The Lion King (2019)

Emmy says:
My reaction after watching: what was the point? It’s almost a shot for shot recreation of the original with some lines changed. Timon and Pumba delivered laughs again, most notably as bait, but this does not make up for the butchering of ‘Be Prepared’ that was done. 6/10.

Jeff says:
From a technical standpoint, this is an impressive film. It looks gritty and real … why does it have to look gritty and real? It’s a Disney movie with singing animals! There’s the problem: this makes sense as an animated feature, but less as a ‘real’ animal movie. Some of the changes just make you want the old movie back, although some of the new gags were actually very good. Sadly, they almost felt like they were the voice actor’s improvisations that miraculously made it in, rather than a deliberate scripted choice.  I also can’t forgive them for butchering ‘Be Prepared’ when ‘Hakuna Matata’ is essentially unchanged. 6/10.

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Emmy says:
Vibrant and packed with detail this film takes you on a journey that is a non stop roller-coaster. I am stunned at the set designs, costumes and visual effects. This film would benefit from multiple watchings as there’s just too much on screen to catch in one sitting. 9/10.

Jeff says:
Luc Besson. Need I say more? Even more than that it’s based on a comic that started in 1967. The comic was inspired by classic sci-fi literature and in turn has inspired many of the tropes common in Sci-Fi cinema (or so it is said). A visual feast, the pre-title sequence is possibly one of the most beautiful in cinema (a big call, I know). The rest of the film seems too full and therefore feels rushed by comparison – it’s hard to fully enjoy a moment when you’re already into the next before you get a chance. This film was panned, and I’m not sure why – it’s a fun ride that is Besson at his best. 9/10.

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Doctor Sleep

Emmy says:
A wonderfully crafted film with great actors and stunning music. Loved the visuals especially the long travelling shots in the Overlook. I loved it. 10/10.

Jeff says:
Wow. Just wow. I don’t know what to say about this one – and I’m not usually lost for words. A spectacular sequel to both a movie and a book that had very different endings and story styles, while being an adaptation of the book that was the sequel to the book alone, and yet manages to tread its own path in a well acted, well shot, well directed tale that I honestly can’t imagine being done any other way. The recreation of the original Overlook was impressive, and the homage shots that you know were coming were better and more subtle than you might expect. I’ll be thinking about this one for a while. 10/10.

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Kiki’s Delivery Service

Emmy says:
A lot of fun and very moving. 9/10.

Jeff says:
I think there’s a level of … exhaustion … going around. I was reminded of Kiki’s Delivery Service as a result of Patrick (H) Willems’ video Kiki’s Delivery Service & YouTube Burnout, which left me wanting to watch the film again. Little did I know that at the same time, I was going through my own exhaustion patch (I wouldn’t quite say it was burnout). We have not watched a movie at the cinema since IT Chapter Two because we’re both just so tired. Life imitating art without even trying. Watch this film. It’s gorgeous, relatable, and just a delightful way to pass some much needed time. 9/10.

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The Sting

Emmy says:
This was a fun film, and I was conned to the end. 7/10.

Jeff says:
A movie I have always loved, watching it after more than a few years (and a lot more awareness of films) some things stand out to me: the choice to emulate movies of the 1930’s (such as the lack of extras) to fit with the setting of the piece; the lack of background music/noise throughout much of the film despite the film being famous for the ragtime score. A classic in every way, and Redford and Newman are just excellent. 8/10.

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The Hitman’s Bodyguard

Emmy says:
This film delivers way more than I expected. The comedy and action was great, and supported by a wonderfully deep story and appreciation for life. A brilliant piece of art with a soundtrack that lifts the scenes. 9/10.

Jeff says:
It seemed this was going to be a mostly by-the-numbers action comedy, but from the first it was clear this was going to take the story and action seriously. This is an action film where the comedy comes from the characters and not the events. Great sequences where everyone is actually good at their job (something I always appreciate), and the developing tale makes sense and is completely believable. The music is awesome and adds to the enjoyment. A great little film, I’m looking forward to the sequel. 9/10.

IMDb

IT Chapter Two

Emmy says:
A remarkable continuation of the story. The visual design elements to represent altered reality were effective. The changes to the backstory were still plausible and worked for the screen. Supporting characters were used well, and didn’t detract from the main story (as they sometimes did in the book). I feel like there was a lot I might have missed, so I probably want to see this again. 9/10.

