fbpx

Category: Reviews

Read the latest movie reviews.

Reviews

Review: 7 Reasons to Run Away (From Society)

September 16, 2019

An unwanted son, a businessman and a groom walk on-set… It sounds like the beginning of a joke but it couldn’t be any further from the truth. They’re all part of a dysfunctional society created by directors Gerard Quinto (“Interior. Family”, “Fotógrafo”), Esteve Soler (“Interior. Family”) and David Torras (“Interior. Family”). The three directors already worked on the same project and decided to come together for one more and we’re incredibly lucky they did. Their newest collaboration turns out to be a stunning, bizarre (but in a good way), amusing and one-of-a-kind film.

A society like no other

Think that your parents are crazy, annoying and unfair? Well, pretty sure that the ‘Family’ chapter of “7 Reasons to Run Away (from Society)” will change your mind. “El fill” (Pol Lópe) is being verbally abused by his parents and gets to know terrible things about his life: He was an unwanted child, got sexually abused by his grandfather and he’s nothing but a failure in his parents’ eyes. How will he cope with confessions about his ‘lovely’ family? From one psychologically disturbed family to an old couple who are spending their days watching television. There seems nothing on the TV, apart from programs about solidarity (yes, that’s the name of the second chapter of this film) and charities. However, one stranger from an unexpected place is changing the wife (Vicky Peña) and her husband’s (Ramon Fontserè) ordinary evening into an extraordinary one.

They’re not the only ones whose lives are about to change but also for ‘The Wife’ (Emma Suárez) is something about to happen. While we learned to count numbers from primary school, it seems that that wasn’t the case for her. After being awake by a mystery man (Sergi López) who asks her what comes after six, she becomes paralysed by the thought of which number that could be. She’s been living on the sixth floor herself and the floor above her seems scary, dark and hellish. What will the worried, anxious and scared ‘The Wife’ find when she heads upstairs? A black hole, the Devil or just… nothing? She might or she might not have to face death but who certainly has to do that is ‘The Woman’ (Àgata Roca) in the fourth chapter called ‘Property’. While looking for a fitting property, she’s being told that multiple suicides have taken place in the apartment she’s looking at. Most of us would run away as far away as possible from that place but she doesn’t. She gets intrigued and stays for the entire viewing. Will she buy it or not?

The story continues

We’re halfway through the film and things get even crazier than they were before. In ‘Work’, we’re being confronted again with inequalities. ‘The Wife’ (Lola Dueñas) has everything she could ever wish for (glamorous clothing, a loving husband, a fancy property) but still, she’s feeling incredibly unhappy. There’s the need for more exuberant things. If you think that the story is about a rich woman wanting more than she already has, well, you couldn’t be more wrong. After hearing a loud noise from her basement, she opens the door to see what’s going on. What will she find and what does it have to do with work?

It’s clear the directors are intrigued by death and dying and that’s why they invented the sixth of “7 Reasons to Run Away (from Society)”. In ‘Progress’, they tell the story of a man (Borja Espinosa) who’s on the verge of dying but who can still be saved by the woman (Aina Clotet) who found him bleeding next to the road. He’s on the journey from life to death but how far will things progress? Will he see light at the end of the tunnel or will the light go out right before his eyes? From death to a wedding, it’s only a small step in this film. A bride (Núria Gago) and a groom (David Verdaguer) are about to say their vowels to each other in front of the church and their friends and family when doubt is filling their minds. After stepping aside to talk about their feelings, future, and commitment to each other, they made a decision. Will we hear the wedding bells ring after all?

Every chapter has a unique story to tell

Remember The Ballad of Buster Scruggs from the acclaimed directors Ethan Coen and Joel Coen? Well, 7 Reasons to Run Away (from Society) is just like that but this time all the craziness is taking place in a (modern) crazy society instead of the Old West. Whether it’s that elderly couple in their small home, the happy bride and groom in the wedding church or the lonely woman in a shambolic apartment, every short film has a unique story to tell. You can see this movie as seven shorter ones without making the connection between them but there’s something that connects them: They’re all about a dark, troubled and mysterious society.

Darkness and greatness rule

Don’t expect too much colour in 7 Reasons to Run Away (from Society). There’s a obscure side to every story and that comes with black, gloomy and shady colours. When we think about a socially impaired society we might think about murder, death and a lot of action and while we get some of that in this film, it’s mostly about the witty, clever and funny conversations between the characters. Conversations that are brought perfectly by the great cast!

An entertaining, peculiar and psychedelic movie

After premiering at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival earlier this year and making stops in Spain during the Málaga Film Festival and South Korea for the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival, 7 Reasons to Run Away (from Society) is now coming to London for its UK premiere. While you probably don’t want to be part of the film’s broken society, hearing and seeing all the odd stories will be an absolute eclectic, unique and psychedelic thrill. You can watch “7 Reasons to Run Away (from Society)” during the Raindance Film Festival on Thursday 26th of September and Friday 27th of September.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

This review was written as part of the Raindance Film Festival 2019

7 Reasons To Run Away (From Society) – Official Trailer

Also Read: “A Million Little Pieces” Review

Reviews

Review: IT: Chapter Two

September 11, 2019
IT Chapter 2

Some collect them, some don’t want to be near them. Some love them and some are trying to stay away from them as far away as possible. But what is “them”? Clowns, of course. Depending on which category you find yourself in, you’ll either love the news we’re about to give you or you will run away instantly: Pennywise is back! After success with “IT” in 2017, director Andy Muschietti (“Mama”, “IT”) thought that there was still a lot of Pennywise’s spirit left in the Stephen King novel. The result? IT: Chapter Two, a dark, spooky and visually stunning film, lead by the impeccable Bill Skarsgård.

