Wonder Woman 1984

Emmy says:
Loved the 80s outfits. Felt uncomfortable watching most of the characters. The opening sequence and the combat was wonderful, apart from the aerial combat at the end looked off. I don’t appreciate the resolution to all of the characters. In all I’m conflicted. 7/10.

Jeff says:
I don’t understand this movie. Don’t get me wrong – the plot was predictable, the resolution obvious, the visual effects were stunning. What I struggle with is all the whys. Why was it set in the 80s? Why does Wonder Woman turn into Spiderman, Thor and Superman in quick succession? Why does the obvious “we all have to do better” final act leave me bored, and why does it take so long? Why are there so many sequences where I’m left wondering if I missed something (a transition)? Why was there no direct payoff to the opening flashback? I have looked forward to this film since the end of the last one, before this film was even an idea. I’m sad that this is what it ended up being: so many missed opportunities. 6/10.

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Uncut Gems

Emmy says:
I’m not sure how I feel about this movie yet. I know I didn’t like any of the characters and felt a bit like I was watching a train wreck. The filming, directing and editing were stunning for the content, and I stayed for the end only to see how it concluded. Wanting to know that must mean it’s not a bad movie, but the characters were so well acted that I didn’t enjoy watching them. 5/10.

Jeff says:
This movie is … a lot. A lot of swearing, a lot of yelling, a lot of dumb decisions by many different characters, and a lot of time spent with very unlikeable people. The acting, however, is top notch. I don’t know that I’m on board the “Adam Sandler’s best role ever” bandwagon, but he was a force in this film. Given the background to how this story came to be, I understand the decisions made in telling this tale, but it was still a lot to take and I’m not sure I could actually recommend it to others. 7/10.

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Peppermint

Emmy says:
This movie delivers a tightly shot fervid spree of revenge, with very few extraneous scenes. Entertaining with the well choreographed combat and its predictable plot. 7/10.

Jeff says:
Decent story, although somewhat predictable. I did like that there was an in-story reason for her new-found ability to take a lot of damage – something a lot of revenge stories tend to forget. Good effects, and Jennifer Garner is always good in action. 7/10.

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The Mask

Emmy says:
Revisiting a movie from my childhood I am pleased to see it entertaining as an adult. The spectacle, costumes, music and premise hold up well. 8/10.

Jeff says:
I can still quote more than 50% of this movie, which says a lot. It’s still fun watching a young Jim Carrey when the schtick was funny and not worn-out. The soundtrack has always been the draw for me, and it still is. Interesting fact: when this came out it was the second highest grossing film based on a comic ever … after the 1978 Superman film. Not hard to see why. 9/10.

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Tenet

Emmy says:
A glorious mess of insanity. Many cool bits and convoluted choreography that was very entertaining to watch. Nolan certainly had fun. 9/10.

Jeff says:
This movie is an example of spectacle over substance. There’s also a little more than a whiff of Nolan’s pride at his own cleverness that isn’t really deserved. Full disclosure: I missed around 20 minutes near the start because our ‘little intern’ was being a bit loud, but I don’t think I missed anything of substance and it didn’t mean any of the plot elements were lost on me. The hook of this film is interesting, and executed faithfully in parts, but there are so many obvious flaws or pitfalls that were just ignored or hand-waved over. The set pieces were excellent, and one particular event that features both early and late in the piece was actually a delight even when clearly telegraphed. Acting was good, casting was top shelf, no expense spared on the visuals … but I was left underwhelmed by the narrative being told (or not told). 8/10.

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Enola Holmes

Emmys says:
The fantastic settings are shot to wonderful effect in this whirlwind of a story. Absolutely love the costumes and characters, and enjoyed discovering the facts with them. Great fun with the breaking of the fourth wall. 9/10.

Jeff says:
Not surprised this is based on the first book in a series … too much setup for there not to be (possible) sequels. I am completely there for them though! Well written and very well acted. There is some surprising darkness and even forthright violence which is more that I would have expected from something that might be considered a “kids” film. Well worth watching. 9/10.

