Review : A Quiet Place

“A family is forced to live in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound.”

A Quiet Place not only stars John Krasinki, but is directed by him also as he acts alongside Emily Blunt, and the very talented Regan and Marcus Abbott. It’s seems almost ironic that there is so much to say about a film that has hardly any spoken lines but if any movie right now deserves to be talked about, it’s this one. This movie does so many things right, and honestly, it doesn’t really do anything wrong. When I was in school, I was once given a project to make a short film, that was silent, no sound at all. It’s one of those things designed to teach you about visual storytelling, the main principle of which is, don’t say, show. Taking a concept like that, and ramping it up to the max, A Quiet Place, places most of its storytelling, character development, and emotional evolution in the hands of visual storytelling. It’s uses ambient sound to a masterful degree, while always keeping its eye on colour, framing, and pacing. This movie is a brisk 90 minutes, and that’s because there is not a drop on fat on it, allowing it to not waste a single frame or moment. When you add in the handicap of not having any real verbal or audible exposition, this movie is forced almost to use every inch of screen, to further that story. The cast here is small, really just 4 people, but they are all fantastic, and they are able to deliver a real emotional heft, without nearly a word being uttered. The movie also uses sound and the lack there of when necessary, to keep a level of tension, that is so high strung, for most of this movie you will be unable to look away for fear of missing something. Ever so often, there is s movie like A Quiet Place. Made for only 17 million, already more than clearing its profit targets, while also genuinely delivering a real go to the cinema worthwhile experience. This is a small movie in its scale, but it’s massive in its ambition, and it easily checks every box of film making. All in all, A Quiet Place is a fantastic sci-fi, horror, thriller, amazing ride that hooks you from the first frame, to the last. Movies like this are what people go to the cinema for, and I hope it makes all the money in the world.

Review Score : 9.5 out of 10

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Review : Tomb Raider

“Lara Croft, the fiercely independent daughter of a missing adventurer, must push herself beyond her limits when she finds herself on the island where her father disappeared.”

The 2018 version of this classic, and more recently rebooted video game stars Alicia Vikander this time around and is based much more off of that recent reboot. Bringing a much more stripped back, and a much more down to earth and gritty representation of the Lara Croft character and mythology. Alicia Vikander is an amazing dramatic actor, and she brings a real grounding and gravitas to the character, which I think is a welcome change from the over the top, larger than life aura given off by the Angelina Jolie version of the character. In the same way, this movie as a whole is much more toned down, and brings a lot of that grit and platforming as the newer iterations of the games. I think that’s the real moral of this story, it’s what you expect from a movie like this, just maybe a little bit better. It’s very much your average, run of the mill, mid level action movie, just bumped up slightly by the likes of Vikander and some of the supporting cast. And this really is Vikander’s movie, start to finish, and she does her best to elevate it when and where she can, it’s just wasn’t at her disposal to make this from an average movie, to something greater. All in all, Tomb Raider is probably exactly what you expect it to be, and if you go in with minimal expectations, you can definitely have some fun with it, just don’t expect to be blown away here.

Review Score : 6.5 out of 10

Ranked! Trinidad Cinemas

This list is my definitive list of all the cinemas in Trinidad currently, ranked on their merits, and I will go over all the positives and negatives of each till we get to the cream of the crop. So lets get into it. Each cinema is ranked on a few different things, which then combine to an overall score which gives that cinema its overall ranking.

9) Caribbean Cinemas 8:

Kicking the list off (meaning in last place #sorrynotsorry) is one of the original “New” cinemas to hit the island, but it didn’t take long for it to fall off, in my eyes at least. They’re a few reasons they’re at the bottom of the list, as you will see in the break down, but its something I wish wasn’t so because this cinema had and probably will always have so much potential that it may just never live up to.

Great for: Sending your bad ass kids.

Bad for: Actually enjoying the movie.

Rating breakdown:

Value: 7/10   Food: 4/10   Screen: 5/10   Location: 8/10   Experience: 2/10

Total Score: 5.2 out of 10

8) Movie Towne Chaguanas:

From this point on, this list gets a lot more competitive, and cinemas are separated by much less. Next up we have Movie Towne Chaguanas, which can really feel like the forgotten Movie Towne. It has more or less all the trappings of the other Movie Towne’s, but the overall cinema feels a bit more dated than it should. It does generally run Bollywood movies more often than some other cinemas, so if thats more you’re speed then this should probably rank a little higher for you.

Great for: Taking your outside woman/man.

Bad for: Taking your actual woman/man.

Rating breakdown:

Value: 7.5/10   Food: 6.5/10   Screen: 8/10   Location: 8/10   Experience: 7/10

Total Score: 6.6 out of 10

7) Caribbean Cinemas 10:

Out here repping for what the Caribbean Cinemas experience could and maybe should be is the newer Caribbean Cinemas 10. Boasting a much more state of the art setup, in all facets, while still being able to offer some of the cheapest tickets around, makes CCX a much more compelling place to find yourself. It might be the most “best of both worlds” cinema in this set, so if the price is the biggest deal for you, then this is your place.

