The Big Lebowski

Emmy says:
A very enjoyable directionless story. Love seeing well known actors back in the day. The script is an excellent piece of work and is delivered expertly. Life is messy, take it easy. 9/10.

Jeff says:
This movie has been sitting on my DVD shelf for years. I always meant to get around it, but the Coen Brothers can be a chore if you’re not in the right mood. Fortunately, we were in the right mood this evening and this was an excellent way to pass time. A meandering mess of a narrative, that I feel doesn’t owe as much to Raymond Chandler as the Coens would like to believe, the story is engaging if ultimately meaningless. I believe I get most of what the Coens had in mind, but Walter still bothered me too much to rate this one higher. Still, a classic that I’m glad I’ve finally watched. 8/10.

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The Kid Who Would Be King

Emmy says:
Utterly fantastical. Great story with diverse characters that inspire goodness. 8/10.

Jeff says:
This should be a classic kids (tweens) movie of the sort that Goonies, The Last Starfighter and The NeverEnding Story were when I was young. Sadly, such an old-fashioned ‘kids film’ – without even the hint of a nod towards the adults – doesn’t seem to cut it anymore. This movie failed at the box office despite good reviews, and I feel it deserves better than that. The effects are excellent, the message – while pointed – is worthwhile, and the acting is impressive from this almost unknown cast. Worth watching, and worth showing to all middle-schoolers to remind them they will be the leaders one day. 8/10.

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Men in Black: International

Emmy says:
Good story, fun guns, cool aliens. Loved the scenery. 7/10.

Jeff says:
This was an enjoyable tale in a fun world that’s worth revisiting. While it feels like a soft reboot, rather than a proper sequel, it had all the right nods to the original film while expanding operations outside New York. It all felt a little safe though … no real risks taken to shake up the formula. The characters and creatures were diverse and interesting though, and the predictable plot still had some wriggle room to allow for the exact resolution to be a bit of a mystery. Worth watching. 7/10.

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The Secret Life of Pets 2

Emmy says:
I laughed my way through this movie, somewhat predictable and sometimes silly, but total enjoyment. 8/10.

Jeff says:
More jokes, more pandering, less story. While fun, I think I would have appreciated one cohesive narrative instead of duelling A and B plots. The first movie was more believable, this had too much that was unrealistic that you had to accept (and some potentially dangerous impressions for small viewers, if they weren’t corrected). Still, it was enjoyable. 7/10.

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Dolores Claiborne

Emmy says:
A wonderful interpretation of the book. Beautifully acted by Kathy Bates. Loved the settings and the editing choices. 9/10.

Jeff says:
A remarkable film, faithful to the story but not to the novel. The structure of the story changed; the attitude shown by Christopher Plummer’s character does not appear on the page anywhere; and the daughter is only referenced in the book. Having said that, the story is the same and all the key details are there with the emotional impact they need even in the trimmed-for-a-movie version. Excellent acting, and some innovative flashback transitions for a mid-90’s film. Astonishing. 9/10.

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Spider-Man: Far From Home

Emmy says:
Light-hearted fun with teen love issues and giant elementals. Good story, great effects, amazing locations. A lot of fun 9/10.

Jeff says:
The characters in this branch of the MCU continue to be delightful, and I want to see more. The story was engaging and fun, with suitable jokes and references. Jake Gyllenhaal is an excellent edition, and is perfect as Mysterio. So why do I feel let down? This was a LOT of fun, but it didn’t feel like Spider-man. It felt more like Avengers: Epilogue. This is not a bad thing, but it is a bit unfair on Spidey.  I understand why Marvel is saying this is the end of Phase 3 (instead of Endgame), and they’re not wrong. There’s a lot of threads that are wrapped up here, but like how Captain America: Civil War was an Avengers movie by another name, so is this – and that made me sad. I would much prefer the friendly neighbourhood Spider-man, not the globe-trotting Avenger Spider-man (especially when he’s a teenager). Your mileage may vary, however. Just remember: there is a mid-credit and a post-credit scene: don’t leave early. 9/10.