Welcome home, losers

Are you a newbie when it comes to “IT” and the horrifying Pennywise? Well, allow us to bring you up-to-speed. Meet the group of ‘losers’, a group of bullied children who became close friends through their youth. After being confronted with the death of young children, the losers tried to find the man who’s behind all the gruesome events. Little did they know that this “man” was Pennywise, a frightening clown. The friends decided to take control and to get rid of it once and for all. Convinced that they succeeded in that, their worst nightmare is now becoming reality: Pennywise is still alive and ready to spread fear and destruction again. “IT: Chapter Two” was born!

A class reunion should be fun and relaxing but it’s everything but for the grown-up losers. Beverly Marsh (Jessica Chastain), Bill Denbrough (James McAvoy), Richie Tozier (Bill Hader), Ben Hanscom (Jay Ryan) and Eddie Kaspbrak (James Ransone) get together after a disturbing call from friend and fellow loser Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa) to finish what they start 27 years ago: Kill Pennywise who’s causing dead and carnage in their town Derry. To succeed in that, the losers need to stick together again but when confronted with loss, terror and horrendous memories from the past, this might not be as easy as they thought. Will gruesome events, angst, and panic take over their lives too much or will Pennywise be defeated for good?

Give the casting director an Academy Award!

Normally we would keep the ‘acting performances’ bit for further in a review but due to Bill Skarsgård (“Atomic Blonde”, “Deadpool 2”) marvellous performance as Pennywise, we’re forced to start with it this time. We don’t only see him being astonishing underneath all the makeup but we also see a few fascinating glimpses of him as a person. Doesn’t matter if it’s as Pennywise or just as a mad man, Skarsgård stays into character the whole time. If there would be a category for Best Casting Director in the Academy Award, then casting director Rich Delia wouldn’t only be nominated but he would also be crowned as the winner. He wasn’t only able to choose the right actors for their performances but also for the impeccable resemblance with their younger-selves. Especially Hader (“Barry”, “Saturday Night Live”) and Finn Wolfhard (“The Goldfinch”, “Dog Days”) who are both funny, witty but also serious and clever as Richie. Just like him, every ‘loser’ puts on an entertaining, exciting and on-point performance. Even Stephen King makes a wonderful cameo as the shopkeeper who’s selling Bill’s old bicycle. We also want to congratulate the editing team for making such perfectly timed scenes in which the young losers and the adult ones are being crossed-over in an excellent way.

A chapter divided into two

While watching a horror film, you expect scare jumps, thrilling and dark scenes and mysterious moments. Luckily, there are many occasions like that present in IT: Chapter Two. Although you have to wait quite a while to see those. The very first scene is certainly one that fits in this type of film: bloody, violent and Pennywise. For a long time after that, the movie is more a thriller (which is not a bad thing) than horror. Still, the intimidating and electrifying scenes will keep you on your toes until the real horror sets in. The first part of the film feels like a coherent one while sadly the second part feels more like six shorts films in one movie that lead to an apocalypse.

Just like the balloon of Pennywise, the red colour is very present during this film. Whether it’s as blood, as a representation of the approaching enemy or as the typical eyes of the feared clown, it’s visible in most of the scenes. Combine this with a darker and shady intensity and you get the perfect vibe for a horror film. IT: Chapter Two isn’t only gloom and doom but there are also some colourful and exciting scenes… in which evil is lurking around the corner. One negative element of this movie is the quality of the GCI. More towards the end the quality decreased a lot which gives just a very sloppy, rushed and unfinished vibe to the film. Fortunate for us is the score what it needs to be: bombastic, creepy and over-the-top sometimes.

Almost perfect

IT: Chapter Two is not perfect due to the clumsy special effects, the hasty ending and the almost three hours running time. It’s a phenomenal thing then that the astonishing casting, the strong acting performances (with the one from Bill Skarsgård as the front-runner), the skillfully made cinematography and the grandiose music make up for that.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

IT: Chapter 2 – Official Trailer (Warner Bros)

Also Read: IT – A Recap

Reviews

Review: A Million Little Pieces

September 3, 2019
A Million Little Pieces

Whether it’s drugs, alcohol or gambling, having to deal with an addiction is hard as hell, both mentally and psychically. It doesn’t only affect you but also the people around you. Normally you don’t want to get your loved ones involved in the battle against addiction but director Sam Taylor-Johnson (“Nowhere Boy”, “Love You More”) thought otherwise. Or at least when it comes to the booze and drugs addiction in her latest film. Together with husband Aaron Taylor-Johnson (“Outlaw King”, “Avengers: Age of Ultron”), she brings the story (half memoir-half fiction) of James Frey to life. A story about addiction, troubled life and the possibility to change can only result in an emotional and heartbreaking film. Sadly, this movie didn’t leave us in a million little pieces afterwards.

When addiction ruins your life

Before the movie takes a very dark turn, it starts in a lively way: James (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is having a party with the usual loud music and the necessary drugs and drinks. Sadly, the celebration ends up abruptly. After a terrible accident and an even worse flight to Chicago, James is entering a rehabilitation clinic. Not of his own free will but because he’s being pressured by his brother Bob (Charlie Hunnam). The withdrawal symptoms set in rapidly and James tries to do everything to escape the clinic as soon as possible. However, after seeing fellow addicts during their worst times, he decides to go for it.

Thanks to spending more and more time in the clinic, things are getting better for him. Of course, there are the usual ups and downs but with the support from others and even from his new love Lilly (Odessa Young), he seems to have found the right path. However, one moment of weakness can change things in a heartbeat, especially when Lilly is reaching an incredibly low point. Will the love between her and James survive or will the addiction take back the upper hand over their lives with possibly catastrophic consequences?

