Dune

Emmy says:
I found this movie very slow and not really engaging. The costumes are spectacular. The special effects have aged and the rubble of damaged sets looks weightless and paper mache like. Even with a huge amount of world building from the books being left out (I have not read these) I was able to follow easily enough. 6/10.

Jeff says:
I have always loved this movie. It made me want to read the books … and I did, and went on to read ALL the books including the prequels and pre-prequels. David Lynch considers it his one failure, and fans of the books (mostly) seem to hate it for having too little of the story in it. Interestingly, this time around I found it a little slow – I don’t remember feeling that way before (perhaps I was sensing the mood described above). There is so much here that I love and remember fondly, I guess I forgot about the slow bits in between. A good example of telling instead of showing, but there’s so much in the source material that’s internal it’s hard not to. It will be interesting to see what Villeneuve does with the remake. 7/10.

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The Invisible Man

Emmy says:
Elizabeth Moss has delivered an absolutely incredible performance with this movie. It took her less than 2 minutes to have me anxious about her situation with almost no sound. The voyeuristic positioning for the cameras certainly increased the feeling of paranoia. Music was wonderfully done with many patches of silence and loud obnoxious pieces that kept me on edge. I do love this interpretation of Wells’ Invisible Man. 10/10.

Jeff says:
From the first scene, I was tense and on edge. This movie holds you and doesn’t let go. This is one movie where you should know what it’s about before seeing it for two reasons: firstly, if this is going to give you uncomfortable connections to your own or someone you know’s past you might find this too unpleasant (it’s that effective!); and secondly, there are so many shots tracking away to an empty part of the room … you have to wonder if there’s something you’re supposed to be seeing there, which ramps up the tension for the audience. Cleverly crafted, compellingly conveyed, cathartic climax. 10/10.

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Fantasy Island

Emmy says:
Some great effects and setup. Problem is that the third act twist was completely jarring for me and didn’t gel with what had been presented beforehand, which completely broke the movies spell over me and I was jaded with the ending. To me this is not a case of insufficient information to understand the curve ball, but a case of conflict with previous character portrayal. Really enjoyed the movie until that point. 6/10.

Jeff says:
This has been panned by most reviews I’ve seen or read. I get that. It’s not great. On the other hand, it’s a darker version of the series it’s based on – which never wanted to explore the darkness of “getting your fantasy”. The remake touched on it, but didn’t last long enough. This movie had good effects, some interesting characters, a good premise, but spoils it. Some have said the ending makes no sense, and while I can create an explanation from what we were given that explains everything … I shouldn’t have to. This deserves better … but from the writers first. 6/10.

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Parasite

Emmy says:
I was completely absorbed in where this story was heading, and none of the characters were really likeable. The situations shown were really hard hitting and provided more emotional response than the actors within. Not to diminish the acting here, each character has so much depth on display. 10/10.

Jeff says:
This movie deserves all the awards. Brilliantly shot, excellently acted, amazing story. I still don’t quite know what to say without spoiling. This movie makes some interesting commentary about how one opportunity can be the difference between success and penury. My only qualm is after the set up and before the climax it dragged a little … but it’s a small quibble that might well be just me. Well worth seeing, especially if you can avoid spoilers. 9/10.

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Sonic the Hedgehog

Emmy says:
Light-hearted fun with many silly parts. Jim Carrey was a good Robotnik, yet even still it seems I do not enjoy watching him. Ending was nice, with the expected cliffhanger for another movie. 6/10.

Jeff says:
It’s harsh to say it, but as someone who was a Sonic player instead of a Mario player … I’d rather watch Super Mario Bros again than watch this. Predictable, except where it the decisions were incomprehensible, although entertaining enough if you realise it’s for kids. The problem I had is that this movie is relying on nostalgia that the ages it’s aimed at won’t have. Some of the ‘jokes’ that didn’t land are also way too adult – and quite frankly disturbing (since when is encouraging a sister to end her happy marriage funny?) The CG rework was worth it, but the story needed work too. 5/10.

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Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn

Emmy says:
The disjointed story telling was perfect for this film and no effort was wasted in trying to make the characters sympathetic. Absolutely enjoyed the Fun Gun and completely blown away by the fight choreography in the third act, and that’s without the spectacular use of the sets. An insanely fantastic film with an epic soundtrack. 10/10.

Jeff says:
In honour of this movie, and Valentine’s Day, I can only say: what she said. 10/10.

IMDb

Jojo Rabbit

Emmy says:
I never expected to laugh so much at Hitler. Amazing cast and beautiful direction. Surprisingly appropriate soundtrack. Loved the illustration of humanity. 9/10.

Jeff says:
I am amazed at how well Taika Waititi manages to blend the ‘funny’ of this film’s hook, with the genuine human drama (albeit from a 10 year old’s view, so it’s a little safer) of Germany at the end of WW2, with the cutting satire that those in power at that time deserved. The cast is incredible, with impressive work all around. This film went to dark places I didn’t think it would, and found humour in places I wasn’t expecting. There is so much going on, and so much to discover. I feel like this should be shown in high schools, but the swearing might make that an issue … although it’s appropriate too. 10/10.

IMDb

Bombshell

Emmy says:
This movie was unfortunately very familiar and uncomfortable. Margot Robbie showed the emotional turmoil of being in that situation perfectly while in Roger’s office and later on the phone to a friend. The director did a magnificent job of showing what happened without the film resorting to voyeurism. Very well executed. 9/10.

Jeff says:
There is undoubted veracity to this film. It is a testament to their attention to accuracy that the only quibble (I understand) from the women portrayed is that one conversation (with a composite character) didn’t actually happen … and yet needed to be there to make the point it did. Very well acted, and amazing casting all around to get close to the famous faces represented. Even for those who followed the stories at the time, this is a compelling drama … and hopefully it can contribute to helping eradicate this sort of behaviour. 9/10.

IMDb

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

Little Women (2019)

Emmy says:
A delightful and charming film, gorgeous costumes and sets. An emotional roller coaster with real heart. Loved it. 10/10.

Jeff says:
This is an excellent movie, told brilliantly. The slight change to the narrative structure from the book makes the most of the parallels between ‘then’ and ‘now’. The acting, staging, costuming, and details were all exquisite. There isn’t much more to say because the movie was just that well made, well told, and thoroughly enjoyable. Go see it. 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.

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