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 s 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 side of the same tracks (a metaphor terned 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 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.

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Review : The Shape of Water

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“At a top secret research facility in the 1960s, a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity.”

Guillermo del Toro as a film maker, has a very specific and unique way of seeing things, and its evident in the way he portrays things. He must see so many stories and fairytales in the world around him, because he always has this sense of child like wonder in the movies he makes, and The Shape of Water is no different. This movie really is above all other things, a fairytale. Everything from the art direction, the colour palette, the score, the set design, all of it brings this story to life, and no detail is left untouched. Detail is a great way to describe this film also. You can tell that it must have been a real meticulous task to design and create all of these sets and wardrobes, and yet once you’re in there, they just fade away into this fantastic world. Every Guillermo movie isn’t a winner though, and thats because there are other factors to making a great movie, and even with the constant that is his style, the acting, the story, they need to all come together as one cohesive unit, and this movie has all those things. Sally Hawkins has to play a mute person, and she still really brings it, bringing so much emotion and depth without saying a word. Surround that with a cast that are generally much more subtle, then matched in opposition by the every great Michael Shannon, and you get a perfect balance of acting talent, and balance in performances. I think when Guillermo makes certain movies, his goal is to make a pastiche or a love letter to a particular genre or type of movie, and this movie has all the makings of that type of movie. All in all, The Shape of Water is a love story and a fairytale (for adults) that shows thats theres so much more to being human and to living and loving than we might think.

Review Score : 9.5 out of 10

Review : The Post

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“A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country’s first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between the press and the government.”

The first thought I had at the end of this movie, was that it won’t inspire anyone, but this is the kind of movie you get when all parties involved are true professionals of the highest caliber. The Post is the perfect example, of a movie that has excellence in all the check mark areas of film making, it has great directing, great acting, great sound, great everything….the only issue, it doesn’t have a soul. Don’t get me wrong, from all sides, this is a movie thats as solid in its construction as a movie can be really, what else would we expect from the likes of Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, but when I say this movie doesn’t have a soul, what I mean is that its all business, its all professional, but there isn’t anything BOLD here. There is no need for any bold or different directing, no one scene that required a true stand out acting performance (at least nothing we’ve never seen from these acting heavy weights), and the story itself is a great one, but their still isn’t any truly stand out factor, as this story is so many years old. I know it may seem like a harsh criticism, but when a film like this exist, one that is so tightly and deftly made, no individual thing stands out, and you need stand out factors to truly elevate a movie like this into a higher category. The Post in reality, is one of the best made movies you will see likely for a while to come, but it doesn’t have that soul to make it a real stand out movie, and stand out moments that you won’t forget.

Review Score : 8.5 out of 10

Review : Call Me by Your Name

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“In Northern Italy in 1983, seventeen year-old Elio begins a relationship with visiting Oliver, his father’s research assistant, with whom he bonds over his emerging sexuality, their Jewish heritage, and the beguiling Italian landscape.”

I think maybe, the best way I can describe this movie, is thats it like a really fancy or expensive perfume. At first, you’re not even sure you’ve smelled anything, but slowly as it lingers around you its get to a point where you only realise how much you were smiling and enjoying it, when it moves away, and thats what Call Me by Your Name. This movie though, is a really different kind of movie. Its not structured like your typical film, its supremely slow paced (like frustratingly slow at some times), the cinematography and sound design is supremely “low rent” in appearance, but clearly done so to give it a really “real” feel. This film is also both really subtle, and yet really graphic. It portrays romance, in anyway, as the true combination of long periods of gentle warmth, wrapped around a burning fire. There are so many moments, where you really feel the gut wrench of some of the more emotional scenes, and while the directing is supremely deft in its handling of these moments, I feel like there can’t be enough credit given to the acting here. The acting here is truly phenomenal. They get to such a level of rawness and vulnerability, that I would love to have known how these characters were able to get to these places and bring such raw emotion to their characters. To be honest, there’s literally only one thing about this movie that I can consider a flaw, but I don’t even know if to call it a flaw, or simply a decision that didn’t sit well with me, and thats there are some times (not many at all) when I found the movie got to a level of being some what pretentious, and like I said that could really just be an issue I have with those moments, but its the only thing that I can really say I wish was done differently. Call Me by Your Name is one of those movies where it felt like the level of craftsmanships here is just on another level, and I feel like this movie is going to get a tonne of award nominations, and will probably later in time be one of those movies that are discussed and dissected in film making classes.

Review Score : 9.5 out of 10

Review : Pitch Perfect 3

“Following their win at the world championship, the now separated Bellas reunite for one last singing competition at an overseas USO tour, but face a group who uses both instruments and voices.”

So this movie may be many things, and none of them is amazing, but what this movie does have to offer is entertainment. Now that entertainment may definitely be geared towards people who are already fans of the series, but it’s the third movie, and I can’t really blame them. This movie feels like, it was given less money, and it certainly has less talent directing wise, it has a smaller cast, and its definitely scaled back, but beneath all of that, is a lot of the same funny writing from the movies before. Trish Sie, is a fine and competent director, but she just doesn’t do anything to try and elevate this movie, and maybe there isn’t anything to elevate, but I can only go off what I saw. The singing and dancing of course is back, but this also doesn’t feel as go for broke as the movies before. The one area where I think this movie doesn’t seem pulled back, is in the comedy, and that’s really the thing that saves this movie. Like I said before, a lot of that humor might be directed at fans of the series, but I am a fan of the series, and this movie is very entertaining and has some genuinely funny moments. This movie doesn’t end the pitch perfect series on a high, but I think it does enough to remind us why the previous movies were so well received, and it’s perfect for s night out, where a laugh is the main goal. Fans of the series might like this one a bit more than neutrals, but I think there is entertainment enough here for everyone.

Review Score : 7 out of 10

Review : The Greatest Showman

“Celebrates the birth of show business, and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.”

The Greatest Showman is one of those movies, that if you let it, can really take you on a journey. Hugh Jackman has been a big component of theater and was himself a theater actor. So you know a movie like this is really near and dear to his heart, and I think it shows greatly in his performance here. He truly embodies what it takes to be the type of person it takes to do what P.T Barnum had done. That combination of child like wonder, a passion that boards on obsession, and ability to see what lies beneath. Of course being like that can lead to ups and down and Barnum is not exception as he tries to navigate the restrictive and prudish world of his time. Add to that, a star studded and talented cast, filled with many actually performers, and you have everything you need for a great and wonderful ride. This movies is really visually wonderful, and from the opening frame and number, we get the perfect example of the kind of movie we’re going to get, and the kind we can expect. This movie is a musical, which I thought was obvious, but from the reactions of some of the audience it clearly wasn’t as obvious as I assumed. That being said, this is a musical, and as a musical, it does have a number of musical and dance numbers throughout it. Some are definitely better than others, but over all there is a nice cohesion and feeling to them. They may not be the most memorable songs ever penned, but they do well to fill the scenes they are attached to, and the emotions they are meant to imbue. This movie is like a love letter to the circus and to performing, but in all the best ways (and not like Jenny Lin), and it paints a wonderful picture of the excitement and atmosphere of those shows of the past. All in all, The Greatest Showman, is a movie for people who feel as warmly about the movies subject matter, as the movie does. If you let this movie take you were it wants to take you, you will have a great ride, and a great show.

Review Score : 8.5 out of 10

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