Predictability is never good

“A Million Little Pieces” is surely different than Taylor-Johnson’s “Fifty Shades of Grey” but sadly the script of also this film lacks uniqueness, personality, and originality, just like that one about the kinky adventures of Mr. Grey. We all know that booze and pills are disastrous for your health especially when they lead to an addiction and that every passing by a pub, bar or grocery store can be the trigger of an unwanted relapse. Yes, we’re aware that “A Million Little Pieces” is an adaption of the same-named book but it certainly wouldn’t have hurt if there was a fresh take on the story or a one-of-a-kind point-of-view.

Great performances but lack of depth

While the story itself lacks some balls, the performances certainly don’t, especially the one from Aaron Taylor-Johnson. The anxiety, the confusion, and stubbornness but also the capability of loving, caring and giving friendship of his character are beautifully and emotionally brought to life by him. He would have been even more impressive if his character had a more in-depth background story. That’s true for every character in this film. The rehabilitation sessions are all about sharing your fears and stories and so then why do we know so little about the people in this movie?

She only joins this film from toward the middle but Young (“Assassination Nation”, “High Life”) makes a splendid entrance as Lilly, a young woman who’s lost but who’s kept alive by the love for and from others. In a more supporting role, we see Charlie Hunnam (“Papillon”, “Sons of Anarchy”) and while he doesn’t make a lasting impression, he’s still very convincing as the loving and supportive big brother.

Music and cinematography keep it alive

During the party scene, that very first scene, you don’t only get a glimpse of the acting capabilities of Taylor-Johnson but also of the gorgeous visual and the perfectly chosen music. Whether it’s an experimental (and even almost dreamy) sequence or a very serious one about fears and addictions, the incredible fitting cinematography (light versus dark, lively versus sombre) and the music (upbeat versus subtle, popular versus classical) keep the scenes alive. Alongside the performance of Taylor-Johnson of course.

Not great but certainly not bad

The story itself lacks personality and creativity and the characters aren’t as strong as they could have been but the technicality, the music, the performances and the “will he give in to his addiction or not” question keep you in your seat during the entire film.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

A Million Little Pieces (Official Trailer)

Also Read: Five Great Films ABout Filmmaking

Reviews

Review: Hail Satan?

August 28, 2019
Hail Satan? Movie Banner

Evil One. Beelzebub. Lucifer. Satan is known by its many names. A lot of people see him as the devil, the dark side of religion or just an abomination. His followers are being described as “freaky”, “peculiar” or “losers”. Well, those prejudices might be about to change thanks to “Hail Satan?” from director Penny Lane (yes, her parents probably had a great taste in music). With her fifth feature, she (“Nuts!”, “Our Nixon”) shows us in a funny, clever and unique way that the worshippers of Satan aren’t as “evil”, “stupid”, or “awful” as people think.

Welcome to The Satanic Temple

Meet Lucien Greaves. The brains and co-founder behind The Satanic Temple. The what? The Satanic Temple! It all started in 2013 as a group of friends who wanted to show that in America, there’s a lot of misplaced belief in the fact that Christianity is the only true religion and that others religions have no place in the USA whatsoever. The goal: To end the authority of Christianity and to strive for a separation of church and state.  They also want equal representation of multiple religions. Their ultimate way to show that is to place a statue of Baphomet, who represent their belief, next to the statue of the first ten amendments on the capitol grounds.

While black is their colour, the intentions are everything but dark. Sadly, the actions of the Satanist cause a lot of controversies, especially in America. People start questioning whether The Satanic Temple is just a hoax, whether there’s a place for them in society or whether their aims are real. Despite all the hatred from others, The Satanic Temple keeps on fighting for what they believe in: free will, democracy, and diversity. Will they succeed in that and will their Baphomet rise from the ground or will the conservative Americans send the Devil back to hell?

You’ve got to fight for your right!

You’ve probably already noticed. “Hail Satan?” isn’t about the worship of Satan but about American democracy. If democracy stands for the equality between people, then why can one religion (Christianity) publicly express itself in every way possible and why can’t other (maybe underground and not so well-known) religions do the same?

This documentary isn’t only about the Satanists trying to put their Baphomet statue up or to prove that things can and need to change. They also want to make sure that people got the individual right to form their opinion about crucial topics such as abortion, education and the society in general without being questioned, laughed at or punished for. Image how bleak the world would look like if we would all dress, act and think in the same way?

Diversity is key

Not only the people from The Satanic Temple, their values or backgrounds are immensely divers but also the footage that is used in “Hail Satan?” couldn’t be more diversified. It goes from very intimate shot videos by the members of The Satanic Temple to children’s cartoons and from snippets from older movies to news footage. They have all a few things in common (apart from the topic): They bring a lot of humour, wittiness, and cleverness to this film. If you question the American authority then you better do it with tons of banter and sarcasm.

Hail Satan? Hell yeah!

No, we’re certainly not going to join The Satanic Temple ourselves but we do get why other people do it. Their darker side is brighter than we initially thought. Thanks to Lane her “Hail Satan?” we know now that Satanists want equality, justice, and diversity between all the people and religions. This documentary will stick with you because of its unique topic, the humour, the personal and up-close stories and the clever use of extraordinary footage. We say “Hell Yeah” to “Hail Satan?” and you probably will do the same.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Hail Satan? (Official Trailer)

Also Read: 5 Documentaries To Watch On Netflix

Reviews

Review: Angel Has Fallen

August 25, 2019

We witnessed how Olympus fell in 2013 and in 2016 London was under attack in “London Has Fallen”. We’re now three years later and so what could fall in 2019? Well, it seems that this time it’s the Angel (a.k.a. the protector of the politicians) himself. Director Ric Roman Waugh (“Snitch”, “Felon”) his “Angel Has Fallen” might be the most unnecessary “fallen” film but luckily for us, it doesn’t fall flat.

Welcome back, Mike Banning!

Let’s bring you up to speed as fast as the actions scenes in this movie just in case you haven’t seen the previous two films. Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is the arch-angel and protector of high profiled politicians. In “Olympus Has Fallen”, he had to rescue the former president from kidnappers and in the second instalment, he needed to stop the assassination of the world leaders.