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Star Trek: Nemesis

Just after Star Trek Day we wrap up the movie franchise with the last outing for the Next Generation crew …

Emmy says:
So many parts of this movie are great but the cohesion is missing. Wonderful exploration of Picard and Shinzon, yet the Data and B-4 dynamic was woefully lacking. Amazing design and implementation of the Scimitar, and bizarre showing off of the new vehicles added to The Enterprise. I’m not sure how I feel about this movie, though I am wondering about the status of the Romulans after the governmental meeting. 7/10.

Jeff says:
I enjoy all the movies, and wasn’t ever as “against” this one as some fans were. There were a lot of strong elements … and you could see even then that Tom Hardy had greatness in his future. Sadly, this film didn’t serve the characters as well as they deserved. Having watched an “all the deleted scenes” video, I wonder what the thought process was … all the character work was left on the cutting room floor! Unusually, this is a movie that could have done with being longer. 6/10.

IMDb

Identity

Emmy says:
Amazing actors portraying a melange of characters that have a rich interaction with each other. Tidbits of information are sprinkled throughout the narrative that allude to the oddness cultivated by the ten strangers. I found this very enjoyable although slightly jarring at the end. 8/10.

Jeff says:
Definitely worth a watch, mostly for the incredible talent on screen doing a brilliant job. So many “I know that one!” faces in the cast. Unfortunately, a fairly formulaic thriller for the most part – fake-outs and deaths at the predictable beats. The central conceit of the film is telegraphed early for the observant so while the ending didn’t jar for me, it only barely covered the implausibility. 7/10 mostly for the acting.

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Star Trek: Insurrection

We’re getting there … in the last season of ST:DS9 and keeping up with Voyager. When we get to the next (and last) of the Prime-timeline movies, the seasons will have run out …

Emmy says:
The scale of the dilemma might have only been planet-wide, but the depth of the characters and narrative was astronomical. It was very good to have a Star Trek movie with a small local problem that focused on character development. The spectacle was still there, with the Briar Patch and the cute alien pet. Definitely a favourite. 9/10.

Jeff says:
This is probably my favourite ST:TNG movie. I prefer story over special effects, and this one is told well. There’s still enough Treknobable and space battles for those that need them – including some surprising features of the Enterprise-E. Watching this in line with the TV shows was fascinating to see story points from the shows worked in. Marvel, that’s how you integrate TV and movies! Eminently re-watchable. 9/10.

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Star Trek: First Contact

Having voyaged deep into ST:DS9 and ST:VOY we come back to the Next Generation crew to find out what’s been happening …

Emmy says:
I like Star Trek so I feel very let down with this film. With Deep Space Nine and Voyager mid-season at the time of release there was no way the mission failed. The stakes were just not there; the beats were formulaic and predictable; and the characters were flat and running on a one-track emotional arc. Pretty scene on the underside of the Enterprise. 4/10.

Jeff says:
Not one of the better outings, but still pretty to watch. “Blow up the Enterprise” really needs to stop being a solution to everything. I think the creators of Star Trek blundered with the Borg … it’s really hard to find a way to make them lose without looking like a cheat. This film had some interested ideas of exploring how the trek through space got started (First Contact), but to get there required a horrid MacGuffin (Borg and the ever-disappointing time travel) which overtook the more interesting storyline. 6/10.

IMDb

The Old Guard

Emmy says:
An outstanding piece of art with strong characters all round. The combat is wonderfully choreographed and shot, without revelling in violence. I’m left wanting the continuation of the story. 10/10.

Jeff says:
What looks like it should be a by-the-numbers action shoot-’em-up is, instead, a somewhat thoughtful exploration of what it means to be these people. There is great action, and it’s as efficient, effective, and brutal as the skills of the protagonists themselves. Once again, I really appreciate when film-makers don’t have to resort to smart people becoming inexplicably dumb in order to hit a plot point. I also appreciate the light touch with flash-backs and exposition. A great movie, I’m keen to see these characters again. 10/10.

IMDb

Hamilton

Emmy says:
So happy to finally see this show after falling in love with the soundtrack years ago. The choreography, staging and costumes really add to the production and the filming brings the audience directly onto the stage. 10/10.

Jeff says:
While a filming of a stage production, this is a movie where you also get the close-ups and tracking that you can’t get from sitting in a theatre seat. The best of both worlds, done very well. It’s sad that we weren’t able to see this on the big screen, but we’re even keener to see the live stage show when it finally comes to Australia next year. 10/10.

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