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Murder Mystery

Emmy says:
Ridiculous premise, one note characters, gorgeous sets and scenery. Was a really fun film. 8/10.

Jeff says:
A by-the-numbers Agatha Christie-esque romp, but with incompetent ‘amateur’ sleuths. While the characters were mostly caricatures, there was a realness from the central couple that made it better than it might otherwise have been. Playing into and off tropes, usually with a knowing reference,  this movie does everything right in the classic whodunnit mould with wit that doesn’t punch down (which is a delight for an Adam Sandler movie). 8/10.

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The Langoliers

Emmy says:
Loved the actors portrayal of these characters. Very good translation from page to screen. The CGI is really dated. 7/10.

Jeff says:
I remember watching this movie/mini-series back when it came out. Even then the CG was dodgy. Apart from that, though, the story was compelling and the characters were faithful to the written story. I remembered (and loved) Bronson Pinochet from ‘Perfect Strangers’ and so his casting as Toomey was at the same time weird, brilliant, and on point. I still find the pallid fever-sweat look off-putting, but it works so well. Stephen King’s own cameo is somewhat amusing. The dialogue is a bit stilted in places, and some of the detail could have been excised to make a standard film, but I still enjoy this one. 7/10.

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Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Emmy says:
Gorgeous Kaiju, amazing sound, stunning effects. When’s the next movie? 10/10.

Jeff says:
I’m honestly not sure what to say about this movie. It was AWESOME. This is the Kaiju movie we’ve been waiting to see – when the effects are worthy of the monsters. Even so, this film also knew when to back away – give us character drama – to compel the story. Obviously the MacGuffin wasn’t really going to be that important, but it played it’s part. Characters got the arc they deserved – and it was great to see strong women in command roles just going about their business being bad-ass. More movies like this! Some of the pacing/progress was predicable, but is there anyone who went in not know how this would end? The stories told in the images during the end credits were fascinating and worth sticking around for too. This was so much fun, I want more. Long live the King! 10/10.

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The Tommyknockers

Emmy says:
I enjoyed this adaptation from book to screen, although I felt the lack of home made devices (there was a lot more in the book than the handful shown here). The cast were great at realising the characters and looked good in green. As there is a large amount of ‘in the head’ process at the end of the book I expected the ending to be changed. Not entirely happy with the route taken. 7/10.

Jeff says:
The changes from the novel are mostly understandable, and most are based on things referenced in the book. The characters (apart from Gard and Bobbi) were not really all that well-rounded on the page so, instead of a lot of cameo inventors, the film focuses on a core group. This is understandable, but it loses some of the impact. Given what the book describes, I imagine this was also the best compromise with early 90’s effects (the green was perfect, though). I’m interested to see what the remake does, given the people involved. I would like to see the philosophy from the end of the book explored more. Entertaining, but the epitome of early 90s King adaptations. 7/10.

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

To celebrate Towel Day … 

Emmy says:
A wonderfully detailed universe brought to life. Absolutely love this company of actors and their interpretations of the characters. 9/10.

Jeff says:
I have every version of H2G2 – books, radio plays, TV series and this movie. I understand that some fans feel this movie does not do the material justice, but I feel they forget: this was written first by Douglas Adams, and the major changes were HIS idea. Adams once said that each version of the story is different because if you want a specific version go watch/listen/read that version. He suggested they were parallel universes where something similar, but not the same, happened to similar people. I describe this movie as the version where there’s a somewhat happy ending and a love story. Why not have that in one version? H2G2 can be rather anarchic and depressing in places – so a version with an uplifting message is welcome. The attention to detail on the little things, specific references that only those who have read the books will get, are a treat (and do not diminish the experience for people who haven’t). The actors are universally excellent, and I will always be happy to watch this movie – I’d rather that, than worry about if other fans think I’m right. 10/10.

Bonus: You should watch the review on Movies with Mikey.

IMDb

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.

IMDb

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