Review : All the Money in the World

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“The story of the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III and the desperate attempt by his devoted mother to convince his billionaire grandfather Jean Paul Getty to pay the ransom.”

So straight to the controversy, yes Kevin Spacey was in this movie, no he isn’t anymore (not really anyway), and no you really wouldn’t ever know he was replaced if they hadn’t told us. That aside, this is a really interesting movie. On the one hand, I have to state my bias, I really love Ridley Scott, and so I really love the way he directs movies, so when I now say that I really loved the way this movie is directed, I feel like I have to mention it. I still think bias aside though, that this is still a very well directed movie. This movie also tells a really interesting story, but it also does an equally good job of showing the kinds of peoples it takes for these kinds of situations to arise. We truly get into the mind set of these people, and the mind set that lead them to those points in their lives, but we don’t lose any of the story telling to get that character development. We also get some great character acting all around. Christopher Plummer, for having to come in where he did, and shoot the amount he had to based on his screen time in the movie, his performance is spectacular. The surprise really here I think would have been Mark Wahlberg, but after seeing his performance in Deepwater Horizon, I expect this level of acting from Marky Mark since then honestly. All in all, All the Money in the World is really interesting movie, with great directing and acting, even if its just missing that one layer that would take it over the top into one of the best of the year.

Review Score : 8.5 out of 10

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Review : Bright

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“Set in a world where mystical creatures live side by side with humans. A human cop is forced to work with an Orc to find a weapon everyone is prepared to kill for.”

This has been a huge year for Netflix, and one of there big projects was the movie Bright. A decently large budget movie, with some big name talent in front and behind the camera, and more hope from Netflix to become serious players in the movie business. So is Bright the answer to that question? Not really, but it shows a lot of promise. Bright as a concept, is really good and really exciting. Bright as executed however, isn’t all sunshine and magic wands. To start with, the two leads here in Will Smith and Joel Edgerton are both perfectly cast, and excellent in their roles. Joel does a great job of acting through his make up, still delivering an honest performance that made him seem extremely natural as an actual orc. We also see here why for a decade or so, Will Smith was the biggest blockbuster movie actor that money could buy, because he has an effortless way of being funny, entertaining and charismatic when needed, but while also having the range to give us the feels when thats needed. The rest of the cast here are also very solid and its nice to see their commitment to their roles. That being said, the characters is a good place to get into some of the issues. A lot of the characters feel real and lived in here, but many of them seem to have strong motivations that we don’t get to see develop, or where they really stem from. This can make some of the characters seem caricaturish, which is compounded upon by some of the script dialogue here. Thats not to say this is a bad script, its definitely not bad, and maybe a lot of the dialogue here is ad-libbed, but a lot of it comes off as something someone told a person to say, rather than what that person would actually say. This movie really and truly, is a lot of promise, and not a lot of pay off. They build an entire world here for us and these characters, but they only have so much time to delve into it, and that leaves a lot of interesting information on the sidelines and surplus to requirements. If this was a series, I feel like it could genuinely fulfil that promise, but as is, Bright is a great fantasy cross over movie in theory and concept, but just a fun watch it at home for “free” type of movie (which isn’t what Netflix is paying for this movie to be).

Review Score : 6 out of 10

Review : Jumanji – Welcome to the Jungle

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“Four teenagers discover an old video game console and are literally drawn into the game’s jungle setting becoming the adult avatars they chose.”

What do you get when you take a movie from 20 years ago, update it for a modern audience, add the current leading actors in comedy and action, and add a tag line to the original name? You get Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle, and you get a movie thats much more entertaining and funny that it really has any right to be. Jumanji 2 takes the concept of the original movie, and updates it to a concept thats fits a little better with a modern younger audience, and it does so in a way that genuinely works. It also allows for the movie to introduce some new concepts, that weren’t present in the first movie, that allow this movie to evolve and give it an entirely new set of tools to work with. Using the new setup of the game avatars, the movies allows for two different sets of main casts, and it also allows for the avatar cast, to play roles different to those they may be known for. That allowed for this movie to be much funnier than I though it would be, but it also doesn’t shy away from the action and adventure side of the Jumanji franchise that its really known for. All of these things together make for a movie that was really much more entertaining that I would have ever guessed, and it makes for a really pleasant cinema experience that I thin is perfect for this time of year.

Review Score : 7 out of 10

Trailer of the Week!

