Review : A Wrinkle in Time

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“After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him.”

Ever since Selma, people have been waiting for the big screen follow up from Ava DuVernay. She was a long time rumoured director for what was then the upcoming Black Panther movie, which she eventually left before settling at what that next project would be, A Wrinkle in Time. On paper their is a lot of talent behind the creation and implementation of this movie, from many people who’ve proven they can create content at the highest level, but, this movie is not one of those things. In truth, this movie isn’t good at all really. There are two things that I would consider being redeemable factors here, but they can’t save the movie as a whole. We’ll start with those, and one of the brightest lights in this movie is Storm Reid who plays the lead here. Her portrayal of the character is really layered and nuanced, and she ads a lot of heart and feeling to her performance (which I certainly can’t say for any of the other cast of that age here). The second thing is that there are some really nice, meaningful and important messages and lessons weaved throughout this movie, and maybe for some people, those alone are worth seeing this movie for, but I have a really hard time recommending anyone pay to see this movie. And that leads us to the bad. Chris Pine and Gugu Mbatha-Raw are great actors, and when they’re in the movie, they are really solid, but they aren’t in it much, so they can’t really help the generally poor acting that’s throughout this movie. Oprah, Reese and Mindy all, and I mean all come off as bad characters from a low budget made for TV movie, and not what this movie is supposed to be. Their acting aside, their costuming is terrible, on all sides, it came across as cheap, rushed and amateurish. That also bleeds over into the visuals of this movie on a whole. The effects looks fine I guess, but they also come across as made for TV and uninspired, which was really disappointing. This movie also feels really strangely directed. It goes at a bit of a break neck speed, but I feel like there is so much of this movie that was left on the cutting room floor to make its hour and forty some odd minute run time, but it was really to the detriment of the film. It makes a lot of this movie come across as things happening just to happen, and not for any particular reason. I KNOW Ava Duvernay can do much better than this, so I dont blame her really for it, but I would really love to know what caused this movie to go in such a weird direction. All in all, if you have younger children, and they have either read the book or you think they will do well with the life lessons on hand here, I’d suggest just waiting till its on streaming or something like that, its not worth the cinema money.

Review Score : 4 out of 10

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Review : Black Panther

“T’Challa, the King of Wakanda, rises to the throne in the isolated, technologically advanced African nation, but his claim is challenged by a vengeful outsider who was a childhood victim of T’Challa’s father’s mistake.”

At this point, Black Panther has done something not many movies can claim, and it’s not all the money it’s making, it’s that it has become more than just a movie, it’s become a movement. So much has been put on this movie because of its almost entirely black cast, and its African centric content. It’s gotten to the point where wether or not this movie is good as a movie is more or less irrelevant, and just like the movie itself, that’s good and bad. There are many areas where Black Panther really stands up as a movie and makes a statement, and there are things that let it down a bit. To start with this is definitely the most political comic book movie ever made, and it’s very bold in its subject matter. It tackles black issues from basically the beginning of Africa to current day, and it does so by mostly raising discussion, but it does also offer some words or wisdom if not answers about them. But this movie is still also a movie, and as a movie it has an entirely separate section of obligations to attend to. The cast here is really excellent, everyone does a great job at the personal and interpersonal relationships between characters, and the subtle things that make them all different. One of the biggest complaints lodged about MCU movies are the villains, and Michael B Jordan’s “Killmonger” is at the same time a break from their typical villain typecast, and yet even he shares some of the issues of those very characters. In many ways Killmonger is the antithesis of Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa. They come from opposite sides of the same tracks (a metaphor turned visual by the end) in their view of the world, but they still want similar ends, just by vastly different means. Killmonger also has very strong and very well motivated moral convictions, that force us and T’Challa to change how they look at the world, and in this manner he is successful, where that character breaks down, is in the inevitability of him become a Black Panther to fight Black Panther. In so many of these movies we get villains that are reduced to being a different colour or style of our hero, whereas all the really great villains of the MCU become more than that. That’s all not to say I didn’t like his character or Jordan’s portrayal of him, Killmonger was always truly poignant and decisive in his actions, but I can’t not see that he still added to that trend of MCU villains. I see any criticism of this film has been treated as a strike against all the great things this movie can mean and create, and I wish it only success, but this is s movie review, and when I see issues I have to raise them. Outside of what this movie brings politically and culturally, the thing that this movie is missing to be at the level of say the top 5 movies of it kind is that it’s missing that real stand out moment that will have the average viewer wanting to rewatch this movie. Black Panther is a great movie, and it’s a mold breaker in many ways, but it’s not a mold breaker just as a movie. I feel very much about this movie as I did about the first Guardians of the Galaxy, that it’s something we haven’t seen before in many ways, but it’s still has some of the pitfalls that can plague movies like this. Black Panther has the pressure on it of having to be great movie, a great political piece, and a great comic book movie. And honestly, it should be commended for what’s its done in all of those arenas, but some of that pressure and those expectations are a blessing and a curse. Everyone should see this movie for its messages. Anyone who’s a fan of these movies should see it also. Wether this movie should be judged just on its merits as a film, or on something more isn’t for me to say, but I have tried my best to explain how it made me feel, and the enjoyment I certainly had with it.

Review Score : 8.5 out of 10

There are also two end credit scenes just a FYI.

