Review : Atomic Blonde


“An undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents.”

Atomic Blonde comes to us from one of the co directors of the popular John Wick movie in David Leitch, who had previously made his name and career of off doing stunt work, a credit which spoke greatly to the kind of movie John Wick was. He directors however separated with one going on to make John Wick 2, and the other Atomic Blonde. There are many similarities between the two, but Leitch does well to distinguish himself from the gun toting Wick in a few ways. Firstly, his visual style is ramped up even more here, and it fits perfectly with this graphic novel adaptation, giving it a real gritty and washed out aesthetic, except when he wants to be colourful, at which point he gives us blinding neons and super saturations that screen comic book page. Then there’s the action, which is surprising another place this movie separates itself from Wick. It uses minimal guns, and opts for a real brawler style hand to hand combat, that’s extremely satisfying to watch. They do a great job of illustrating the difficulty in a woman of Theron’s size having to fight men twice her size, and the double duty she must employ to escape. This movie also takes itself more down the mystery, espionage route with its story, giving the movie some nice breathing points to try and string the story along, and keep up the intrigue. All of this coupled with a pulse pounding synthetic score, and the biggest European hits of the late eighties, this movie has a real flare and style to it that’s hard to ignore. There are some small issues yes, and it doesn’t deliver quite the action level of some of its competitors, but with what it has already, it’s impressive cast of supporting characters and actors, and flare for the over the top, Atomic Blonde is a real sexy, fun, hard hitting ride, that doesn’t pull its punches, and is most definitely worth seeing on a big screen (with a big sound system).

Review Score : 8.5 out of 10

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Trailer fo the Week!

This weeks (I must say on time and I’m proud of that) trailer of the week is:

Gemini (Trailer #1)

Trailer of the week has always been an avenue where I could bring to light some smaller, lesser known films, and this week we have another similar item. Gemini comes to us hot from the film festival route of release and is written and directed by Aaron Katz who’s directed a few smaller movies before, landing arguably his biggest cast this time around.

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That cast includes Lola Kirke of Gone Girl fame, Zoë Kravitz of multiple fame, and even John Cho, who’s career has definitely gone down a much more serious acting lane as of late. These top billed actors here definitely have more than enough acting power, so the real question here is if that script and the directing are up to par with he talent on show here.

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The story itself here is a bit of mystery, and one thats meant to be a mystery. All we get from the trailer is that a crime has occurred, and that crime will both draw our main characters into its crosshairs, but also put a real test and strain on the relationships between them. Does Gemini look like something you want to check out, or another less than amazing festival film?

Wrap Up : The Defenders

Daredevil season 1 and 2, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, all lead up this cross over small screen event. So how was it? Well its a bit of a mixed bag. Lets start with the pros, and I think there are maybe equal pros and cons here. To start, this show lives and dies on these four characters, and these characters are the reason we watch their individual series, and why now, we’ve watched this crossover. Charlie Cox’s Daredevil, is still clear and away the best of these characters, both in Cox’s portrayal of him and the material he his given to work with. He also is saddled with the best supporting cast, and their acting is always on display when they are on screen with other characters. These characters however do all allow for one of the other biggest pros of the series, and thats being able to see the way all the side and main characters overlap, which plots a real nice web across all of the shows. That overlap does give a feeling of accomplishment also for seeing all the series and knowing all the players.

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There are also some notable inclusions to cast here, with the likes of Sigourney Weaver who comes on to play the role of the main antagonist for the defenders series. She is definitely good here, and her character has and serves a very definite and distinctive arch, but it also feels very much like an extended cameo, than it does a fully fleshed out character that lived in that world. There is also some solid action set pieces here, and when they are done well, they are executed very well, and allow the characters to flex their muscles. It also has to be said, that an 8 episode run is a much better formula (only the Daredevils seasons in my opinion benefit from 13 episodes, all the others to some degree get hurt from the longer 13 episode run). 8 episodes allows for a much more focused storyline, and even though we have all these characters, and so much to connect, if this were 13 episodes I can’t help but think that in trying to add 5 more hours we would lose a lot of the momentum this show has.

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There are however, some negatives here. The first to put it plainly, is the Iron Fist character. Now I’m not talking about the actor here, because while he does add to the portrayal, he is also restricted by the way the character is written, and I think that writing is the real issue here. His character always seems like he’s not in the same world as these other characters, and his character always seems at odds with the others, but in from a character stand point. The main storyline of the series also leans on his character and his methodology heavily, and that means he has a big role here, and when he’s charged with leading the line its just not as good as with the others. There are some other characters also who, while not bad, just aren’t given enough to do to truly be memorable and make a lasting impression on this defenders universe. While like I said earlier there are some great action set pieces here, there are also some sloppy ones. Sloppy not just in their choreography and acting, but also in there setting, use of the characters, and a lack of imagination.

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One of the biggest issues however, and seemingly one of the easier problems to fix, is the budget. So I can’t really find a budget for the defenders, I know the individual series come in around the 40 million per season budget, but whatever the budget is for this series, its either not enough, or its going in all the wrong places. There were so many times during episodes, where I would have to wonder to myself if certain plot points and plot devices were done solely out of a lack of funds and a need to make things as cheap as possible. Wether it would be a lack of fire power from certain villains, to a lack of set diversity, there were so many points where I felt like money had to be an issue. Now I don’t know if something like the lack of certain things from Iron Fist are from a budget point of view, or a writing point of view (de-powering his character to make him fit this universe better), but it definitely comes off as more of an issue than really making his character fit better. Even something as simple as the ending, when the door is unlocked, I was expecting and hoping for something to visually illustrate the difference more than just a dragon skeleton. All of those things just wreak of a small budget to me, and thats something that I in this day and age, with whats meant to be event television like this, just think shouldn’t be such an issue. And like I said before, I don’t know if the issue was a lack of funds, of a misuse of them, but either way I think that was one of the biggest issues this show had to overcome.

