Ladies in Black

Film #2 of the ‘we forgot to go to the cinema’ movie weekend. We were going to watch McQueen and found out we were too late … we didn’t want that to happen for the other movies on our list.

Emmy says:
A mesmerising journey through Australia’s enchanting 1950’s. 10/10.

Jeff says:
This film took Bruce Beresford 30 years to make. It was worth it. This is a delightful film centred around the lives of women working for a department store in Sydney in the 1950’s. While that might not sound interesting, the lives of these women – their families, their dreams and aspirations, starting to deal with a changing demographic and what that means – was both emotional and uplifting in parts and sometimes at the same time. While there were obviously negatives for some in Sydney in the 50’s that this film doesn’t explore, this film was honest in the lives of the people represented. A truly wonderful film. 10/10.

IMDb

The House with a Clock in Its Walls

Film #1 of the ‘we forgot to go to the cinema’ movie weekend. We were going to watch McQueen and found out we were too late … we didn’t want that to happen for the other movies on our list.

Emmy says:
The costumes and sets are glorious and are perfect for the splendiferous lines delivered throughout. I was magnificently entertained. 9/10.

Jeff says:
A gorgeous and stylish film, this movie starts strongly but starts to flag as the magic in the story replaces the magic of storytelling. The acting is fantastic, but the material is more like a long Goosebumps episode. Apparently the books this is based on predate Harry Potter, Miss Peregrine and all the other special magic child kids books, but on screen it seems derivative which is unfortunate. In the end, I loved everything that didn’t involve the villain (who was a detraction from the otherwise delightfully whimsical story). 8/10.

IMDb

Tragedy Girls

Emmy says:
What did I just watch? And who do I tell to watch it? I started this movie with no knowledge of it, and was taken nowhere I expected. Interesting story line, great scenery and amazing use of social media. 9/10.

Jeff says:
Well, that was different. A slasher film for the social media generation, this movie is less about the slaughter and more about the likes. As an attempt to eviscerate the trending-obsessed it cut deep. Some of the cinematography was excellent, and much better than a movie like this really deserves. The main characters were rather irritating, but I think that was part of the point. Kevin Durand was perfect. I loved how the girls had no reason for their ways given – they had loving families and were not social outcasts. A different approach that mostly pays off. 8/10.

IMDb

The Domestics

Emmy says:
I found that I had put down my knitting repeatedly throughout this movie, that’s not a normal occurrence. I was impressed with the individual qualities of the various people in this story. Tyler has wonderful facial expressions that convey his internal monologue succinctly. Hooked to the end. 9/10.

Jeff says:
A gritty survival ‘horror’ film, this movie has an interesting meta-narrative about the psychological reactions to world-changing events. When society breaks down, seeming for good, what do you do? No punches are pulled with the violence, which is realistic but not gratuitous, this movie is an amazing feat. Some balance issues due to skipping from one set-up to the next (with apparently nothing happening in between?) and some characterisations lack explanation. Still, when you feel deeply for a character who has literally two words in the film, you know something is done right. 8/10.

IMDb

Central Intelligence

Emmy says:
Good story, great lines, lots of fun and totally not supportive of bullies. 9/10.

Jeff says:
I have always had a problem with comedies that rely on laughing at people, rather than at what happens. This movie relied on it a little too much for my taste. Other than that, it was a fun and entertaining ride, although somewhat predictable. Good popcorn film, but not much more than that. 7/10.

(Guest Reaction) Marion says:
It was a good movie, I liked it. I’ve come to the conclusion that I like any movie with Dwayne Johnson in it. 8/10.

IMDb

The Babysitter

Emmy says:
Started strong and nerdy but fell in the last act. 7/10.

Jeff says:
I had heard good things about this movie, and had been suggesting we watch it for a while. An interesting setup, filled with feel-good moments in Act 1 which led to a spectacular turnaround in Act 2. Unfortunately, trying to fit a TV episode-length idea into a feature film runtime led to padding and pacing issues that let down Act 3. I did appreciate the surprising depth of complex feelings shown by characters that could have just as easily been flat and lifeless. Worth checking, but ultimately a little disappointing. 7/10.

IMDb

Smokey and the Bandit

Emmy says:
There’s fun, laughter, and equality in spades in this! 9/10.

Jeff says:
In memory of the passing of Burt Reynolds (I presume that’s why, anyway), Netflix had Smokey and the Bandit available. I remembered loving this movie, but it had been years since I watched it – how does it hold up in a much more PC world? For a film released in 1977, it’s very modern. Still lots of fun, relatable characters, great dynamic between Reynolds and Sally Field. It’s great to know that some movies are still awesome 40 years later. 9/10.

