The Curse of the Weeping Woman

(Actually ‘The Curse of La Llorona‘, but that wasn’t the title used where we saw it)

Emmy says:
Good pacing with the story, really felt like we’d stayed up all night with the characters instead of an instant morning. The Weeping Woman wasn’t explained enough to understand why she was pure evil, and the end felt too neat. I enjoyed the 70’s costuming and La Llorona’s dress. 7/10.

Jeff says:
An interesting premise, but not one that I felt could (or did) sustain 90 minutes. Some good moments, between long stretches of tedium, and others that stretched out longer than necessary. I found that the ‘shaky cam’ filming was a major distraction, which didn’t help. I liked the characters, but felt that they made dumb decisions for no purpose other than to delay the ending. On the way home, I thought of at least three other ways to tell this story (or include it in another one) that I felt would have worked better – and that’s never a good sign. Good effects, though. 5/10.

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John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

Emmy says:
Having the previous movies to stand on this one wasted no time with unnecessary dialogue, leaving room for the insane amount of bullets and the appropriate amount of reloading without skimping on the hand to hand combat. Savage, bloody and beautiful. 10/10

Jeff says:
Brutal, realistic fights. All show, no tell, including things I’ve never seen before in fight choreography. Having said that, the first movie made the pain and damage realistic: you felt his pain. In this movie Wick was almost indestructible in combat, and barely slowed down when it really mattered, although he ‘felt’ it later when there weren’t any stakes. The creative fight choreography more than made up for it though, and the characters are still wonderful to watch. Brilliant. 10/10.

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Pokémon Detective Pikachu

Emmy says:
A great story to introduce a live action Pokémon world, whether you’re new or knowledgeable about Pokémon. Very well acted and the CGI was well done. I’m keen to see more in this world, but next time I want to actually feel like there are stakes. 9/10.

Jeff says:
An excellent entry point to a wider world – this movie gives a tight character-driven story that happens to have world-sized consequences. Great acting, and top-rate CG made for an entertaining story that only felt flat, ironically, in a mountainous scene that had too much distracting CG debris to really feel like you were involved in the scene. While some hand-waving occurred, the resolution was a surprise I feel I should have seen coming but didn’t – and was blessedly not spoiled by the trailer. Please don’t ruin it for anyone else. I want to see more of the world, but I feel like it could only work as an anthology (ie, different people next time). 9/10.

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Good Morning, Vietnam

Emmy says:
A masterful piece of art. Delightfully funny and depressingly human. 8/10.

Jeff says:
For some people, this is one of the most quotable movies of all time. A reference to ‘comfortable shoes’ led to us needing to re-watch this exceptional movie. The thing is, we remember Robyn Williams’ improvised routines – but unless you try really hard, how readily do you remember the depictions of war; the treatment of the Vietnamese by the US servicemen; and the reality of life in Vietnam at that time? This movie, for a comedy, hits hard and makes an important point. Like M*A*S*H which inspired the idea of making a story about the Vietnam ‘conflict’, the jokes provide cover for the message. 9/10.

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Needful Things

Emmy says:
This screenplay is the perfect reduction of the essence of the novel by King. Beautiful music underpinning scenes of hectic tension. Great interpretation of the characters by the cast of actors. This doesn’t have the slow boil the book seems to have, yet the events only cover a single week there. Insidious 9/10.

Jeff says:
I love this movie, but I can’t explain why. Excellent acting from Max von Sydow and Ed Harris, probably. The rest of the cast was brilliant as well. Even though I love it, and it does a great job of reducing the book to the essential elements, there are a few things that bother me. I feel like the tensions in the town were already too high before Gaunt’s arrival, and the characterisations of Nettie and Wilma were too broad for my liking. The sexualisation of Gaunt’s interest in Polly also struck a wrong note for me. The reviews of this film, when it came out, criticised how unpleasant everyone was … but that was the point. It might have helped to show the town being ‘pleasant’, but with underlying tensions, before the shop opened – it might have made the point better. I’d be interested in how someone like Jordan Peele would remake this story. 9/10.

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Gerald’s Game

Emmy says:
A very faithful translation to screen of a book that contains a single character and the voices in her head for the vast majority of it. I do prefer the anxiety of the first person view of the book to the passive third person of the movie. Stellar work 9/10.

Jeff says:
Disturbingly good adaptation of a disturbingly good Stephen King novel. A well-crafted story that mostly takes place in one room (if you discount the flash backs). I was so angry at some parts and deeply bothered by others: in ways that only happen in a well-made, compelling, engaging film. 9/10.

