Severance

Emmy says:
This was a delightful watch, full of great acting. The special effects are well crafted, the horror is realistic and the one or two jump scares are not at all telegraphed. No standard horror trope stupidity in this film which really adds to the enjoyment. Definitely worth a watch and there really isn’t much that can be said without spoilers. 9/10.

Jeff says:
Horror and comedy in one film is hard to pull off. This film manages admirably. I have to thank Ryan Hollinger for bringing this to our attention … and he’s right, you need to see this without having it spoiled for you. The action is worthy of a ‘bigger’ film and characters are well acted. Worth your time, definitely. 9/10.

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The LEGO Batman Movie

Emmy says:
This movie is filled with so many one liners that just made me laugh. Fun story jam packed with colourful characters. An uplifting watch. 8/10.

Jeff says:
I would say this movie had surprising heart, but since it’s from the same people who brought us the two regular LEGO Movies, it’s not surprising at all. Fantastic attention to detail with an incredible understanding of the deep law of Batman, DC and just ‘nerd’ pop culture in general. A fun ride, well crafted, and excellently acted by the voice talent. 9/10.

IMDb

In the Heights

Emmy says:
I love this movie. The music is amazing and the characters are so vibrant. Wonderful story full of heart. 10/10.

Jeff says:
A visually stunning film that takes full advantage of not being on stage. The dance numbers are incredible and the cast is fantastic. This was Lin Manuel-Miranda’s first musical, and it is amazing. Jon M. Chu’s direction is inspired and further elevates an already engaging story. I’m sure I’ll be watching this again soon. 10/10.

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Thank You for Smoking

Emmy says:
For a movie based in dialogue it just flew by, full of wit and philosophy. Great framing pushed the personal aspect and the characters were interesting. This was a lot of fun. 8/10.

Jeff says:
I never realised how much this movie could be useful in a philosophy lesson. Begging the question, straw man arguments, moving the goalposts … everything the lobbyists for the foulest corporations and political vested interests use to fool people into ignoring facts and science. Having said all that, this is a very entertaining film with surprising heart. While some critics objected to the lack of a redemption arc, I think this is more realistic and all the better for it. 9/10.

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Gunpowder Milkshake

Emmy says:
This movie had the hyper realistic feeling of an animated film, with the locations and items seeming to have their own personalities. Wonderfully acted and shot with some great combat scenes. Highly enjoyable. 9/10.

Jeff says:
An amped up action film led by female action legends? Sign me up! This movie looks and feel as good as the trailer promises – and better. The story is engaging, the characters are people you want to spend time with. The only thing that let the film down was one extended slow-motion sequence where one actor who should know better (and who’s character DEFINITELY should know better) didn’t look like they knew how to hold a gun. Given the central nature of this person in the sequence, that was rather immersion-breaking for me. Still, I want more of this sort of action film! 8/10.

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But I’m a Cheerleader

Emmy says:
Very camp and kitschy movie, fun and predictable. The costumes are an amazing mess. 7/10.

Jeff says:
We’re often reminded of older movies by a reference or a comparison in something we’ve seen in YouTube. I can’t remember what brought this back to mind – except that it was a reference to something the director said in the excellent documentary This Film is Not Yet Rated. My opinion on representation is likely not really relevant here, but I feel that it has not aged well in that department. The satire is mild and the horrific nature of ‘conversion therapy’ is let off easy here, but for 1999 it was fairly bold. Still watchable over 20 years later. 7/10.

IMDb

Awake

Emmy says:
Great premise for the film, unfortunately I would have liked a broader picture of the impact on people and their coping strategies. The narrow band of crazy depicted left me feeling let down. Good acting and filming constrained by the script. 7/10.

Jeff says:
What to do when your little intern won’t let you sleep? Watch a film about how much worse it could be! An interesting premise, and a nicely contained human drama in the middle of a (presumably) world-wide disaster. Sadly, it didn’t really pay off as the ending was obvious (to us at least) very early and many of the story choices were too cliché, too easily ‘resolved’, or both. Not a bad little film, but could have been better. 7/10.

IMDb

Black Widow

Emmy says:
Creating a movie for a character that you know will survive the film but has died in the franchise has got to be difficult to make good. This movie is not good. I was not drawn in by the conceit of the plot nor did I become invested in the characters. Wonderful action scenes as always, just without the emotional punch. 6/10.

Jeff says:
Had this film been released in story order among the other films in the MCU, this might have worked better (not the least because some of the characters could have been used in the later – now previous – films). While I don’t think the ‘prequel’ (more like an extended flashback) was that deleterious to the story, the execution was souless. Lots of pretty visuals, but nothing below the surface. Not a fitting send-off for one of the underserved original (cinematic) Avengers. 7/10.

IMDb

Singin’ in the Rain

Emmy says:
I love musicals and this is no exception. I adore the style of dancing and physical acting in this, and the costumes are just gorgeous. 10/10.

Jeff says:
This has always been one of my favourite classic movies. I feel that Donald O’Connor is unfairly overshadowed in name recognition by Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. A few YouTube clips from I Love Melvin (released the year after Singin’ in the Rain), and an inability to find some way to watch it, lead to us re-watching the much more successful predecessor. Hollywood’s love letter to the early talkies still holds its appeal – and certainly entranced our young intern, who seems to want to be Gene Kelly even before learning how to talk. 10/10.

IMDb

The Space Between Us

Emmy says:
The set up for this story was weird. It simultaneously felt incomplete and hurried, and yet dragging and bloated. The characters were well developed and the earth story was great. Very enjoyable. 8/10.

Jeff says:
An enjoyable movie. I would describe it as The Martian crossed with The Fault In Our Stars with a happy ending. I realise that is probably more spoilery that I would usually post, but it’s relevant. This movie seems to know what it wants to borrow from, but not how to integrate it all together. There’s a lot of good stuff here, but much of the interesting bits were skipped over without even a ‘xx months later’. Presuming any readers here have seen the trailer, I wanted to know more about preparing for the journey to Earth. So few montages just so the movie could be full of the results … leaving them feeling unearned. A pretty movie, with an excellent cast doing a fantastic job with what they have. 7/10.

IMDb

The Mirror Crack’d

Emmy says:
A great introduction to Miss Marple with the opening of the movie. Wonderful performances and gorgeous sets and costumes. It keeps your interest and is a comfortable film to relax with. 8/10.

Jeff says:
While not one of the better Agatha Christie stories, this was one of the first I ever saw adapted for the screen and I have a big soft spot for it. When I was young, I used to watch Murder, She Wrote – so seeing Angela Lansbury as Miss Marple was awesome. All the (even then) classic actors in one film was also fun to watch. Not especially deep, or particularly innovative, this movie is just fun and relaxing – which is all we need sometimes. 9/10.

IMDb

Macbeth (1971)

Emmy says:
I still struggle with the language of Shakespeare and I feel that my enjoyment of this film suffered for it. I was unable to empathise with any character or grasp the impetus of their motivations. The costumes were amazing for the time this was made. 7/10.

Jeff says:
Polanksi’s classic (which was a failure at the time) is a violent nihilistic masterpiece that takes the Scottish Play and shows what the play often only mentions or hints at. Tweaked to fit the world view of a man who lost his wife and unborn child to violence, and who was also somewhat pessimistic about that state of the world, this film is more about the director than the Bard even if the words belong to the latter. The cast is excellent though and the staging, costumes, and attempts at authenticity are impressive for a film 50 years old. This is not the griping tale I remember the play being, however. 7/10.

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