Review: Ocean’s 8

“Debbie Ocean gathers an all-female crew to attempt an impossible heist at New York City’s yearly Met Gala.”

The biggest problem with this movie, is that it isn’t the original. Now I know what you’re saying, “but stef, the most recent oceans movie is a remake”, and you’re right, the problem is, it’s a remake of a terrible movie and thus made itself the de facto original. I’m definitely getting ahead of myself though, let me start over. Ocean’s 8, is for all intents and purposes, a sequel or a continuation of the recent Ocean’s franchise, if maybe at a tangent. To start with, this movie does everything those movies did, except not as good, and well, not as originally. We get the same first third of character introductions, followed by the heist, the antics, and the escape. That in itself would be enjoyable enough, but the movie tries to take things up a notch, but all it does is make everything seem way too easy, and way too convenient. This has less characters, but somehow less character development than those movies, it has a great heist, but no stakes, and there is no real antagonist here. If anyone is wondering, there is a reason for this team being all women, even if it’s delivered in a single throw away line, and the team do all seem very capable and good at what they do. The issue is, we’ve seen it all before, and we’ve seen it better. There are some nice twists and turns, but you never feel like things could fail, and you need those stakes to care. This movie is also too long, and it might not literally be too long, but it feels too long, and that’s not a good thing. There definitely is no shortage of acting talent here, and everyone really does embody their roles and their individual quirks (even if some seem like straight carbon copies from the last films), but to me, the real stand out here is Anne Hathaway. She is given the PERFECT role, and just hits it out of the park and I think will be what most people remember this movie for. All in all, Ocean’s 8s biggest flaw, is that it’s the 4th movie in this franchise, and not the first. That being said, they knew it was the 4th, and they knew a lot of people were ready to write this movie off from the jump due to its all female cast, and it’s a real shame that I can’t recommend this movie higher, because individually all the parts are here, in some form or the other.

Review Score: 5.5 out of 10


Review : Solo – A Star Wars Story

“During an adventure into the criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his future copilot Chewbacca and encounters Lando Calrissian years before joining the Rebellion.”

Solo, a Star Wars story, brings us the first of the real plan by Disney to expand the Star Wars universe they acquired not long ago. It tells the backstory of one of the series’s most popular and important characters, Han Solo, and to and extent, his copilot Chewbacca and the millennium falcon. There was a lot of debate before this movie even came out, about wether it should have even been made. To many people, the mechanisms by which Han became who he did by the time we see him in a New Hope, are things that would only be ruined by showing us an exact backstory, while others thought it would be great to see what makes a man shoot first. I’m somewhere in the middle, I don’t mind seeing a well told story in this universe, but if I had to choose whose, I’d have likely chosen a different character first. That left me as going into this movie with reasonable expectations, and they were mostly met, but this movie should be better than that. We kind of have high stakes I guess, we kind of have a villain….I guess, and we definitely see the reasons for Han being Han (wether you wanted to know or not). That kind of leaves this movie in the middle for me, nothing really stands out. It’s all finely done and all that, but nothing really jumps out. There’s maybe one wow moment, but that’s also if you know what you’re looking for, the rest of it really does seem very tame. This of course is exactly the worry fans had after the Disney acquisition, and this movie seems almost as proof of this. This movie could be any space centric sci-fi movie, it just happens to have Star Wars characters in it, and even then, some people will never be satisfied with their portrayal by newer actors. I think Han and Lando come off really well in their respective portrayals, and there are definitely moments when I fully SEE Han in Ehrenreich’s performance, but without the rest of the Star Wars world and knowledge I already know and have, if you swapped these characters out, I don’t think anyone would know this was Star Wars really. All in all, Solo is a fun movie, especially for younger viewers, but I feel like real Star Wars fans will be left wanting after, and I hope that’s not how it’s going to be going forward.

Review Score: 6 out of 10

Review : Deadpool 2

“Foul-mouthed mutant mercenary Wade Wilson (AKA. Deadpool), brings together a team of fellow mutant rogues to protect a young boy of supernatural abilities from the brutal, time-traveling mutant, Cable.”

