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.

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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

The Faculty

Emmy says:
These characters give the first impression of one note stereotypes, yet they are shown to be complex and nuanced throughout the movie. I really loved the use of the camera focusing on characters not involved in the conversation going on in the scene. The effects hold up after 20 years. Packed with some real gems 8/10.

Jeff says:
This is one of those movies I saw when it came out and am now showing Emmy. It’s not original, but it’s good fun. Like From Dusk Til Dawn (another Robert Rodriguez film) good characters, interesting angle on a classic formula, and good humour mixed with the gore makes for a great time. So many now well known actors in this movie, all looking so young! The main takeaway for me this time was how effective the music was at building dread and tension … the cover of Another Brick in the Wall at the start, in particular. Deservedly a cult classic. 9/10.

IMDb

Die Hard with a Vengeance

Emmy says:
A visual spectacle, using bullets and blood to great effect. I think the script writers had a wonderful time with all the riddles and banter. A lot of fun. 8/10.

Jeff says:
I love this movie so much. It is far and away my favourite Die Hard film. It is a perfect mix of cop procedural, action adventure, and suspense. Each step makes sense (in the end) and the characters feel realistic. Entertaining side characters (hi Jerry!) that don’t feel forced even when they are convenient. Jeremy Irons is brilliant and Bruce Willis continues to live the role of McClane. 10/10.

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Fate of the Furious

Film 8 in preparation for Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

Emmy says:
This went right to the ridiculous. Turning rogue really doesn’t work with Toretto and keeping the reason from the audience makes it worse. Dodging around God’s Eye becomes interesting, but how was that meeting ever set up? Too much tech and hacking. Cool cars are a huge casualty and become a one-liner. I’m not even going to mention that sub. 5/10.

Jeff says:
Over the top, bad physics, high-tech hand-waving away plot contrivances … this had it all (and not in a good way). I understand having to raise the stakes, but at this point the only thing left is racing in low earth orbit. Please tell me that’s not coming next. A let-down for the series, story-wise, but still entertaining despite the problems. Baby Toretto is a star though. 7/10.

IMDb

Furious Seven

Film 7 in preparation for Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

Emmy says:
Insanity. Just pure insanity. A rollercoaster of a ride with crazy heights. Hilarious fun with an amazing tribute at the end. 8/10.

Jeff says:
The films continue to top themselves, but are self-aware enough to point out the insanity. Some of the parts are starting to wear (what exactly is the point of Roman?) and other components are due for a rotation before they fall off, but it’s still fun and the new characters are interesting additions. A fitting final ride for Paul Walker. 8/10.

IMDb

Furious 6

Film 6 in preparation for Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

Emmy says:
Gripping story with some fast banter. Cars are still amazing. Scratch that. Vehicles are incredible! Sympathetic characters really drew me in. 9/10.

Jeff says:
High-powered excitement that hasn’t yet run out of ways to make driving fast, and pretty cars, a thing. At this point, we’re here for the hi-jinks and the characters – and by now the characters are our family too. Loses hurt more, and gains feel all the sweeter. Still, the villains are under-developed and almost irrelevant apart from getting us to the next spectacle (which is, of course, awesome). 8/10.

IMDb

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