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Roxanne

Emmy says:
Good, light-hearted fun. 7/10.

Jeff says:
Based on the play ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’, this 80’s rom-com is … a very 80’s rom-com. This is not a slight, as the film is fun and funny. Cringe-worthy moments still abound, being the product of its time. I’m curious how much is 80’s rom-com fare and how much is the source material (most of the main plot is from the play, I understand, and even some of the jokes). I have always loved this movie, but watching this time I cringed a little more than I used to. Times have changed, I guess. 7/10.

IMDb

Avengers: Endgame

Emmy says:
Hair, makeup, costumes and acting brilliantly show how Infinity War aged everyone. An unbelievable journey 10/10.

Jeff says:
So how do you end over a decade’s worth of movies? This is how. A three-hour epic that didn’t drag at any point. Good service to all the characters, even if some of them were on screen less that we might have liked. The story was the focus, and it was executed amazingly well. Very funny in many places, dramatic in others, and quite emotionally devastating in still other places. This movie had everything, and left nothing behind. Some issues with plot holes towards the end, but I can’t really complain. A great film on its own, and a fitting end to this phase of the MCU. 10/10.

IMDb

Thunderbirds

Emmy says:
A feel-good family film, with a good moral base. 7/10.

Jeff says:
I grew up watching Thunderbirds, waking myself up at 6am on Saturdays to watch the show on TV. This movie is rather cheesy and was panned on release, but I enjoy it for what it is rather than lament what it isn’t. The plot is rather thin, and some ‘gags’ overstay their welcome, but the vehicles are there and the characters are there. It’s a product of it’s time, and it’s clearly designed for a younger audience instead of only angling for the nostalgia factor of the older viewers – and I appreciated that. Despite its problems, I still think this adaptation is F-A-B. 8/10.

IMDb

The Dark Half

Emmy says:
A well-written film that cut down the story to the important points. Unfortunately, that meant doing a disservice to Alan Pangborn who no longer has the character trails and development that exists in the novel. The ending was then rushed, which was disappointing. 7/10.

Jeff says:
There’s a reason you get a film like this adapted and directed by George A Romero. I have nothing to back this up, but I think the ending was what got Romero on board. The rest of the story did a good job of hitting the needed beats, and condensing Stephen King is never easy (and this was a 2 hour movie, not a 4 hour mini-series). Timothy Hutton was excellent as both Thad and his Dark Half, but it seemed more like a summary than a story. The acting was good, the story well told … it was just too short. 7/10.

IMDb

It (1990)

Emmy says:
I watched this film as if through a haze of nostalgia, it made me laugh, it made me smile with indulgence and it ended with making me cry. The cringe worthy 80s effects and Foley have not aged well at all, with that, the story is still strong and carefully collated from the vast amount of material in the novel. 8/10.

Jeff says:
I remember this as a good movie, but not great. Rewatching, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The characters mattered, the relationship to the book was clear (I think the new version does well to change the story to be kids then adults rather than interspersing, but the interspersed timelines were in the original story. A lot of things hinted or mentioned, rather than shown, and it really wasn’t that scary – but then it wasn’t rated for a lot of scares. It was more of an adventure story than a horror film. Still, the cast did an excellent job and now I’m really wondering how the new adults will compare with It: Chapter Two later this year. 8/10.

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Pet Sematary

Emmy says:
This film shows some amazing attention to details with small things like a old hanky for a pocket square. I’m grateful that there was evidence of the call of the burial grounds. Mostly true to the essence of the book. 7/10.

Jeff says:
So, you’re updating a Stephen King story (that’s been done before) and you want to put a twist in to throw the readers off? How about not give it away in the trailers then?! I’ve commented on this before, but this move has me now going to flag films as #ruinedbytrailer if they give away the surprises before you’ve even bought your ticket. That wasn’t the only problem here. Everything about this film screams at me that it’s trying to be Insidious, Annabelle, or something else like that from Blumhouse. Now, there’s nothing wrong with those films – and Blumhouse is making AMAZING movies – but that’s not quite what’s expected from Stephen King stories. It works here, because this story is King at his bleakest (even he says so), but it’s close. All the necessary key beats from the story were there (even to the point of being able to predict the next scare), and I was pleased to see the pull of the burial grounds was included – the book had it, but the previous film version left it out. Some things get under your skin, even when you know better. Kind of like hoping for a great King adaptation. 7/10.

IMDb

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