The original Deadpool movie was real game changer. For the first time we got a hard R, 4th wall breaking, violent, funny, pop culture referencing, totally unapologetic movie, the likes of which we hadn’t seen before. The problem with being a game changer, is it is really hard to do that twice, and that the real story of Deadpool 2. This movie is every bit as bloody, full of swears, action packed, and somehow maybe even funnier than the first, but it can’t recreate than never been done kind of feel the first had. It seems almost like a harsh criticism, but this movie would be a better than the first, if the first didn’t exist. Everything here is done up, there’s s bigger budget, they’re more characters, more of just about everything, plus some unexpected heart. The only thing this movie doesn’t have is that now we’ve seen it before. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this isn’t a good movie, or that it isn’t super enjoyable and entertaining and all that, I’m just saying that it sits a bit below the first one, but only for those reasons. We get a bigger plot this time, and with the origin out of the way, we get to spend an entire movie basically, with the merc with a mouth. This movie is also really surprisingly good at hitting you in the feels, and really not under cutting the emotional moments with needless humor, especially as there is already so much of that humor through out, those touching moments can really breathe and they come off super sincere. In many ways, Deadpool 2 is more commercial than the first, and that might not be hardcore fans biggest wish, but it makes this movie much more accessible, and while I won’t go so far as to say it dumbs down the material, there is just that bit of the shock and flair of the original, that’s not here.

Review Score : 8 out of 10

Review : Avengers – Infinity War


“The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.”

To start with, straight off the top, this isn’t going to be full of spoilers or anything, so feel free to read this before you go if you like. That being said, WOW. You know I’m still trying to decide as I write this, if I think this is the best of the MCU movies, but I do know for sure it’s the most important. This movie shows what can be done, when you have something as vast and well done as the MCU, because thats the only way a movie like this could have ever been done. Without 10 years of build up, and brick laying, this movie could literally not exist, and that in itself I think is what makes this movie the most important. I think also maybe for that fact alone, anyone and everyone who’s a fan of this universe, should see this movie, just to see what can be done when a universe like this is allowed to build up the way the MCU has been allowed to for literally 10 years now. To the actual review now though. This movie is a lot, and I mean that in many ways. There’s so much to this story, that it literally doesn’t all, and couldn’t all, come from this movie, and in many ways that a strength and weakness of this movie. On one hand, it makes it less accessible for more casual fans, but it also shows like I said before, of how much of a win just being able to make a movie like this is. This movie also has so many characters, that it is literally impossible, for all of them to get enough screen time, and you could see that in the writing, because they really had to saddle a lot of storylines together, and characters together. This means that for a lot fo this movie, we get pockets of teams working towards the end of the narrative. It has to be said though, this genuinely is Thanos’s movie. He is the main character, and he gets the most time and development, but if we’re being honest, he needed it the most, if we were going to get what truly should have been the greatest villain the MCU has ever seen. And I do think he is the best villain thus far. We get all of his motivation, we see where he came from and how he became the mad titan, and we truly get the sense of almost impending fate that his will not only would be done, but had to be done. This movie though is also a perfect example of why so many of the MCU villains before to date haven’t been able to impress as much, as you can see just how much time and development a character like that really needs to be so effective. This movie is also a little light on story if I’m being honest, but its a two edged sword. On the one hand, it allows for the movie to keep its pace up, add a lot of great action, and be as simple and easy to get into as it could possibly be. If I had to describe this movie in one word, it would be “Spectacle”. This is such a grand movie, on all scales, and it really does, at least broadly, hit all the nails on their heads. I’ve written all this, and I’m still not sure if this is or isn’t the best the MCU has to offer. On one hand, it definitely is because of what this movie is actually able to accomplish, but on the other hand, being such a massive spectacle does mean this movie has to sacrifice some things in other to keep this giant ball rolling. All in all, so much can be said about this movie, but the most important of them might be, that this movie was more or less everything I wanted it from it, and baring some small caveats, there really isn’t much missing from this.

Review Score : 9 out of 10

PS – There is definitely an after credit scene here, but like a legit one, not the mid credit ones we get also, so stay back for that, and its one of the best end credits yet.

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

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.