What is it this time? It’s a mix of both. During a trip of president Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), who’s escorted by Banning and his team, an assassination is carried out on Trumbull. The aftermatch of this drone attack: eighteen men killed and both the President and Banning have slipped into a coma. After waking up, Banning’s life is about to change forever. Because he’s the only survivor of the attack and because his hair and skin cells were found on the device that was used, he’s being charged for the attempted assassination of the President.

Banning knows that he’s being framed and wants to prove his innocence. Sadly, this means that he has to leave his wife Leah (Piper Perabo) and their little daughter behind for all their sakes. Banning’s trying to uncover the real threat but at the same time, his agency and the FBI are doing everything they can to nail him down. Will he be able to expose who’s behind the attack or will he be the one who takes the fall?

While their cat-and-mouse game is in full swing, the president is still in a coma and so Vice President Kirby (Tim Blake Nelson) has to step in. However, this leads to hard political allegations and the leak of secret information. It goes from bad to worse when there are rumours of corruption. Which impact will this have on the political landscape and will president Trumbull come out of his coma or not?

Does there need to be more action?

No, absolutely not! If you’re looking for an explosive and fast-paced film, then you should watch “Angel Has Fallen”. The action is present right from the beginning. Banning is his usual self during his active operation: Quick, handy with a gun and ready to kill. That’s just the start of all the stunning action. One of the people you have to thank for that is director/co-writer Ric Roman Waugh. As former stunt man, he knows what’s like to be in the heat of the moment. From drones flying around your ears to multiple shoot-outs with loads of casualties and from extremely “fire-y” explosions to car chases. “Angel Has Fallen” is just packed with entertaining and intense action scenes.

Because one unit wasn’t enough to handle all the action, director Waugh decided to work with Vic Armstrong as his Second Unit Director. Together they made sure that every explosion and every bullet is being captured on screen from as many angles as possible. Whether it’s via steady-cams, handheld camera’s or tracking camera’s, you name it, they use it. While there are a few scenes that are being ruined by the rapidly moving camera (such as the training exercise and nightly ambush scene) or bad CGI effects, the audience is just being immersed into the heart of the action.

Up-close and personal

Both “Olympus Has Fallen” and “London Has Fallen” were about Gerald Butler in action, big explosions, and long and thrilling car rides and less about intimacy and the up-close stories. We’re not saying that this isn’t the case anymore in this movie (Butler has still plenty of screen time to show us his shooting, fighting, and combat skills) but in “Angel Has Fallen”, there’s also room for emotions and very personal moments. However, Waugh does what neither Antoine Fuqua (“Olympus Has Fallen”) nor Babak Najafi (“London Has Fallen”) could accomplish: Making this film about brutality and vulnerability

If you want to achieve that duality, you need to have a cast who can pull it off exactly how you want it. Ok yes, the characters are as predictable as the film itself but that doesn’t mean they’re badly portrayed on the screen. While sometimes overplaying Mike during the action scenes and underplaying him during the more emotional ones, Butler (“Hunter Killer”) still puts on a solid performance. Especially from the moment he comes face-to-face with his on-screen father Clay (played fabulously by Nick Nolte). Humour is making its way into the movie and there’s that personal connection we were looking for. Butler deserves some credits for those scenes but it’s especially Nolte (“Warrior”, “Affliction”) who rocks the screen as the estranged dad. Don’t get us started on that explosive scene right in the middle of the woods.

The director wanted to give this movie also a female touch when hiring Piper Perabo (“Black Butterfly”). With the most emotional ones, Perabo needs to be moving, gripping but also strong and that’s exactly what she’s as Banning’s wife. Starting as just the politician Trumbull in the first film to becoming Vice president in the second one, Morgan Freeman (“Million Dollar Baby”) is back and this time he takes on the role as president. “Angel has fallen” might be the movie in which he has the least dialogue. However, when he has some lines, he makes you listen as no one else can.

They get back up from a strong supporting cast which includes Jada Pinkett Smith (“Girls Trip”) as the secretive but righteous BFI agent Thompson, Lance Reddick (“John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum”) as Secret Service Director David Gentry who put his country before himself and Tim Blake Nelson (“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”) as Vice President Kirby who does everything to gain power.

The end of the franchise is near

After the unsuccessful previous “fallen” films, you’re probably wondering why they made the third one as it would be unnecessary. However, “Angel Has Fallen” has proven to be the best film out of the three. With the new director behind the wheel, a predictable but more balanced (thrilling action versus emotions) storyline, humouristic moments and still some convincing acting performance, the trilogy ends on a high.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Angel Has Fallen (Official Trailer)

Also Read: The Internet picks the #BestMovieLineEver

Reviews

Review: Ibiza: The Silent Movie

August 22, 2019

Ibiza. The ultimate paradise for everyone who wants to escape their daily lives by partying, drinking and having a great time. The cocktails in every colour of the rainbow, the dreamy beach, the heating sun, and the pumping beats will make you forget your ordinary world for a while. But is Ibiza indeed the Walhalla for the party people and luxury holiday seekers? Well, director Julien Temple (“My Life Story”, “Depeche Mode: Video Singles Collection”) tries to give you an answer to that question. Sadly, “Ibiza: The Silent Movie” provides you with more questions than answers and gives you a hangover feeling at the same time.

Welcome to Ibiza!

Sunny beaches, ecstatic people dressed in fewer clothes as possible, luxury yachts and private planes. This might be the most common idea of Ibiza. It seems that according to the beginning of this film, that idea is just pure reality. However, it doesn’t take long before Temple will try to convince us otherwise. Everything you know about Ibiza might not be so true at all and “Ibiza: The Silent Movie” will prove that to you. Opening with the start of Ibiza after continents Africa and Europe came together to the first inhabitants called the Phoenicians. They named the island after their God of the dance, Bes (English translation: Ibiza).