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

Review : Coco

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“Aspiring musician Miguel, confronted with his family’s ancestral ban on music, enters the Land of the Dead to work out the mystery.”

Coco is the latest in the long and storied history of Pixar the animation studio, and like most everything they lay their hands on, it turns to gold. Coco, named for one of the main characters in the movie, takes us on a cultural, gripping, emotional and entertaining story about family. This movie really does play like a valentine to Dia de los Muertos, the Mexican celebration of the day of the dead. It represents the day on which families give thanks and remembrance to their ancestors who have gone before them. Coco also does a fantastic job in teaching anyone who isn’t aware of the celebration and what that all entails, in a manner that comes across as sincere, and never felt like it was watering or dumbing down the material for a wider audience. It pulls you into the world of Miguel and his family, and then takes you on a journey with him, from this world to another, with some really great twists and turns that are earned and genuinely well done. The animation is gorgeous, and they take full advantage of the added visual style that the day of the dead inspires and allows. The added lore also creates a great bed to lay this story on, especially because this celebration is based around family, and at its core, thats what this movie is really about. It is about music, it is about being an artist, and what it truly takes to be an artist in this world, but everything is swirling around this core of family, and what family means. And it all feels so authentic, and it is. The voice talent here is all on point, and they all do really well with their singing, as well as they do sound like a real family, and one that really cares for each member. The only thing keeping this movie from reaching the peak though are the songs. Not the music, the guitar work here is really amazing, but the original songs are good, but there isn’t that stand out, or song that will really break through, and I really wish it did, to give is this movie the extra exposure it deserves. All in all, Coco is a fantastic movie for any member or the whole family, and is worth seeing on the big screen with some popcorn.

Review Score : 9 out of 10

Trailer of the Week!

This weeks trailer of the week goes to:

Coco (Trailer 1)

Now I know what you’re thinking, “I’ve seen this movie before, and it was called the Book of Life”, and you’re not really wrong. Coco comes to us from the heavy hitters that are Disney Pixar, who are known for a a laundry list of amazing films, so I think as much as this idea might seem to be taken, I think we have to give this film the benefit of the doubt that it will one of real quality.

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Coco follows a young boy, who find himself on the wrong side of the tracks after the annual Day of the Dead celebrations, putting him in a place where no living person has set foot before. The movie also uses a mostly hispanic cast of voice talent to lend  a lot of authenticity to this project. The movie is directed by two directors who have been main stays in many of the previous Pixar movie line up, getting their bump up to full time directors for Coco. Though this trailer is mostly an introductory teaser trailer, we can really get a scene for the visual style, and their take on the classic Day of the dead imagery, and is a slight departure from the generally more photo-realistic styles used in pervious Pixar films. Are you excited to see Coco, or think its just gonna be a Book of Life knock off?

Review : Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Men Tell No Tales

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“Captain Jack Sparrow searches for the trident of Poseidon.”

When the first Pirates movie came out in 2003, it was a real surprise, partly because it had a real magic to it, and in large part because of Johnny Depp’s turn as Captain Jack Sparrow. And its the character of Caption Jack Sparrow, that has been the driving force of the pirates series ever since. Fast forward to 2017, and there has been a change in our beloved Captain, and not a change I like. This movie in particular brings to character to his lowest low, and relegates him to much more of a bumbling drunk that gets by solely on luck, when before Jack certain had his way with rum, but he was also always the most clever person in the room. The plot of this movie is there, and it makes sense mostly, but it also seems a lot more convoluted that it needed to be, and it felt like most of it really didn’t matter. There are even some characters in here, that just honestly didn’t feel like they needed to be, more would it matter if you cut them out of the movie. Javier Bardem’s Captain Salazar is a well done (looks wise) character, and he’s a lot of fun when he’s on screen and he certainly does bring a certain presence to the role. There are nice appearances from some of the original cast here also, but don’t look for them too much. All in all, Pirates 5 is a fun movie with some nice looking big set pieces, but it all feels a bit soulless.

Review Score : 5 out of 10

Review : Beauty and the Beast

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“An adaptation of the Disney fairy tale about a monstrous-looking prince and a young woman who fall in love.”

Its no secret that the original 1991 Beauty and the Beast movie is a great movie. It was even the first animated movie to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, so no one is disputing its quality. That means that the 2017 live action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast has a head start on being a good movie, but it also has some really big shoes to fill. This new version of the movie is a hard one to review. For one thing, this movie has some new magic to it, and some that it loses. It has the benefit of modern technology that even allows a live action version of this movie to exist. That technology allows for this movie to be extremely lavish and detailed in its setting and environments with an attention to detail that traditional animation could have never achieved. That same modernity however robs the ability of it to truly have some of the moments of awe because we’ve simply seen them before. As much as the rolling hills of France looked amazing, I can’t help but know I’ve seen this scene before. This effect does come and go however, because some of the moments as much as I know them, are still a wonder to behold can actually be something new and different because of the actual acting that we can have here. This version of the movie also allows for them to pause on some of the more tender moments of the story, which does help add to the splendor and magic of this classic tale. All in all, Beauty and the Beast the modern retelling, is a real and true fantasy in most every way possible, and it does definitely bring to life this age old animation even it’s just short of being able to replace it and usurp it.

Review Score : 8.5 out of 10