Brightburn

Emmy says:
Well this movie is committed. The effects are not the best and the plot points are obvious before they turn up. Definitely indulges in the gore and a few jump scares. Fun with the wrong song for the credits (might seduce your dad type?). 6/10.

Jeff says:
This is a nasty film with an interesting premise. Having said that, horror but with super-powers isn’t especially new. The characters aren’t likeable; bad decisions abound; and ‘born this way’ is a cheap cop out. The effects are C-grade at best. On the other hand, moments that I thought were definitely leading to a jump ‘scare’ didn’t … and I give them credit for the restraint. Could have been a lot better, though. 5/10.

IMDb

Hidden Figures

Emmy says:
A powerful movie showing the drive and dedication of these wonderful women. Emotionally charged and beautifully acted. 10/10.

Jeff says:
A compelling tale of three incredible women during the birth of the space race and the death throws of overt segregation in America. A seamless blend of maths, science, action, drama and social politics. Deftly and sensitively told, this movie is a delight as well as thought provoking. You know the movie is doing well when we know what happens but still feel tension at the moments of risk. 10/10.

IMDb

The Huntsman: Winter’s War

Emmy says:
A pretty fantasy that’s fairly predictable. Fun to watch. 6/10.

Jeff says:
Snow White and the Huntsman was part of a Hollywood fever dream in the early 2010’s that involved remaking classic fairy tales into something else (a couple of years later Maleficent would do a much better job of it). Somehow, a sequel – that became a spin-off that wrapped around the first movie – got made. It went through various creative types and took a while to make up its mind what it was. I’m not sure it ever really sorted itself out. This was a by-the-numbers, wholly predictable, uninspired spin-off to a movie that wasn’t that spectacular to begin with. 4/10.

IMDb

Jumanji

Emmy says:
Although the CG has dated the story holds strong. A wonderful disaster of a game with spectacular consequences. Very enjoyable 7/10.

Jeff says:
Sometimes a movie calls for a remake – not because it was bad, but because it deserved better. This movie deserved better than the CGI used to create the animals. Even for the mid-90s the effects were bad. Sadly, any remake would mean losing Robin Williams, and that isn’t worth it. There’s a reason why this movie took so long to get a sequel … and was considered such a risk when it did, this movie is a gem. 9/10.

IMDb

Dora and the Lost City of Gold

Emmy says:
Surprisingly entertaining for someone who has never watched the cartoon. Great casting, wonderful settings, fun humour. 7/10.

Jeff says:
What on earth was that? I am too old to have seen the cartoon, but I am aware of it and it’s place in the cultural zeitgeist of youngsters. This … both leveraged off that and went in a new direction at the same time. Entertaining and outright funny in places, other parts were cringe-worthy as I struggled with the reality-breaking call-backs. Still, an engaging film with a lot to offer. 7/10.

IMDb

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.

IMDb

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.

IMDb

 

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.

IMDb

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.

IMDb

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.

IMDb

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

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

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