Joker

Emmy says:
A truly uneasy film to watch with a narrator so unreliable I have no idea what actually happened. Some great camera work with the constant face only close ups juxtaposed with scenic shots of a narrow/confined environment. The acting by Phoenix was fully immersive and I found it seriously unsettling. 8/10.

Jeff says:
I did not enjoy this film. It was exceedingly well made, and tells the story in a way that is thought-provoking. The characters are well-acted. Unfortunately, the story ‘punches down’ – making mental illness the spectacle and wallowing in someone’s misery. While effective, this is never something I can enjoy (personal preference/viewpoint). I also have a few other issues, in terms of how some characters are served (or rather, not served) by the story. For a movie trying to be edgy, some of the choices made seem safe – and the movie suffered as a result. 7/10.

IMDb

 

Knives Out

Emmy says:
A great who-dun-it with an amazing cast. The delivery of information is wonderful with the audience getting the characters memories contrasted with what they say. Absolutely love the setting and knitwear! 9/10.

Jeff says:
I knew I wanted to see this the moment i heard about it … this cast, this director, a whodunit? What’s amazing is that it didn’t disappoint – it was BETTER than I had anticipated. The amount of detail given out through unreliable narration gives the armchair sleuth much to mull over. Even with the knowledge we are granted, there’s still tension leading into the denouement which is a feat in and of itself. An instant classic. 10/10.

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

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

Emmy says:
This movie is ridiculous and leans into it full-tilt. The opening sequence is beautiful with the POV character. The banter is rapid fire and pointed, and left me laughing. The music was awesome. Great story with physics from another universe. So much fun with vehicles and weapons while still including heart. 10/10.

Jeff says:
This is dumb fun. The franchise has turned into a parody of itself at this point. Strangely though, it works. The action is spectacular, and wholly unbelievable: literally, I do not believe that half of what I saw is actually possible. Some of the tech choices baffle me, as an opponent could be just as formidable without what we were actually shown as “guidance”. If you want an augmented human, watch Upgrade, this was a let down on that front. Once again for this franchise the villain is where this movie is let down most, but once again it doesn’t really matter. This was a riot from start to finish and had some truly epic sequences regardless of issues with reality. 9/10.

IMDb

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.

IMDb

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.

IMDb

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.

IMDb

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.

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

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

Emmy says:
Having the previous movies to stand on this one wasted no time with unnecessary dialogue, leaving room for the insane amount of bullets and the appropriate amount of reloading without skimping on the hand to hand combat. Savage, bloody and beautiful. 10/10

Jeff says:
Brutal, realistic fights. All show, no tell, including things I’ve never seen before in fight choreography. Having said that, the first movie made the pain and damage realistic: you felt his pain. In this movie Wick was almost indestructible in combat, and barely slowed down when it really mattered, although he ‘felt’ it later when there weren’t any stakes. The creative fight choreography more than made up for it though, and the characters are still wonderful to watch. Brilliant. 10/10.

IMDb

Pokémon Detective Pikachu

Emmy says:
A great story to introduce a live action Pokémon world, whether you’re new or knowledgeable about Pokémon. Very well acted and the CGI was well done. I’m keen to see more in this world, but next time I want to actually feel like there are stakes. 9/10.

Jeff says:
An excellent entry point to a wider world – this movie gives a tight character-driven story that happens to have world-sized consequences. Great acting, and top-rate CG made for an entertaining story that only felt flat, ironically, in a mountainous scene that had too much distracting CG debris to really feel like you were involved in the scene. While some hand-waving occurred, the resolution was a surprise I feel I should have seen coming but didn’t – and was blessedly not spoiled by the trailer. Please don’t ruin it for anyone else. I want to see more of the world, but I feel like it could only work as an anthology (ie, different people next time). 9/10.

IMDb

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