The first few minutes of this movie cover thousands of years of “history” and it gives you a pretty good idea of how this film will develop. Divided into different smaller chapters, each about a unique topic. Every chapter is filled with (fake) historic facts, old footage and more recent videos about the party people of Ibiza. Just like the pictures used in this film, the chapters are immensely diverse:  From the possibility of a UFO on Ibiza, to the World War Two, to the Spanish Civil War and to the rise of the vibrant clubs. While watching “Ibiza: The Silent Movie”, you’ll get to see Ibiza in its entire form. Now you just have to find out what’s real and what’s not.

Real or not real? That’s the question

That “real or fake” element is what makes from “Ibiza: The Silent Movie” both an interesting as well as an immensely complicated film. Because of the fact it doesn’t matter what happened and what did not (it’s for the audience to figure this out after all), it feels like director Temple and his team just threw everything together what they could find or create about Ibiza. Images, videos and (fake) historic facts, it’s all there. There might be some storyline (due to the usage of time indications) in “Ibiza: The Silent Movie” but the film often feels like an extremely long music video. This is not unexpected as Temple is known for his music video for bands such as Babyshambles, Scissor Sisters, and Blur. However, this time it’s a video that consists of incoherent and randomly chosen footage.

A silent movie? Don’t think so

With “Ibiza: The Silent Movie”, the filmmakers want to go back to the roots of film by using almost no spoken words (apart from the very brief interviews with the residents). Sadly, that homage is being washed away by the Mediterranean Sea. The written words, which have to replace the spoken ones, don’t make sense at all and the usage of modern emotions is just totally out of place and incredibly unnecessary.

Perfect but predictable soundtrack

You might start to wonder if “Ibiza: The Silent Movie” has nothing good to offer. No worries, it has. The music is the most positive element from this movie. Ok yes, surely some might say that the soundtrack is predictable but hey, the makers just want to use the most famous, fitting and upbeat songs that you can hear during every party in Ibiza. Whether it’s dance music, pop, house or techno. Honestly, it’s a big relief to hear other music once in a while as well in this movie such as rock, blues, and hip-hop. If you just listen to this film without watching it, you can have an amazing party on your own. Just grab a beer, put your headphones and you’re ready to go!

A trip to Ibiza we want to relive?

“Whoah! We’re going to Ibiza. Whoah! Back to the island. Whoah! We’re gonna have a party”. Seems Vengaboys were always up for a holiday in Ibiza. Not sure if we are tough. If we would decide to go back to pleasure island, then we hope that we’re going to have a better time than we had while watching this film. “Ibiza: The Silent Movie” might not have been our taste but if you want to see an eclectic film with loads of sunshine, upbeat music, and beautiful people, then this is a stunning movie for you.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

Ibiza – The Silent Movie (Official Trailer)

Ibiza: The Silent Movie” is available on BBC iPlayer until the 1st September 2019.

Also Read: Review: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Reviews

Review: Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood

August 18, 2019

21st of May this year. La Croisette in Cannes became 1960’s Hollywood. Director Quentin Tarantino walked the most famous stairs alongside the “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” stars Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie for the world premiere of his ninth film. Sadly, we weren’t with them to enjoy the glitter, glamour and the film at Cannes but our patience is finally being rewarded. And oh boy, the wait was worth it! “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” is probably more Tarantino-esque than the director probably could have imagined!

Howdy Cowboy?!

Brad Pitt being Leonard DiCaprio’s stunt double? It seems that in the 60’s everything was possible. Meet Rick Dalton (DiCaprio), a once very well respected television cowboy, whose career is now spiralling downward at a rapid speed. After gaining worldwide fame with the Western television series ‘Bounty Law’, Dalton is now becoming one of the oldies on his way to his showbiz grave. Being there to help him out with his professional and personal life is his stunt double/close friend/personal driver Cliff Booth (Pitt). While Dalton is constantly being reminded of the glamourous life he once had, his new next-door neighbour Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) is dreaming of her glorious upcoming acting career. In the city where it’s all about fame, status and being rich, both Dalton and Tate are doing everything they can to keep their fantasy alive. For Tate that means getting to know rich and famous, for Dalton it means going to Italy and making movies that are out of his comfort zone. Of course, as any good friend, Booth is joining Dalton during his Italian voyage.

Six months after they first set foot in Italy, Dalton and Booth return to Hollywood. Dalton got married to actress Francesca and his outstanding life is back on tracks. Booth starts again living his usual Hollywood life. Enjoying the city and its people, the time with his dog and naturally also his on-set work (although that seems to become less and less). When he one day decides to give the rather horny hippie Pussycat (Margaret Qualley) a lift to the Spahn Movie it seems that also his life will be influenced by a woman. Curious to find out what happened to their lovely neighbour Tate? Well, she got married to a rather famous Polish director. It seems that Hollywood is the only thing that connects the three of them. Well, a Tarantino movie wouldn’t be a real one if there wouldn’t be more than what meets the eye…

A brilliant tribute to Hollywood made by outstanding people

“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”. Well, the title says it all. Tarantino is honouring Hollywood most meticulously and nostalgically. TV and movie pastiches, numerous billboards, the typical 60’s cinema theatres, the incredibly recognizable pop tunes, and commercial advertisements are all passing by. However, it’s mostly the film crew that was able to get the right vibe flowing through the film. First of all, there’s the stunning production design from Barbara Ling. She thought of every single detail: whether it’s the interior of the saloons, the neat and clean design of Dalton’s mansion or colourful and dazzling parties, it’s all achieved beautifully.

We also have to applaud the flawless work of Arianne Phillips who was in charge of the massive variety of costumes. From rock ‘n roll cowboy to stylish actor and from just an everyday outfit to multi-coloured, elegant and chic dresses, it seems that no costume was too hard to find or to create for her. If you’re Quentin Tarantino then you know how to choose your cinematographer and with Robbie Richardson, he made a faultless choice. Richardson brings life and colour to this film like no one else can.