28 Days Later, Sunshine, Dredd, and Ex Machina….what do all these movies have in common? Alex Garland.

Annihilation:

Annihilation is the next project either written or directed by writer and director Alex Garland. Its also his next project after the amazing and extremely well regarded Ex Machina, and that puts Annihilation much higher on the list of anticipation than it might have been before. Its stars an all-star, mostly female main cast with the likes of Tessa Thompson, Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Oscar Isaacs and Benedict Wong. So the acting quality should definitely be up to par, and while Garland’s writing has always been highly praised, Ex Machina has shown us what he can do behind the camera also.

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The story follows Natalie Portman as she signs up for a dangerous mission into an area that has been taken over by some kind of alien force. Her and a team of other female A-Listers take on the challenge and we get a much better idea in this trailer of the kind of things they will be facing on their journey to figure out whats really going on this is strange and crazy world. The story looks set to full of suspense and tension, with good moments of horror and action, and if its anything like the Garland movies before it, there should also be some good twists and turns to come.

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So what do you think about Annihilation and this latest trailer? Does this look like the kind of movie you’re interested in, or do you still need to see more to be convinced? Either way leave a comment and let me know.

Review : Star Wars – The Last Jedi

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“Having taken her first steps into the Jedi world, Rey joins Luke Skywalker on an adventure with Leia, Finn and Poe that unlocks mysteries of the Force and secrets of the past.”

It’s finally here, and even when that opening crawl started, I still felt kind like it wasn’t real, but it was, and …wow. This movie gave me so much of what I wanted, while also not giving me so much of what I wanted, and it truly feels like an entirely new entry in the saga (also steel pan is officially canon in Star Wars). This is most definitely the most different Star Wars ever made, and even when you look at the character development from The Force Awakens to now (which isn’t actually that much time), they take so many of these characters in such different places that I would have never seen coming. Rian Johnson also was able to do something that we don’t often get with these kind of movies, and that’s that he was able to do and show us things that we have never seen in a Star Wars movie before (its also super funny). And that was truly a sight to behold, especially since some of those things, are things we may have considered before, but we have never gotten any canonical version of them, but here, we do. It feels almost needless to say, but this movie is absolutely stunning in its visuals, and it also does some things with its visuals, that no other Star Wars movie has ever done either, and they literally had my entire screen gasp, and to have that happen more than once, was really impressive to see. He also lends I think, the most distinct directorial voice ever in a Star Wars movie. That voice also stretches clearly into the story here, and the story elements that he adds to this long mythology. There really is soooooo much here to dig into, and so many complex situations and decisions, that whether or not you like those decisions, you have no choice I think but to respect the boldness of them. Even down to the Force itself, and what the Force means, is given new and slightly different life here. There is A LOT here I really can’t go into without going over copious spoilers, but just know there are many many surprises in here, and its best to try your best to go into the movie as fresh as possible. A huge part of this movie is also of course the characters, and there really is a great deal of character development here for so many of the characters. And this movie isn’t afraid to make characters make bold decisions and then stick by them. That in itself, is probably the best way to describe this entire movie, and thats Bold. The same way many people found Force Awakens polarising for being very similar to episode 4, many people I feel might also have a similar issue with this movie but in the opposite direction. Carrie Fisher I think also really delivers an amazing performance here that operates on multiple levels, and was really touching and saddening to see given her tragic and untimely death. This movie however, is going to derive most of its controversy from the way it portrays and handles Luke Skywalker. I can’t go over it here, but I definitely will post separately about it. All in all, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is an amazing movie, but as a Star Wars movie, is going to be polarising because of its creative choices, and even I’m not fully sure how I feel about many of those moments.

Review Score : 9 out of 10

Trailer of the Week!

Yes its back, because finally we have something worth it (and I see you all rolling your eyes because yes I know the amazing infinity war trailer came out, but come on we knew it was coming).

Alita Battle Angel

Now this one might be a bit polarising, but I think thats going to be a good thing, and actually help the buss behind this movie. So Alita Battle Angel is the latest from director Robert Rodriguez and is based on a popular manga series titled Battle Angel (western name), and sees Rosa Salazar in the title role…kind of.

The first thing most people will notice about this movie, is the look of its protagonist, and she is a motion capture role, and even though this is a live action movie, she in particular will be noticeably CGI because of some very distinct design choices made here. I am of course talking about her anime inspired eyes, that make her look and feel like a doll come to life, for better or worse. Its one of those things where I can really only say that she was CGI because of the eyes, I even thought maybe it was just her eyes, but I’m not sure how main stream audiences will react to something like that.

This movie also boasts a really strong supporting cast, with the likes of Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly and Mahershala Ali to name a few. Will this combination of talent both in front and behind the camera, when paired with material that has already has its own fan base finally see one of these kinds of movies succeed? Or will this be another Ghost in the Shell situation, and probably heap even more pressure onto the shoulder of the Akira live action project.