Great for: Saving a $40.

Bad for: Seeing the movie on time cause they play like 30 mins of ads.

Rating breakdown:

Value: 9/10   Food: 6.5/10   Screen: 7/10   Location: 7.5/10   Experience: 7/10

Total Score: 7.4 out of 10

6) Movie Towne Tobago:

Can’t forget the sister isle, even if the cinema Gods did for a while. The opening of the Movie Towne Tobago complex was a great addition for any cinema fans that lived on the smaller isle. It does everything you could want from a cineplex, and only it rest above CCX mostly because of the generally superior food of Movie Towne’s, but is also just a bit more comfy.

Great for: Seeing any movie in Tobago.

Bad for: Getting service faster than “Island Pace”.

Rating breakdown:

Value: 7.5/10   Food: 8/10   Screen: 7.5/10   Location: 7/10   Experience: 7/10

Total Score: 7.4 out of 10

5) Digicel Imax:

The only “Imax” certified screen on the Island is a strong boast for the Digicel Imax cinema that finds itself having probably the best screen experience of all the cinemas on this list. They also do have the benefit of running midnight screenings of movies, which is a great welcome when you really want to be the first to see something. There is only 1 screen, but thats just something you have to deal with. This Imax might be higher on the list if some of its other attributes were up to the standards of some of the other cinemas on this list.

Great for: Seeing a movie in 3D when you actually want to see it in 3D.

Bad for: If you like your cinema screens more on the empty side.

Rating breakdown:

Value: 6.5/10   Food: 5/10   Screen: 10/10   Location: 8.5/10   Experience: 7.5/10

Total Score: 7.5 out of 10

4) Movie Towne Invaders Bay:

One of the real OG’s of this list is the original Movie Towne, aka Movie Towne Invaders Bay. Even though this was the original Movie Towne, it more or less got it right from the start. It had higher prices than CC8, but it gave you so many reasons for that added price, that it wasn’t just a higher price, because it gave you so much value. It also had the benefit of being the centre piece of this development, so that things were really designed with the cinema first kind of mentality, that shows in just how little they have had to change things, in order to keep up with he rising competition.

Great for: When you just want to see a movie, and know exactly what you’re going to get.

Bad for: If you like to go to the cinema on a Saturday night because the place is a zoo then.

Rating breakdown:

Value: 7.5/10   Food: 9/10   Screen: 8/10   Location: 8.5/10   Experience: 7/10

Total Score: 8 out of 10

3) Gemstone:

Now we’re getting to the cream of the crop. Gemstone is a new set of premium or vip style screens, which is a newer trend on the island. They pair smaller more intimate screens, with a much more lush and pampered style of experience, boasting probably the best chairs of any cinema on this list. Gemstone offers you motorised leather padded seats, much more personal and leg room, an actual menu of appetisers and snacks to order from, and just a much more refined atmosphere. This would rank number 2 over all if it weren’t for some small differences, that put another set of vip style screens just ahead of it.

Great for: Impressing a girl on a movie date.

Bad for: Your pocket.

Rating breakdown:

Value: 7/10   Food: 9/10   Screen: 8.5/10   Location: 8/10   Experience: 8/10

Total Score : 8.1 out of 10

2) Movie Towne Vip:

Second place officially goes to the Movie Towne Vip set of screens (combined between invaders bay and C3 center). These offer just about everything that Gemstones offers, besting it only in two ways. One, they do have the better food and drink selection, its not like miles bette, but it is better, and they also have some better combos. And secondly, they do manage a bit of a warmer, more relaxing, more inviting experience than gemstone. Gemstone does have the better seats, but MT Vip gives you a blanket, is better staffed, and they have less of a “fancy dentist office” lobby like Gemstone, and more of an “old favourite restaurant where all the staff knows you”, kind of feel. It might seem like a knit pick or a bias, but one had to be 2 and one had to be 3, and I feel like those little differences do make a difference.

Great for: Date night.

Bad for: If you really wished your date night stop was more separated from the main cinema itself.

Rating breakdown:

Value: 7.5/10   Food: 9/10   Screen: 8.5/10   Location: 8/10   Experience: 8.5/10

Total Score: 8.3 out of 10

1) Movie Towne South:

And coming in at number 1, I think this is actually the newest cinema on this list so that must help, but its the latest and greatest from the Movie Towne team, and that’s Movie Towne South. Set as the name implies in the south of the island, this new MT venue gave them the chance and opportunity to really go all out. Set in its own little Hollywood, and fit with all the trimmings for not just a great cinema experience, but just a great night out, MT South really does set the bar currently, for what going to the cinema should be like. With a few different level of movie going experiences on offer, the same great MT food we know and love, plus all the brand new tools and toys to wow us, Movie Towne South truly is the best in cinema going Trinidad and Tobago has to offer, and even if you have to take an hour drive to get there, trust me, it’s worth it.