Pitt + DiCaprio + Robbie = the perfect trio

Pitt, DiCaprio, and Robbie all in the same film. Do we need to tell you how great that casting was? Probably not but we’re going to do it anyway. One thing is for sure: DiCaprio is not going to have to wait for another Oscar as he did for his first. He’s spot-on as Dalton. One moment he has to deliberately act like a beginning actors while a few seconds later, he has to perform like it’s his last scene ever. DiCaprio does it with an enormous amount of flair, emotions, and craftsmanship.

Having one great actor was not enough for Tarantino as he also added Brad Pitt to the cast. Pitt oozes tranquillity, charisma, and personality as the rough-though, straight-to-the-point but also loving stunt double Booth. It will be an extremely close call who will take home the awards for best leading actor. If you’re looking for a leading actress who performs impeccably a beautiful, full-of-life and determined upcoming actress, then you should go for Robbie. She gives this film the more elegant, colourful and joyful touch.

And the award goes to…

“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” may or may not be Tarantino’s penultimate film and if he decides to fold up his director chairs after his next film, then we hope that that movie will be from the same calibre as this one. “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” is a visually stunning, perfectly performed, while also being a craftily and passionately made homage to Hollywood in the ’60s. It would come as absolutely no surprise if “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”, its director and cast become the front-runner during the following award season.  

Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (Official Trailer)

Also Read: 5 Horror Films & The Real Events Behind Them

Reviews

Rachael RNR reviews Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

August 14, 2019
Hobbs & Shaw Review

YouTuber & Presenter, Rachel RNR reviews the Fast & Furious spin-off Hobbs & Shaw.

What’s it about?

Fast & Furious franchise’s Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Shaw (Jason Statham) must put their differences aside and join forces on a mission to save the world!

Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw Review

Also Read: Top 10 Films at the UK Box Office in 2019 (So Far)

Reviews

Review: Good Boys

Good Boys Movie

As a female, it’s hard to put yourself in the shoes of a man but let’s just give it a shot for this review. Growing up as a boy is never easy, especially when you reach that “tween” stage (“not a young boy anymore but no adult man yet”). Those first sexual pleasures, the first experiments, and the rebellious feelings. While it can all be confusing sometimes, you will always have amazing friends you can count on to help you through that period and who are with you for that entire wild ride. First time director Gene Stupnitsky wants to honour those life-changing moments with his film “Good Boys”. This directional debut turns out to be a hilarious, witty and enjoyable film led by three gifted young actors.

Three boys, one friendship

Max (Jacob Tremblay), Lucas (Keith L. Williams) and Thor (Brady Noon). Three six graders who refer to themselves as the “The Beanbag Boys” talk about the usual boy stuffs such as girls, parents, parties, and videogames. While they might all have different hopes for the (near) future, a milestone is about to happen for the three of them: Their first kissing party. However, the way to their first kiss seems to be a much longer one than they would want. After losing his dad’s precious drone, Max is counting on the help of his two friends to get it back. Because otherwise there will be no kissing party for them. Will they be able to get the drone back? Well, that depends if they survive their rescue operation that’s filled with booze, girls, drugs and sexual reference.

Too familiar?

If you’ve seen either “Superbad”, “Neighbors” or “The Sausage Party”, then it’s no coincidence that this storyline seems familiar. After all, “Good Boys” is produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the creators behind those three movies. So while “Good Boys” might be too familiar for you to check it out, you should go and watch it for different reasons

Young actors, big talent

First of all, there are the spot-on acting performances of the young and very gifted leading actors. Tremblay (“Room”, “Wonder”) is incredibly funny, amusing and humouristic as Max, the typical teenage boy: ready for his first kiss with his very rock ‘n roll looking school sweetheart Brixlee. Thor is that kid who appears to be a rough tough one but who’s a total softie on the inside. Noon (“Boardwalk Empire”) portrays beautifully both character trades. His musical performances lift this movie to a higher and more joyful level. Last but certainly not least there’s Williams (“Sadie”, “Moving On”) as Lucas. While both Max and Thor are struggling to find out who they are, Lucas is having to deal with his difficult family life. However, he doesn’t have to face it all alone because he can always count on his two best friends who can cheer him up. Lucas is always up for a laugh and so Williams is one of the main reasons why “Good Boys” has such a lot of humour in it.

In the more supporting roles, we see the fabulous Millie Davis (“Wonder”, “Odd Squad: The Movie”) as Brixlee, Midori Francis (“Ocean’s Eight”, “Gotham”) and Molly Gordon (“Booksmart”, “Life of the Party”) as neighbours Lily and Hannah.

Less is more

A movie like this doesn’t only have to rely very hard on the performances but also on the jokes. Hearing jokes more than once (and especially those typical sex toys ones) can lead to incredible predictable moments. While this might be the case in “Good Boys” more than we would have liked, the three leading actors give each their spin to the jokes which add a more refreshing element to this film. If you want the more high-quality jokes, then go and watch something else, but if you just want to relax and let the kid in you come out for a few hours, then “Good Boys” is the perfect film for you.

Because of the topics handled in “Good Boys”, the film becomes a very open, welcoming and funny movie and so the cinematography has to follow that pattern as well. Luckily director Stupnitsky can count on Jonathan Furmanski (“The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling”, “Springfield of Dreams: The Legend of Homer Simpson”) as his cinematographer. For this film, Furmanski created an incredibly vivid, heartwarming and colourful cinematography and it gives the movie a joyful feeling. There’s (almost) no use of special effects, over the top SFX scenes or “out-of-this-world” decors what makes from this film a down-to-earth one.

The verdict is in!

