Ant-Man and the Wasp

Emmy says:
I prefer to go into movies with no idea of what is coming. I avoid trailers where possible. This is one I didn’t manage to miss, and I must say I think using film from the cutting room floor is brilliant. We are given a taste of what’s to come, yet don’t have anything spoiled. As for the movie itself: the story was cohesive with a bit too much going on at once, but engaging enough to make you not care. I was taken on a journey of quantum entanglement with my various reactions. 8/10.

Jeff says:
There really isn’t much in the way of stakes in this movie – it feels as if the writers had three or four ideas that wouldn’t sustain a whole movie so thought “what if we put them all together in the same movie?” Ultimately, it worked but it felt artificial. The characters are still fun to spend time with, and while back story was rushed and more tell-not-show,  it hints at some interesting questions. It wasn’t trying to be deep though – the riotous end credits reflected the campy 80’s feel this movie was going for and on that the whole film delivered … right up until it kicked you in the guts. 9/10.

IMDb

Split

Emmy says:
It’s a pity I saw the trailer before the movie, because I’m curious as to when I would have picked up on all the different personalities. I want to know more about the Horde. I was definitely along for the ride, but that was because the acting was driving (the story was in the back seat). I just wish the film generated more of an empathetic response. My rating is only this high because of James McAvoy. 9/10.

Jeff says:
This movie was worth all the hype. A Shyamalan/Blumhouse film almost sounds like it shouldn’t work, and yet it does – amazingly well. Most of this comes down to James McAvoy’s incredible performances (since he had many roles). Sadly, the rest of the cast were almost disposable – while they also acted amazingly well, they weren’t well serviced by the script. I sense, watching this, that the world-building (I can’t spoilt that now, can I?) at the end was tacked on … I feel the film would have ended better with McAvoy’s last scene. Still, hyped for the next film in this world. 9/10.

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O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Emmy says:
Absolutely loved the sepia-toned colour correction, the use of real-life character cameos, and the ingenious use of period accurate music. An absolutely fun ride, and one I will definitely revisit. 10/10.

Jeff says:
After finally getting the Mrs to start watching Fargo (the TV series), I wanted to give her a direct taste of the Coen Brothers. I saw this movie when it first came out, and I have always loved it. The music is amazing, even if the dubbing is terrible when it comes to the singing. This was one of the first Coen Brothers movies I saw where I knew it theirs going in (and what that meant). Great characters, and fantastic dialogue. The reworking of Homer’s The Odyssey is well done without being too obvious along the way. The digital colour-correction lends a old-fashioned look, and adds to the surreal quality of the story. I wonder what Coen Brothers film I should introduce her to next? 10/10.

IMDb

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Emmy says:
I brought my inner 4 year old out to watch this movie, particularly to see if it was child -friendly. The volcano erupted, dinosaurs ate people, threw people around, headbutted things and did lots of posturing roars. All things to love, for a child (if they are a dinosaur fan). I found myself laughing in moments that would have an adult on edge – look those people are trying to get away from a dinosaur! Any scariness that could be seen was just funny to me. I was sad at a few points: the lava flow caused a sad, as did a moment with a caged dinosaur in the last act. I did like the ending of this movie and am curious if there will be more to this franchise. 🦖🦕🦖🦕🦖🦕🦖🦕🦖/10.

Jeff says:
I confess to having an issue with these films – the Velociraptors are now pets like Yoshi in Super Mario Bros (the much maligned Bob Hoskins movie). Similar to turning the T-800 into the good guy, except there programming changes make it reasonable. Having that off my chest, the movie is a fun ride that’s actually more interesting than the trailer lets on, and has much more story than Jurassic World. The CG is, as always, amazing. The music is understated and not overly mawkish. For so much killing, there’s not a lot of blood. The Tylocephale in Act II steals the show for me. The best of these since the original Jurassic Park. 9/10.

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The Shawshank Redemption

Emmy says:
I like how dialogue was taken directly from the book for this film. The condensing of characters (like the warden) streamlined the film for audiences. The use of colour (restricted to browns, blues and greys inside, compared to outside) was excellent. A very nice film. 8/10.

Jeff says:
I have always loved this movie. There are liberties with the source story – some simplifications for the sake of time while others involved very different story arcs for those characters. There’s nothing wrong with that – and it helps keep the suspense for those who had already read the book. I consider this a great adaptation of a King story despite this. I found myself noticing for the first time the absence of background music – the real quiet was palpable at key moments. Well acted by all, and Darabont’s direction was outstanding. 9/10.

IMDb

Cujo

Emmy says:
The content of the book definitely got stripped down for this movie adaptation, only the bare bones survived. How they were executed conveyed the story well. It was not comfortable watching the final act with Cujo at his worst. 8/10.

Jeff says:
I wonder why this isn’t in more lists of good Stephen King adaptions? For a 93 minute run-time, of course things would need to be truncated which means leaving things out (or to the imagination). Honestly, there are things that could have been left out to give more time for other things … but that’s not what they did. Just about everything in the movie (except for something I won’t spoil) is straight from the book (or close enough to it). Essentially, this was Cliff Notes on screen. The dog handling was amazing, and the use of ‘Cujo-view’ to avoid having the dog-actor at risk was masterfully done. 8/10.

IMDb

Salem’s Lot (2004)

Emmy says:
A much truer adaption of the book than the 1976 film, but sorely lacking interest in Part 1. The characters are not very likeable and there is a dearth of ‘real’ conversations. I find myself not actually caring how this movie gets around to it’s version of the prologue as it is significantly different to the book. Part 2 is definitely the better half, I found myself enjoying the conversations between the characters and the unique death of vampires (hitting the ceiling and dissipating into ash). Unfortunately the lack of empathy generated by the characters leaves this feeling like a daytime movie that happens to feature vampires and does not instil any sense of fear into the viewer. Fun, but not horror, in my opinion. 7/10  (I gave the 1979 version 6/10).

