew Nick Cave as they both group up in the same world. This is evident in the closely observed miseries of 80s suburban Australia. Guy Pearce is superb as Cave’s confused father, who is out of his depth with his rebellious son.

Liam Hemsworth is slightly too old to play Mick Harvey, the Birthday Party and then Bad Seeds guitarist, but he manages his part with aplomb. The interaction between the two makes for some of the funniest dialogue of the film. Cave reveals himself something of an idealist against the hard Ozzie pragmatism of Harvey.

SNEAK PREVIEW

The Scenes of the gigs are great. So vibrant and full of life. From the disastrous school disco to the local club where the first tentative steps towards stardom look to be foiled by the over zealous attentions of the local police.  But it is Chalamet’s performance which is creating early buzz and talks of a possible Oscar nomination down the road. He shows the charisma that made Cave the figure he would become. But equally he manages to suggest the vulnerabilities at the heart of the character. The music is obviously dynamite with a mix of mostly Birthday Party tracks but with an evocative use of From Her to Eternity as the film transitions to a wintry London. And an assault on musical history from out antipodean heroes.

Dominic has created a deeply entertaining, visually sumptuous and startlingly intelligent film. Perhaps his best movie since Chopper. And it is important to note, this isn’t a film for fans only. If you go in without knowing anything about Cave – who stills remains a select taste – there’s still plenty to enjoy in this punkish portrait of a rebel without a cause.

Young Nick comes out in 2020.

SUNDANCE REVIEW – ROB SCHNEIDER’S DUNE

SUNDANCE- Alex Gibney’s shocking new documentary tells the story of the best science fiction never made: Rob Schneider’s Dune.

Frank Herbert’s novel Dune has proven a disaster for many film makers. First Ridley Scott tried and failed. Then Alejandero Jodorowksi. Then Alan Parker, John Boorman and David Lynch. Admittedly David Lynch actually completed the film but by then no one was interested because they knew the one that mattered – Rob Schneider’s – would never be seen.

Often praised by peers as a visionary consistently let down by inferior material, Schneider has also been a lifelong fan of Science Fiction. Throughout the Eighties, the young comedian wrote script after script based on Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. When those attempts came to naught and emboldened by his growing success on Saturday Night Live, Schneider turned his attention to the massive 1963 Frank Herbert novel which had previously been made into a film by David Lynch in 1984. Schneider says:

I always felt that the Lynch film had got some major aspects of the book wrong. In a way that film is great as a Lynchian play with the future, but it just doesn’t sustain the sweep of the story and I had a feeling I could do it.

Casting himself as Paul Atreides, Schneider wrote a script and prepared to direct. George Lucas – a fan of the book and Schneider’s Tiny Elvis – was on board as a consultant and producer, but the two ultimately fell out over a comic character Lucas wanted to introduce into the film, who would later become Jar Jar Binks. ‘This is the one time in comedy history when Rob actually had more taste,’ jokes collaborator John Milius.

Alex Gibney‘s documentary is an entertaining portrait of a period as well as of the non-making of an almost classic. Talking head interviews with all the principles – except for Meg Ryan who pulled out of the project at a late stage for undisclosed reasons – are enlightening though there is the rosy hue of nostalgia distorting some of the harder economic realities. And despite Schneider’s presence there are moments of genuine comedy such as the casting reel, which shows Robert Downey Jr and James Caan struggling to get into their roles, Duke Leto and the Beast respectively.

Ultimately, heavy drug use and a spiraling budget doomed the project, but its influence can still be seen in such far flung regions of the galaxy as Paul Blart Mall Cop and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.

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SUNDANCE REVIEW – EATING BACON WITH MALCOLM

SUNDANCE REVIEW – Naomi Watts and Viggo Mortenssen star in Eating Bacon with Malcolm.

Eating Bacon with Malcolm tells the story of a young boy – newcomer Jake Seed – who on the death of his father, temporarily loses the urge to eat bacon. His mother has buried herself in work to avoid grief and the neglected kid needs also to contend with a new city, where mother and son have moved to. In flashback, Malcolm’s relationship to his inspirational father is seen through a series of breakfasts the two ate together, while Naomi Watts the mother, is buried in work.