“Good Boys” certainly won’t win any awards for originality but hey, if a well-known and successful storyline can always attract an audience, then why not use it again and give your spin to it. That’s exactly what Stupnitsky does with his debut feature. Taking a droll and entertaining existing idea and make it into a clever and humouristic film. One that’s performed by three stunning leading actors and an incredible supporting cast.

Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Read More: Top 10 UK Box Office Movies of 2019 (So Far)

Reviews

Review: The Great Hack

August 10, 2019
The Great Hack Poster

The idea of everyone being connected by the internet once had positive connotations. The films that showed the supposed dangers of the digital world like The Matrix seemed so preposterous. But in a post-Edward Snowden and Wikileaks world, the dangers of the internet are now all too real.

There have been several documentaries in recent years about the acquisition of private information online and today we are going to be looking at Netflix’s newest offering to this particular subject, The Great Hack.

Synopsis

Cambridge Analytica was at the centre of several world-altering campaigns in the last few years. Leave.EU in the UK Brexit debate and the Donald Trump Presidential campaign in the USA. But while they had a huge impact on these campaigns, their methods were far more nefarious. Analytica harvested personal information from thousands of Facebook users, without their consent, and then used this to create targeted marketing.

The film follows several people involved in the unravelling of the CA scandal. Including David Carroll, who sued CA to get back the data CA had on him. Former CA employees such as Brittany Kaiser who have decided to blow the whistle on the company. And journalist Carol Cadwalladr.

What did I like?

There are two things that The Great Hack does very well. The first is the way it uses graphics and montages. Throughout the film, graphics are used to impart/illustrate information quickly in a way that doesn’t intrude on the action. And along with graphics the film also uses montages of websites and news stories to give a sense of mood. The montage of various targeted Facebook adverts showing how CA was able to manipulate how people see the world and the use of small square particles to indicate the passage of online info, effectively illustrates how much of our personal daily life is part of and reliant on the internet. Making the points made about CA more threatening.

The second positive is the presentation of the emotional arc of one of the principal participants, Brittany Kaiser. Kaiser, once a key player inside Cambridge Analytica, later came forward with information about how CA conducted their operations. The presentation of her arc from an idealist working on the Obama campaign to being part of the unethical practices of CA is fascinating. Because her motivations are so human. She switched sides in political marketing because she needed money to support herself, which the Obama campaign apparently would not give her. She enjoyed working with who she worked with, so she didn’t see all the negative implications that we can see as outsiders. But she admits her flaws and in the end, stands up for everyone’s right to privacy. Honestly, the film owes much of its success to Kaiser’s inclusion.

However, this leads me into The Great Hack’s problems.

What did I not like?

The Great Hacks first major problem is its pacing. The films key arguments: The dangers of companies using personal information to target you with marketing on social media; Our overreliance on the internet & What CA was up to and how it impacted the world. Are all covered within the first hour. The film then spends another hour repeating the same points. And it begins to get frustrating. This wouldn’t be so bad if the film employed new ways to engage us. But the camerawork is standard, the music is unengaging and the visual flourishes are too infrequent.

Secondly, because the documentary focuses on peoples journeys with CA, it’s critical to get the audience on side with the participants. But Kaiser is the only participant who manages to engage with the audience because she acts like a normal person. Carol Cadwalladr isn’t given enough screentime for us to care about her involvement. And David Carroll, who blatantly tells the audience, that companies having access to private information without consent is bad as if we didn’t already know, projects a very condescending attitude. Which is nothing but off-putting. Not helped when he consistently takes jabs at Kaiser.

There is also a problem with some points being over and underexplained. It expects you to already subscribe to the belief that Trump and Brexit were a bad idea, without giving any contextual information. But they spend an inordinate amount of time talking how information is gathered online and the dangers it poses to privacy. Something that is common knowledge by this point.

Finally, The Great Hack appears to argue that the Trump and Brexit campaigns were wholly won by targeted social media. Ignoring the larger issues of social division and the growing disillusionment with so-called experts and politicians. Electing to solely focus on technology as the purveyor of misfortune. Which seems a little reductive of a complicated issue.

Verdict

Overall while The Great Hack does have some minor visual flair and one incredibly well-told arc, it’s not enough to carry the film. Perhaps as an hour-long TV special it would have faired better. The stripped-down, just the facts version of the story would have been at least novel as a piece of unfolding news.

But as a film, The Great Hack is severely sloppy as it drags its points out and operates from a condescending and in some ways reductive viewpoint, that ultimately will leave most viewers either cold or frustrated.

Verdict: 2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

Also Read: Five Documentaries To Watch On Netflix

Reviews

Review: Late Night [Spoiler Free]

June 22, 2019
Late Night Movie Poster

My wife and I took a spin to our local cinema recently for a showing of the new Mindy Kaling film Late Night. I’ll admit straight off the bat that I wouldn’t normally be in a rush to see something in this genre (even if it’s written by the hilarious and talented Kaling) but the vibes around the film were all very positive, so off we went.

Why now?

Late Night was released in theatres on June 7, 2019.

In a nutshell

The host of a late-night talk show hires a new writer (Kaling) to help turn things around after several years of dwindling popularity and viewership, with both amusing and life-affirming consequences (naturally).

Who’s it for?

The movie’s rated 15 but there really isn’t much in it to worry about, bar some bad language and sexual references. Fans of clever, thoughtful humour (as opposed to the trashy, gross-out humour that so often pervades comedy movies these days) will appreciate this one.

Emma Thompson appears in Late Night by Nisha Ganatra, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Emily Aragones.

Who’s in it?

Mindy Kaling! The Office star wrote and produced this one herself, and it’s easy to tell – her signature brand of quick-witted comedy is all over Late Night, and Kaling puts in a typically-assured performance throughout. Emma Thompson stars as Katherine Newbury, pioneering talk show host and ice-queen of the small screen (in parts, anyway). John Lithgow, Hugh Dancy and a host of other folks you’ll quickly recognise provide support to Kaling and Thompson.

