Ocean’s 8

Emmy says:
As somebody who’s enjoyment of a film is directly related to my emotional involvement, I wasn’t as receptive to this style of story. It is possible the trailer made me expect more than was delivered, especially with my soft-spot for fashion given the event featured. A plot with too many mechanisms operating behind the curtain. 5/10.

Jeff says:
The Oceans films are fun hi-jinks – that’s really it. It’s about the characters and the riffing between them – the heist itself is almost secondary. This follows the same formula, just with a new cast. The cast are fun and likeable, the caper was realistic in terms of the current technological state of the world. It might, however, be telling when you can spot a continuity error easily. Entertaining popcorn film, but not much depth. 7/10.

(Guest Reaction) Bruce says:
Entertaining, finished strongly. 5/10.

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Hereditary

Emmy says:
How to review this one without spoilers? I was blindsided a few times with this, I enjoyed the tension carried throughout, and the ending left me wanting more. 7/10.

Jeff says:
What the hell did I just watch? There was a palpable, unsettling, tension throughout most of the film, using many excellent techniques to ratchet up the suspense without resorting to cheap jump scares. Sound is used amazingly well. Scenes focusing on close-ups on the characters’ face leaves you wondering what’s coming. Generally the cinematography was excellent. Unfortunately, I feel that the ending let the film down for me. I can’t say more without spoiling the film and you should see this without any advance information. I can say that I’m pleased the trailer didn’t give anything away – I was not prepared for what happened. Given this was from a first-time writer-director, it is an impressive effort. 7/10.

(Guest Reaction) Marion says:
The effects were quite good, but it seemed to take a while to get going. 7/10.

(Guest Reaction) Bruce says:
Slow to start, it improved and was an interesting ending. 6/10.

IMDb

Anon

Emmy says:
Intriguing, terrifying and odd. I’m not sure how I feel about this movie, but I did want to see how it ended, so I guess it was good. Watching white collar “work” is disconcerting, understanding that people can not always trust what they see is unsettling. I think I trust what I saw. 7/10.

Jeff says:
A measured (some might say slow) head-trip of a film. What happens when everything you see and hear is recorded and available for playback – but not just for you? While this movie is fundamentally a warning about invasion of privacy, I saw a warning about the reliance on technology for memory. This film won’t suit everyone, ‘how’ is never explained and the concepts presented are quite unsettling. Still, an interesting film well made. 8/10.

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Solo: A Star Wars Story

Emmy says:
I watch movies expecting to be taken on a ride, Solo lived up to its name by not letting me get on. There was a handful of laughs the script got out of me, but nothing to be invested in. How do you do high stakes with a character that cocky? They never think anything will happen to themselves and therefore never convey a sense of urgency or peril to the audience. The lighting during the first two scenes is hazy and smoky and I may have missed something there. 5/10.

Jeff says:
Lots of fan service in this one … whether that helped or harmed is debatable. The problem with prequels is knowing in advance how it all turns out. This dramatically reduces the tension and emotional investment in any particular moment. It doesn’t help when the people we’re following also act like there’s no real consequences to anything, because they’re all cocky space pirates. It would be like watching Oceans 11 if you’ve already seen Oceans 13. The set pieces were good, the things I wanted to see going in were all there, but the moments where they tried to directly tie it into the larger story just confused me (I had to work it out later). Fun, but not greater than the sum of it’s parts. 7/10.

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The Bookshop

Emmy says:
I love that cardigan. And that jumper. That cape! I can’t stop staring at the metallic branches on the fabric, the gold outlined in brown on a taupe background … just stunning. The sounds of the water and the birds are so soothing. It’s like a holiday. Oh there’s a plot here too, one that doesn’t ruin itself by becoming a love story. The awkwardness of an introvert with determination is marvellously done. The halting conversation over a ineptly organised tea was perfect. The eyes not meeting the person being talked to. Did I mention that cape? I think I may have found a movie I will love watching over and over. If only the ending didn’t feel so abrupt compared to the rural life of the story beforehand. 9/10.

Jeff says:
A gorgeously shot film with excellent performances from all involved. Emily Mortimer carries the film well, with a quiet and understated performance of a woman who doesn’t quite understand why the rest of the world is being so rubbish. Bill Nighy is his usual self, but turned up to 11, in a perfect portrayal of a man who would rather not have to talk to people in person. The rest of the cast is just as good. The problem I had with the film was that it seems to stop so abruptly – and at the end of the second act. I feel like there’s a finale missing – but perhaps that was the source material, and ‘real life’ isn’t like that. Things do just ‘stop’. Still, it soured the film a little for me. 6/10.

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The Boy

Emmy says:
Great psychological thriller, that didn’t go where I expected. The small cast allows for good character development and the film isn’t cheapened by opportunistic jump scares. Very enjoyable. 7/10.