(Guest Reaction) Marion says:
A very enjoyable film with lots of cars getting wrecked. 9/10.

(Guest Reaction) Bruce the Loquacious says:
It was really good. 7/10.

IMDb

Teen Titans Go! to the Movies

Emmy says:
A fun partying story with some wonderful insertions for adults. Definitely a number of laughing out loud moments. 7/10.

Jeff says:
Listening to reviews I believe, this movie was going to be awesome for adults and children alike. I’m not completely sure that was entirely accurate, but it was definitely fun. There were gags for the adults, gags for the kids, serious moments, fun moments, cameos, call backs and cross-overs. It was the big screen epitome of a Teen Titans Go! episode, and what more could you actually ask for? As an adult, it flagged a little towards the end of the second act, as it’s hard to make jokes work in the “rock bottom” phase of the hero’s journey (and Teen Titans Go! doesn’t work as a serious story). Good (and in some cases, surprising) voice acting and a good story for a good family film. 7/10.

(Guest Reaction) Jono says:
Thoroughly enjoyable. Although aimed at children, I enjoyed every moment. 7/10.

(Guest Reaction) Erin says:
Enjoyed most of it. Some parts were slow, but the funny moments made it worth it. 7/10.

(Guest Reaction) Children say:
A fun movie (they) would happily see again. 7/10.

IMDb

Cargo

Emmy says:
This movie tears the emotions straight from your chest, no holding back with the horrors of the story. Beautiful acting, more physical than vocal, exquisite scenery, real dialogue. Stunning. 10/10.

Jeff says:
Based on a Tropfest finalist written and directed by the same people, this movie is an exceptionally well-told and well made movie. Don’t let it being a “Netflix Original” let you think it’s anything less than cinema quality. A tightly focused story centring around one man doing what he has to to save his baby daughter. I really don’t want to say more, because it’s best not knowing going in. The cast is amazing; the scenery and locations are incredible; the story is tense, tight and believable. The violence was brutal, but on point: nothing showy, just the reality of the situation. I’m excited for what these filmmakers do next. 10/10.

IMDb

The Mist (2007 Film)

Emmy says:
People really react differently to fear, this movie displays a variety of emotional responses. An extremely well adapted version of the novella, which left out a plot point, to its own benefit and with a different end to the story which feels like a punch to the guts. 9/10.

Jeff says:
This film is rightly considered one of the great Stephen King adaptations. Darabont’s direction is once again on-point (he also directed The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile). Darabont knows how to make Stephen King’s material work for the screen – and he does it not by insisting on faithful translation but rather by using what works best on film in the time allowed to tell the same story in a slightly different way. The changed ending is brilliant (and King-approved), and the other changes simplify and clarify in a way that King’s over rambling tales struggle with. Unfortunately, some of the excised material makes motivations seem less realistic because we don’t understand the place they’re coming from. This leads to some decisions that I question being made. However, as Emmy said, people react differently to fear – and this was well demonstrated. 9/10.

IMDb

Power Rangers

Emmy says:
Fun and adventure without leaving town. Distinct characters that were interesting to watch, though had plenty of scope for development. Some great camera work. 8/10.

Jeff says:
So I watched Film Joy Media’s Deep Dive on this film, and it made me want to watch it. Like us, they seem to want to enjoy movies – even if they’ve been given a bad name. I remember thinking the trailer for this looked cool in a cheesy way – but then, that’s what the Power Rangers were: cheesy. Created to sell toys, like GI Joe or Transformers, what should we expect? This film had surprising heart, and an excellent moral of being there for each other regardless of differences. The conversations were realistic, the behaviours believable. The fight scene at the end was pure old-school Power Rangers with a shiny new coat. This is not Shakespeare, but it was pretty darn good. 8/10.

IMDb

The Happytime Murders

Emmy says:
The crass humour was jarring, although there were funny one-liners. The puppet work didn’t stand out as anything special. Not sure what else to say. 6/10.

Jeff says:
“Remember, this is low-brow.” I said this as the movie started, and it certainly helped me through the more cringe-worthy moments. There was some attempt at race coding (puppets as allegory for racial minorities) but not enough was done with it to make it more than tokenism. The explicit content was there for shock value (because puppets!) but Avenue Q did it much better without the overt vulgarity. The central story was cliched (although that has to be at least partly deliberate due to some of the obvious homages). Having said all that, I enjoyed it more than it had any right to expect. 8/10.

IMDb

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