The good stuff

In a nutshell (I don’t care, I’m using it again), the premise, writing, acting and direction in Late Night are all superb. It’s not an entirely original concept, but it joins a host of other behind-the-scenes style movies and TV shows that lay bare the gruelling hard work and obstacles that those in television have to endure on a weekly basis, while managing to make it all very funny and endearing (think 30 Rock, but a touch more serious). I thought the film struck a good balance between humour and social commentary, particularly in terms of why Kaling’s character Molly was hired in the first place and the unfair pressures inflicted on women (especially older women) in the entertainment industry. It’s a movie that will make you think as much as laugh, which is a sure sign of worthwhile writing.

The not so good stuff

As I said before, Late Night isn’t totally original, and you’ll definitely feel like you’ve seen parts of it before. Thompson’s character occasionally strays into the realm of pantomime villain, but the strength of her performance ensures the audience can remain sympathetic throughout and, well, it’s Emma Thompson, isn’t it? I would have liked to have seen slightly more character development for Molly, who sort of hits a wall late on and slips into a predictable arc, but those are minor gripes and easily outweighed by the good stuff.

The bottom line

Late Night is funny, satisfying and thought-provoking, a rare treble in my book. It’s not going to set the world alight, but it does affirm something we already knew about Mindy Kaling – she’s one of the best comedy writers in Hollywood.

Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Late Night Trailer

Also Read: Review: Booksmart

Reviews

Retro Review: It Follows

June 8, 2019
It Follows poster

Over the past several years horror fans and critics have tended to pick an independent horror film and lavish huge amounts of praise and attention on them. Often declaring them as instant classics of the genre. But these films often prove very divisive. With other audiences claiming the films are overrated, not true horror films or simply not good. Examples include Hereditary (2018), The Witch (2015), The Babadook (2014) and the subject of today’s review, David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows (2014). Does it deserve its divisive reputation? Let’s find out.

Synopsis

Jay (Maika Monroe) is a teenager enjoying all the foibles of growing into adulthood. One-night Jay decides to sleep with her new boyfriend for the first time. Afterwards, she is knocked out and taken to an abandoned building. There her boyfriend reveals he has passed a curse on to her. A shapeshifting creature which can take the form of anyone has begun following her and it wants her dead.

Her boyfriend then disappears leaving Jay to deal with the threat on her own. The one positive is that the creature only follows her at a walking pace, so Jay decides to use this to her advantage.

Along with her friends, she tracks down her boyfriend to get an explanation out of him and they learn that the only way the creature can be stopped is to transfer the curse to someone else. But can Jay bring herself to put another person in harm’s way or will she try something different?

What did I like?

The hyperbolic claims that It Follows is simply not a good film is baffling. Purely from a technical point of view, the film is great. As a horror film, It Follows has a firm grasp of how to create tension through its presentation. Using long takes, interesting camera movement and good actor direction to build anxiety about where the monster is and when it will strike. The score also builds a tense atmosphere through creating both a confrontational and quietly eerie soundscape.

The acting is also superb. With the story centred around teenagers, the film could easily become laughable if the cast weren’t believable. But all the main actors feel like real teenagers. Maika Monroe particularly stands out as an incredibly likeable, sympathetic and genuine lead. Her monologue about remembering her youth near the film’s beginning carries great weight because of her delivery. And the way all the friends talk about their childhoods and the antics they get up to gives a feeling of true friendship, allowing us to easily invest in their situation.

The film also pays tribute to older horror films in effective ways. With a synthesizer-heavy score, a stalking camera and an unknowable slow moving, shapeshifting monster, evoking the feeling of John Carpenters older horror films. But the film also has a very modern outlook.

Instead of simply killing characters for having sex or exploiting them for pointless nudity, It Follows is more a tale about teenagers coming to terms with the vulnerability of their bodies. Many scenes have Jay looking over her body and showing how she feels different now because of the danger brought on by the monster. But she never shies away from sex. Her challenge is choosing what to do with the burden she’s been given. As an extension, the women are not solely victims, like in many other horror movies. They take an active role in dealing with the threat, and they call the shots when it comes to sex. While most of the men are cowardly or self-centred. A far cry from the puritanical traditions of many older horror films.

This amalgam of traditions makes the film almost timeless. Ensuring most generations will be able to get something from watching it.

What did I not like?

But there are a few things that let the film down. There are a few weird editing choices throughout the film where the focus will instantly shift to another point of focus instead of giving a payoff to what came before. This is particularly noticeable in the finale which, although it gets a point across, does feel somewhat out of place.

Another problem is that despite the film using its narrative in an interesting way, the beats of the plot are still very familiar to anyone who has seen a passing-on-the-curse movie. And there are very few surprises to freshen up the formula. Which may put off some audiences.

Finally, while the film provides positive female representation with its characters, the film does occasionally feel very leery. With long shots of the female characters in their underwear, swimwear and revealing clothes. While both a staple of the genre and somewhat justified by the theme of body image, it is telling that we never get similar shots for the male characters. And this can leave a bad taste in the audience’s mouth, especially with everything the film does to paint its women positively.

Verdict

Despite a few hiccups in editing, a familiar story and tending to slightly leer at its female characters, It Follows remains a great example of how to do modern horror right.

It gives us time to get to know the leads, who are all relatable and down to earth. While focusing on building tension rather than using jump scares, which the film does through interesting uses of music, camera movement and actor direction; It Follows celebrates the horrors of the past while updating some tropes to tell a modern story.

It Follows follows in the tradition of Carpenter and gives us a modern retro gem, that I can see audiences enjoying for years to come. Check it out and judge for yourselves.

Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

It Follows is available for free on BBC Iplayer for the next 2 months

It Follows (Trailer)

Also Read: How The Blair Witch Project Changed Horror.