A bittersweet comedy, the occasionally flimsy conceit is more than held up by some exceptional performance – particularly from newcomer Seed. The only blot is Mortensen who spends the whole film randomly using insulting racial epithets. He seems to be trying to prove a point. The ever reliable Watts is amazing as the mother who has thrown herself into her work and slowly discovers that she is losing her son. But Seed is the revelation. It’s almost as if Jess Plemons ate Timothée Chalamet and then shit him out as a young Paul Newman. The final scene – where SPOILER Malcolm eats bacon – had the audience in tears. Music by the one guy from Radiohead who hasn’t done a score yet was acoustic guitary.

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SOLO A STAR WARS STORY – REVIEW

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY: REVIEW – The new Star Wars movie hits theatres.

The new Star Wars movie – Solo: A Star Wars Story – is in theaters, starring Emilia Clarke, Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson and Danny Glover and we ask: is it any good?

Nope.

 

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INACCURATE MOVIE REVIEW – A QUIET PLACE

The INACCURATE MOVIE REVIEW ensures movies are not spoilt by getting everything wrong about them: A Quiet Place.

Steve Carell – the star of TV’s Parks and Recreation – stars in a knockabout comedy. Instead of being quiet, it’ll have you laughing as loudly as you can.

The 1970s and America is coming to terms with the post-Watergate paranoia. Carell and real life wife Tina Fey play Ernie and Esther, a middle aged couple who live in the city with their dogs and blind son: Georgie. Chris Pratt from The Office plays Georgie very movingly.

When aliens invade, the world is turned upside down. But Ernie’s ability to amuse the aliens with his hilarious shadow puppetry means he distracts the aliens while Esther and Georgie escape. Unfortunately, the aliens see Georgie’s luminous stick – they can’t hear him because they are deaf – and they eat him up. Blood everywhere. Jeez, like something out of the Farrelly brothers films, which isn’t surprising as they directed this.

Eric finds that the aliens have very keen eyesight – they spotted Georgie’s stick after all, which wasn’t THAT luminous – and he uses this against them by shining the torch from his phone into his eyes. At this point the film could end because we know how Eric and Esther will defeat the aliens, but the film insists on showing us them killing every single alien with torches from their phones.

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AVENGERS INFINITY WAR: SPOILER FREE REVIEW

HOLLYWOOD – Avengers: Infinity War is here.

And so here is our SPOILER FREE review. 100% SPOILER FREE. Go Ahead and read on. Because there are no SPOILERS. If you want SPOILERS go elsewhere because you ain’t getting them here buddy.

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CALL ME LUCKY – REVIEW

CALL ME LUCKY – REVIEW – The guy from Police Academy 2 makes one of the best documentaries of the year.

Bobcat Goldthwait’s documentary Call Me Lucky is a personal and loving tribute to acerbic political comedian and personal friend Barry Crimmins.  Haling from a little known suburb of New York State, Skaneateles – “the name comes from an old Indian word meaning: Beautiful Lake Surrounded by Fascists”, Crimmins notes – Crimmins carved himself a role as stand up and comedy club manager, setting up first in his home town and then in Boston. Nurturing such talents as Goldthwaite himself, Steve Wright, Tom Kenny (who went on to Spongebob fame) and many others, Crimmins was a powerful personality, caring for the talent with great generosity but at the same time being highly critical and demanding of comedians to excel themselves. He was particularly cutting of the kind of homophobic, misogynistic schtick which passed for edgy in Reagan’s America. His own routines were couched in an angry and well informed satire that, along with his often uncompromising socialist principles, put him at odds with the audiences of the day, anticipating the cult status of the likes of Bill Hicks and Hicks-clone Denis Leary.

If Crimmins’ political comedy was the only topic of the documentary, Call Me Lucky would already have earned its right to exist in uncovering an under-appreciated American artist and social activist. However, in 1992, Crimmins went on stage and delivered a monologue that recounted his own experience of being raped as a child. Many of his best friends didn’t know anything about it and the public revelation was a watershed for Crimmins, as he decided to confront his demons and specifically the abuse going on via the chat rooms of the nascent internet. His activism took him all the way to Washington where he gave testimony at a Senate hearing and was instrumental in educating the legislators about an issue that no one wished to talk about. Call Me Lucky is the tale of a survivor, an activist and a brilliant comic talent. It will turn many people on to the work of Barry Crimmins and his status as a true American hero.

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BLACK PANTHER – REVIEW

BLACK PANTHER – REVIEW – Ryan Coogler’s new film is very good.