Great for: Having a great ass time.

Bad for: If you don’t like enjoying life.

Rating breakdown:

Value: 8/10   Food: 9/10   Screen: 9/10   Location: 8/10   Experience: 9/10

Total Score: 8.6 out of 10

So what do you think of my list? Think your favourite cinema should be number one? Comment what you thought, like and share, and feel free to state a case for any cinema you think should be ranked higher or lower here.

Cheers.

 

Review : Red Sparrow

“Ballerina Dominika Egorova is recruited to ‘Sparrow School,’ a Russian intelligence service where she is forced to use her body as a weapon. Her first mission, targeting a C.I.A. agent, threatens to unravel the security of both nations.”

So all the coloured animal name comparisons aside, there is something intriguing about the almost stereotyped role now of the Russian femme fatale, which is exactly what Jennifer Lawrence is meant to be in Red Sparrow. She’s beautiful, she’s sexy, she’s dangerous, all are true, but none are anything we haven’t seen before. The way Red Sparrow seeks to differentiate itself is with the serious nature in which it handles Its subject matter. Sexual coercion, mental manipulation, brutal torture, cold blooded murder, these are all tools of the spy trade, and more so tools for story telling in this movie. They never shy away from going there with characters and they never shy away from showing you it. There is a story here too, and it’s as twisting and turning as you’d expect. This is where Lawrence and her cast mates do their best also, a lot of the acting is very subtle and simply hints at the deeper narratives than being to overt. It does fall victim to one of the biggest tropes used in movies like these, but to be fair, it’s sets it up more competently than many of its counterparts. I think however the ultimate failing of this movie, is that it really lacks memorability. When things happen it’s a nice moment, but they’re aren’t any that you would remember after leaving the cinema really. Even during the movie, there were parts that I had already forgotten happened in this movie, just 30 minutes earlier. So even with the good that there is here, the movie as a whole feels flat, and maybe a bit soulless. This movie also does that thing were it makes its characters outside the main caste feel like amateurs at their jobs, which can be really frustrating. All in all, if you’re a fan of espionage thrillers, there is enjoyment to be found in Red Sparrow, but if your just looking for a movie to catch for the evening, you might want something a little more fun.

Review Score : 6.5 out of 10

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 : Maze Runner – The Death Cure

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“Young hero Thomas embarks on a mission to find a cure for a deadly disease known as the “Flare”.”

So The Death Cure is the third and final movie in the Maze Runner trilogy, and you know what, I think this movie deserves a lot of credit, a lot more than I think its likely to get. For a while there, there was a real glut of YA, dystopian future movies on the market, and one of those franchises was The Maze Runner. If you pardon my pun, on paper, the maze runner might have been the franchise with the lowest ceiling, in that I think it had the smallest fanbase, and least hype, but from that situation, I think we’ve gotten the most consistent, even if not the best, of these franchises. Over the past three movies, these movies have managed to keep on track I think the most, and they were able to stay on target better than those other franchises, and most of all, it let this series finish strongly. The Death Cure sees the return of the entire cast here, and it picks up a little while after the second movie ended, and from the start it really does get to it. Another thing this movie really deserves a lot of credit for, is its world building, and its visual effects. Lets not forget, this movie has a $62 million dollar budget, which is half of the budget of some of the movies it was made to compete against, and from visual effects, to practical effects, to just simply make-up effects, this movie really does look amazing. There is also a lot of really good acting in here. This cast does have some very good dramatic actors, and they are given their moments to really act, and it comes across really well. Even the typical love triangle stuff we’ve grown to get used to, is done I think here, as good as it could have been done I think. They give those emotional moments just the right amount of time, and the right amount of dramatic purpose that allow them enough time to work, but not enough to get over done. This movie is maybe 2 years later than it should have been, because of the really unfortunate accident involving Dylan O’Brien on set, and I’m sure that might drop its box office total a bit, but I think this movie is worth being the finale of this series. All in all, I think The Death Cure is a really solid stand alone movie, and is even a bit better when you consider how strongly it ends this trilogy, especially compared to some others. It gives the main cast here I think also a really nice send off onto their next projects. Just had to let it be said also, I am 100% team Brenda. I do have a huge crush on Rosa Salazar, but that aside, just her character alone would be enough to make me team Brenda, but I must say, I do get why Teresa made the decisions she made, so for once it isn’t one of those ridiculous kinds of love triangles, and another thing I really just needed to shout out about this movie.

Review Score : 7.5 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