Jeff says:
I like to think I’m a fan of horror films, but there are some that just don’t “do it” for me. These are the so-called “torture porn” films, slasher films, or ones involving creepy dolls.  Having said that, this was very well made and had some surprising twists and turns that were unexpected. I’m not sure it rates high on character believe-ability (there are “people being stupid” issues), but if you buy the premise it’s not too far-fetched. Pacing is good, it’s more a psychological thriller than horror. I’m still not sure it’s really “my thing”, but as an example of the type it was quite good. 5/10.

IMDb

The Void

Emmy says:
The emptiness left behind after losing someone is raw and messy, exactly what is shown with this film. The script comes across a touch messy, but the repetition of phrases is something we all do when we think we haven’t been heard, or when we try to convince ourselves of something. Talking over the top of one another when there is a group of people who have no clear idea on what is actually going on is reminiscent of real life. The monster that is loss is wonderfully presented in all its bloody glory. A true work of love. 7/10.

Jeff says:
I heard about this from Good Bad Flicks in his Top 10 Best and Worst Films of 2017 video (ranked #7 on the Best list). Described as a Lovecraftian horror genre film, I was eager to see it. The film turns out to be a low budget independent film, and it shows, but the effects looked much better than the budget would have suggested. The story has that realism factor that I look for – no ‘people being stupid’ for story purposes. Some of the twists and turns are either well signposted or abrupt changes that give you whiplash. This gives the movie an uneven tone, but that’s strangely appropriate for the location and situation of the people involved. Sound design was mostly excellent (some of now cliched loud thrumming noise I could have done without). Acting was realistic and believable, so were the effects. Well worth watching.  6/10.

IMDb

Deadpool 2

Emmy says:
Breaking the fourth wall at its finest. Well paced story with constant references to other movies and real world people. Lots of violence and explosions with large amounts of vehicle carnage. Highly enjoyable film. 9/10.

Jeff says:
Everything was perfectly Deadpool. Cable’s introduction was respectful, if not faithful, to the source material. The new characters were all worth the time, and I would love to see them again. A small number of the jokes went a beat too long or fell a little flat, but that’s still perfectly Deadpool. I had deliberately avoided learning too much about the story, and I’m glad – the surprises were brilliant. 9/10.

IMDb

Westworld

Emmy says:
Interesting story. Fascinating to see how far movie making has come in 45 years. 6/10.

Jeff says:
A low budget early 70’s film written and directed by the author of Jurassic Park, The Andromeda Strain, Rising Sun, etc. It shows. The story is interested, but the mystery is not solved. The “70’s future” aesthetic is in full force when it’s not trying to show off “history recreated”. As medieval re-creationist, I can say that was NOT 1300’s Europe in Medievalworld. The movie moves at quite a slow pace but packs a lot in. Cliched filming styles are used to great effect in set pieces that were meant to be clichés. Worth watching. 7/10.

IMDb

Ready Player One

Emmy says:
A nice leisurely stroll through nostalgia. Enjoyed the mix of retro and futuristic game play. Avatars were varied and interesting to look at. Some great references that made me squeal just a bit. Pretty movie with a lighthearted feel. 7/10.

Jeff says:
This movie is well-executed and demands repeat viewings to catch all the references. Either that, or someone like Good Bad Flicks doing an “Every reference in Ready Player One” like he did for Cabin in the Woods. The story was the basic hero’s journey (“the one”), which might have been deliberate (as another game reference), but meant there wasn’t much emotional connection (unless I’m just jaded). An enjoyable movie that owes more to nostalgia and good CGI than story. 8/10.

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Kong: Skull Island

Emmy says:
To use a quote from the movie – it really does show that you can always find monsters if you go looking for them. A good story with great visuals. The fight sequences were very well done. 8/10.

Jeff says:
It’s a cliché in many monster movies that the worst monster is man. This movie serves us that homily in spades. The characters (even the bad ones) are well-realised and very believable, the creatures are amazingly details and show intelligence (even if just animal instinct). I made the point to Emmy that the fights between giant monsters in this movie were more believable than the ones between humanoids in Justice League (she agreed). This is a worthy prequel to Godzilla and I’m curious to see how the “Monsterverse” develops from here. 8/10.

IMDb

CHIPS

Emmy says:
Fun ride with over the top characters and stupid conversations. Much explosions 6/10.

Jeff says:
Uneven tone throughout – buddy cop comedy based on a 70’s TV show with some very graphic violence and gratuitous nudity. The ‘buddy’ angle worked, but their characters didn’t. Felt like a wish list of “cool things” that didn’t work cohesively. The main villain wasn’t believable in terms of behaviour vs. background. I might be asking too much of a silly comedy-action film, but I used to love the TV show … it’s a shame it was ‘re-imaged’ as this. 5/10.

IMDb

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