Jeff says:
To be upfront, I think I wanted to see this more because it was filmed in a town we know rather than for the story. Even though it was updated to modern times (they have mobile phones!), it still had an old-fashioned quality about it. Liberties were taken from the book (but different ones to the first version), although Barlow was done more faithfully this time (even though there’s a story about Rutger Hauer not learning his lines and wanting to ad-lib). The characters were strange. After the first half, I didn’t like anyone and cared more about getting to the end than what happened. However, the second half was much more enjoyable and had some actually good moments. Still not much of a horror story apart from having vampires, but it was enjoyable enough and certainly not bad for a Stephen King adaptation. 7/10 (I gave the 1979 version 5/10).

IMDb

Ocean’s 8

Emmy says:
As somebody who’s enjoyment of a film is directly related to my emotional involvement, I wasn’t as receptive to this style of story. It is possible the trailer made me expect more than was delivered, especially with my soft-spot for fashion given the event featured. A plot with too many mechanisms operating behind the curtain. 5/10.

Jeff says:
The Oceans films are fun hi-jinks – that’s really it. It’s about the characters and the riffing between them – the heist itself is almost secondary. This follows the same formula, just with a new cast. The cast are fun and likeable, the caper was realistic in terms of the current technological state of the world. It might, however, be telling when you can spot a continuity error easily. Entertaining popcorn film, but not much depth. 7/10.

(Guest Reaction) Bruce says:
Entertaining, finished strongly. 5/10.

IMDb

Hereditary

Emmy says:
How to review this one without spoilers? I was blindsided a few times with this, I enjoyed the tension carried throughout, and the ending left me wanting more. 7/10.

Jeff says:
What the hell did I just watch? There was a palpable, unsettling, tension throughout most of the film, using many excellent techniques to ratchet up the suspense without resorting to cheap jump scares. Sound is used amazingly well. Scenes focusing on close-ups on the characters’ face leaves you wondering what’s coming. Generally the cinematography was excellent. Unfortunately, I feel that the ending let the film down for me. I can’t say more without spoiling the film and you should see this without any advance information. I can say that I’m pleased the trailer didn’t give anything away – I was not prepared for what happened. Given this was from a first-time writer-director, it is an impressive effort. 7/10.

(Guest Reaction) Marion says:
The effects were quite good, but it seemed to take a while to get going. 7/10.

(Guest Reaction) Bruce says:
Slow to start, it improved and was an interesting ending. 6/10.

IMDb

Anon

Emmy says:
Intriguing, terrifying and odd. I’m not sure how I feel about this movie, but I did want to see how it ended, so I guess it was good. Watching white collar “work” is disconcerting, understanding that people can not always trust what they see is unsettling. I think I trust what I saw. 7/10.

Jeff says:
A measured (some might say slow) head-trip of a film. What happens when everything you see and hear is recorded and available for playback – but not just for you? While this movie is fundamentally a warning about invasion of privacy, I saw a warning about the reliance on technology for memory. This film won’t suit everyone, ‘how’ is never explained and the concepts presented are quite unsettling. Still, an interesting film well made. 8/10.

IMDb

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Emmy says:
I watch movies expecting to be taken on a ride, Solo lived up to its name by not letting me get on. There was a handful of laughs the script got out of me, but nothing to be invested in. How do you do high stakes with a character that cocky? They never think anything will happen to themselves and therefore never convey a sense of urgency or peril to the audience. The lighting during the first two scenes is hazy and smoky and I may have missed something there. 5/10.

Jeff says:
Lots of fan service in this one … whether that helped or harmed is debatable. The problem with prequels is knowing in advance how it all turns out. This dramatically reduces the tension and emotional investment in any particular moment. It doesn’t help when the people we’re following also act like there’s no real consequences to anything, because they’re all cocky space pirates. It would be like watching Oceans 11 if you’ve already seen Oceans 13. The set pieces were good, the things I wanted to see going in were all there, but the moments where they tried to directly tie it into the larger story just confused me (I had to work it out later). Fun, but not greater than the sum of it’s parts. 7/10.

IMDb

The Bookshop

Emmy says:
I love that cardigan. And that jumper. That cape! I can’t stop staring at the metallic branches on the fabric, the gold outlined in brown on a taupe background … just stunning. The sounds of the water and the birds are so soothing. It’s like a holiday. Oh there’s a plot here too, one that doesn’t ruin itself by becoming a love story. The awkwardness of an introvert with determination is marvellously done. The halting conversation over a ineptly organised tea was perfect. The eyes not meeting the person being talked to. Did I mention that cape? I think I may have found a movie I will love watching over and over. If only the ending didn’t feel so abrupt compared to the rural life of the story beforehand. 9/10.

Jeff says:
A gorgeously shot film with excellent performances from all involved. Emily Mortimer carries the film well, with a quiet and understated performance of a woman who doesn’t quite understand why the rest of the world is being so rubbish. Bill Nighy is his usual self, but turned up to 11, in a perfect portrayal of a man who would rather not have to talk to people in person. The rest of the cast is just as good. The problem I had with the film was that it seems to stop so abruptly – and at the end of the second act. I feel like there’s a finale missing – but perhaps that was the source material, and ‘real life’ isn’t like that. Things do just ‘stop’. Still, it soured the film a little for me. 6/10.

IMDb

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