The new Marvel film Black Panther directed by Ryan Coogler is pretty good. There’s really no way to disentangle the movie from the phenomenon that it has become and, actually, why would you want to? It’s the first major black superhero movie – if you don’t count Blade, Blade II, Hancock, Blade III, Cat Woman and Meteor Man. The movie blew up at the box office and critical success and provided a generation of young kids with a role model and hero that looks like them for once.

And the film is very good. I’ve loved Chadwick Boseman since the criminally under-rated Get On Up. Here, he evinces a cool charisma as King T’Challa AKA Black Panther. Michael B. Jordan makes a convincing villain and Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright and Danai Gurira are each funny, smart and strong. The location of Wakanda is well realized, bringing Afrofuturism to the screen in a big way.

Does the film have problems? Yep. A few. The action wasn’t great. The casino fight seemed particularly difficult to follow. And the three tier showdown at the end, especially guy in one colored suit fights guy in identical suit of a different color smacked of formula. Although I like that the film isn’t about the death of the entire universe, the battle for a small hill between a handful of fighters seemed almost ridiculously small. Plus politically, although the film dipped its toe, surely the monarchy idea hampered its more progressive urges. In response to Killmonger’s dangerous revolutionary politics, T’Challa becomes a Bill Gates philanthropist, literally dropping in on the neighborhood and buying up real estate.

With the success of Wonder Woman and now Black Panther, studios hopefully will follow up with even more diversity. This can only be a good thing.

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ALTERED CARBON – REVIEW

REVIEW – Netflix science fiction show Altered Carbon dropped a couple of weeks back and now I’ve finished it.

Set in the Blade Runner, Altered Carbon stars Joel Kinnaman as a Japanese terrorist Takeshi Kovacs. He desperately doesn’t want to sleep with his sister. Authorities de-ice the criminal Envoy and put him in a new sleeve – an ex-cop white guy – so that he can investigate Laurens Bancroft’s (James Purefoy) murder. He’s hired by Bancroft because being a Meth – rich guy who lives in the sky – Bancroft has downloaded backups of himself that he can then put into cloned sleeves – bodies – of himself. The first couple of episodes get by on the whizzbang of all that new vocabulary and the production values that do make you go oh look Blade Runner… oh look Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome… oh look Blade Runner… oh look the Matrix… oh look Blade Runner… oh look Blade Runner.

The Stranger Things cut and paste methodology wears thin about episode three and then the clunky dialogue begins to really compete with the hammy acting for what torments the soul of the viewer more. The Neo-Noir demands a corrupt world, but there’s a weird hollowness to everything here. Some of the ideas are excellent and spice up the hate watching –  feisty cop Ortega (Martha Higareda) is a particularly irritating bundle of stereotypes. I liked the AI hotel called Poe (Chris Conner) and some of the ideas about swapping bodies are good and the action is well done. But the overall effect becomes numbing and the nudity plus violence stuff starts to get really old. Women get hurt and humiliated time and again. And I’m not sure having your avenger turn up in S&M gear retroactively makes the women-beating feminist.

So we have a slick-looking sci-fi thriller with dialogue so bad it feels like its trying to parody bad dialogue and which wears its unoriginality as a badge of honor. But other than that I enjoyed it.

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THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING MISSOURI – REVIEW

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING MISSOURI – REVIEW – Fargo goes to Missouri as Olive Kitteridge is angry with Woody the barman from Cheers.

Ebbing Missouri is the kind of small town in which everyone knows everyone else’s business. And a terrible crime has been committed. With the failure of the local police chief to apprehend the guilty, a distraught mother (Frances McDormand) decides to take things into her own hands by advertising the police department’s apparent ineptitude to the world.

Martin McDonagh has written and directed a smart and complex dramedy with a crowd-pleasing performance by the actress who could challenge Meryl Streep for the American acting crown. Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson also have solid parts, with McDonagh giving everyone lines that are as chewy as tobacco. The only problem if the film has a weird internal inconsistency. It’s supposed to be about how terrible violence can have consequences on the lives of those left behind, but all the violence of the film seems to be strangely weightless and bouncy. It wants to say something serious but also wants to wear a silly hat. There are plot holes and absurdities that clang against the realism of other parts. Also I’m not entirely sure that Martin McDonagh really knows much about small town America. I’m guessing that a lot of Ebbing was inspired by movies rather than a real place.

That said it is funny and the acting is great.

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