Jeff says:
Stephen King is known for being unfilmable. There are some movies that somewhat prove this wrong, but they all have one thing in common: they don’t exactly stick to the written page precisely. The best adaptations of King’s work take the idea, atmosphere and intent of the written version and does something similar that works better for the visual medium. This is what happened here. Even know what happens in the books, I was tense and anxious for the characters throughout. I felt a pervasive dread in many of the set pieces. The parts where the story differs from the book were effective and still felt like they fit. My only complaint is that some things in the book were cut, which I understand, but it meant some of the related material that was left in didn’t make much sense as they weren’t properly resolved. Still, a great end to the tale. 9/10.

IMDb

Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood

Emmy says:
This film is a comfortable ride in movie making through a lens of nostalgia. The position of some camera shots allow the audience a sense of voyeurism and bring home the fact that we are watching normal life. Small details like having multiple songs play during car trips give the feeling of time passing and I really connected to the repetition of mundane tasks. The performances from the actors are brilliant. This really is a love letter to the end of the Golden Era, crafted with a subtle complexity. 10/10.

Jeff says:
Usually, we don’t want to give information away that will potentially spoil parts of the film. In this, Quentin Tarantino’s love letter to 60’s Hollywood, however, you need to know a few things: Sharon Tate, wife of Roman Polanski, was killed (with friends) by members of the Manson Family while Roman was out of the country. “The Family” lived at Spahn Ranch, which used to be a movie set for Westerns. This is important to know, especially for those who don’t remember, because this film is a flight of fancy – a “what if” that uses real people and events, but changes things. An amazing slice of life, that almost doesn’t feel like Tarantino (except for the revelling in the 60’s) until the end. An incredible film, well acted and well told. A must see, if you love movies.  10/10.

IMDb

Psycho (1960)

Emmy says:
The style of this film is so different to modern creations, the driving in front of backdrops and the internal monologues playing over a head-shot feels odd. The perspectives used distort the scenes and add to the sense of unease. I can see how this film had a huge impact on the film industry. Happy I’ve finally watched this. 8/10.

Jeff says:
This movie is, of course, a classic. Unfortunately, repeat viewing over the years and more interesting thrillers have dulled the edge on the scares. What would have been shocking in 1960 is now laughable. Having said that, the cinematography is clearly from the eye of a legend as the framing of scenes and the use of light and shadow are a master-class in film-making. 7/10.

IMDb

The Faculty

Emmy says:
These characters give the first impression of one note stereotypes, yet they are shown to be complex and nuanced throughout the movie. I really loved the use of the camera focusing on characters not involved in the conversation going on in the scene. The effects hold up after 20 years. Packed with some real gems 8/10.

Jeff says:
This is one of those movies I saw when it came out and am now showing Emmy. It’s not original, but it’s good fun. Like From Dusk Til Dawn (another Robert Rodriguez film) good characters, interesting angle on a classic formula, and good humour mixed with the gore makes for a great time. So many now well known actors in this movie, all looking so young! The main takeaway for me this time was how effective the music was at building dread and tension … the cover of Another Brick in the Wall at the start, in particular. Deservedly a cult classic. 9/10.

IMDb

From Dusk Till Dawn

Watching this cult classic again, thanks to being reminded by Ryan Hollinger.

Emmy says:
Complex characters with stunning visuals. Love how the plot gets hijacked and everything goes crazy. There’s a lot of depth to this movie, as well as a lot of blood and body parts. Definitely a great watch. 9/10.

Jeff says:
I loved this movie when it first came out, I love this movie now. Interestingly, there are still things I notice now that I missed previously. There is a lot to unpack for a simple grindhouse film, if you’re in the mood to, but it’s also delightful on a straight-forward visceral level. It’s been years since I last watched this, but I still remember most of the dialogue. The music is sensational, and the effects even stand up to today’s lower budget grindhouse effects. Just great fun, in every way. 10/10.

IMDb

Die Hard with a Vengeance

Emmy says:
A visual spectacle, using bullets and blood to great effect. I think the script writers had a wonderful time with all the riddles and banter. A lot of fun. 8/10.

Jeff says:
I love this movie so much. It is far and away my favourite Die Hard film. It is a perfect mix of cop procedural, action adventure, and suspense. Each step makes sense (in the end) and the characters feel realistic. Entertaining side characters (hi Jerry!) that don’t feel forced even when they are convenient. Jeremy Irons is brilliant and Bruce Willis continues to live the role of McClane. 10/10.

IMDb

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