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All in all, I think while The Defenders is a mixed bag, I definitely think its worth watching for a few reasons. If you’ve already invested in the other series that lead up to this, you kind of have to watch it, even if for closure, but mostly because one of the things it does best, is line up the future storylines of those individual shows when they each return in future seasons. Its also an easier investment being only 8 episodes, and its a good binge if you need one. (And no their not going to re-cast Iron Fist or anything like that so just either don’t watch his show or don’t watch this if you really can’t stand him, but who knows, maybe one day instead of Iron Fist and Luke Cage series we will get a Heroes for Hire series featuring a bionic arm Misty Knight?!)

Trailer of the Week!

Today’s (yes in know its late) trailer of the week goes to:

Molly’s Game (trailer #1)

Based on a true story, A list amazing cast, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, I feel like I should have to say anything else to see this movie, but I will anyway. Molly’s Game follows former Olympic skier Molly Bloom, who took her career to another level when she managed and ran a series of high stakes private poker games, which led her onto the door steps of the FBI and the Russian Mob.

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Aaron Sorkin is extremely well known for writing work, but this will be his debut job as a director, and he’s certainly chosen a great story to work with. From a Few Good Men, to Money Ball, to The Social Network, Sorkin’s body of work is definitely one to be proud of. He’s proven himself as someone who knows how to write really interesting characters, that even if not always well rounded people, are definitely realistic in their actions and motivations.

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Speaking of casts, we have Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Chris O’Dowd, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, and many more. Like I said before, this movie in my eyes really does sell it self, just give that trailer a look or two, and I think if your not sold, theres no selling you. What do you think, are you buying this as much as I am?

Trailer of the Week!

This weeks trailer of the week is a low key one, but it goes to:

Goodbye Christopher Robin (Trailer #2)

Domhnall Gleeson and Margot Robbie head up a movie here that might be bit on the low key side, but its certainly not lacking in acting talent. It following the life and story behind A.A. Milne’s world famous Winnie the Pooh series of books inspired by his son Christopher Robin. The story itself looks to tell both a larger and smaller story here however, as we see clips in the trailer showing both his struggles with PTSD, as well as letting his son influence his work in a direction he probably never expected.

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The movie seems to be much more of a character study on the lives of these characters, than the characters of Pooh and the like, where we get a real in-depth look at how these kinds of culturally changing events occur. I’m not sure just how large a role Robbie will have as she doesn’t have much time in the trailer, but with her capability as an actor, I have no doubt that she will be smash any level of a role she’s given.

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What do you think about this Goodbye Christopher Robin trailer, is it too low key of a movie for you, or are you a fan of the more dramatic stuff? Either way comment and let me know what you think about it, and if you plan on seeing this movie.

Review : The Cutlass

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“Inspired by true events, THE CUTLASS is a dramatic thriller set in the tropical wilderness of Trinidad and tells the story of a young woman who falls into the grasp of a dangerous sociopath. She finds herself isolated and musters the courage to emotionally battle the unsettled mind of her abductor.”

As the summary implies, this movie both takes place and was made by and in Trinidad and Tobago (so if you’re not from or in the Caribbean you might not be able to see this one). Its written by Teneille Newallo, and directed by Darisha Beresford, and it boasts a genuinely diverse cast across all levels. The movie itself is definitely more good than bad, but first, the good. Arnold Goindhan who plays the antagonist here, has the meatiest role, and the most heavy lifting, acting wise to do here, and he does a pretty good job. He does come across as sincere in his more vulnerable moments, and when he keeps his portrayal subtle, he really shines. He does this across from Lisa-Bel Hirschmann, who definitely keeps her acting as subtle as possible, but for the most part doesn’t have as much to play against. Her most emotional scene however, is done really well, and she does tug on the heart strings with her performance there. I do think some of the cinematography does lack a bit of imagination, as I think it would have allowed for some more powerful scenes with some better framing. I also did have some problems with the sound, not in that it was bad, or not done properly, there just were a few times when I felt in either the ADR, or straight audio mixing of the audio, that some dialogue didn’t feel like it was happening in the situation, but sounded more like a voice over. The score I also wasn’t too impressed with, for the most part it was very subdued and subtle, and thats fine, but I felt like when it really needed to swell and help impart some emotion or suspense, it came off a bit lack luster. And lack luster is how I would define the ending of this movie, for most of it, everything in the movie is building towards to a head, towards some kind of resolution, and you just never get it. There is an ending here, and there are definite resolutions in the script, but things don’t feel resolved, they feel like what we invested in before, was fully paid off. I know I probably sound like I really don’t like this film, but I did like it, the things that it did well, it genuinely did. There are some problems here yes, like any movie really, but this movie definitely shows the raising levels of Caribbean film making. Production wise this is one of the best local (local meaning Trinidadian) films I’ve seen. All in all, I do encourage anyone who has the opportunity to check this movie out to do so, supporting local industries is important for growth, and there is definitely enjoyment to be had in this movie.

Review Score : 7 out of 10