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Flora & Ulysses (Disney+)

A rather sweat introduction to superhero films for kids and wears its influences on its sleeves. Ben Schwartz elevates the film with a rather delightful performance, a lot more grounded than his usual role but still easily the standout character. Danny Pudi is clearly having fun as the bad guy and Alyson Hannigan is doing her best Alyson Hannigan impression. It's not going to set the world on fire by any means but the kids enjoyed it and it kept me entertained as well.

3/5

 

Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat (Netflix)

Quite simply one of the worst films I've ever seen. I actually hated it. the kids picked this one and claimed they enjoyed it, so either they are lying to save face or should't be trusted ever again. 

1/5

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Doctor Sleep

 

Ewan McGregor stars in this direct sequel to The Shining. I’ve not read the book, but it certainly felt more like a Stephen King piece than the original. Other than that though it was piss poor, too many characters and half-baked ideas and at two and a half hours way too long. I was bored for large parts of it. The Shining was only two hours so there’s no excuse for this bollocks.

 

2/5 

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The 39 Steps (Hitchcock)

 

An absolutely splendid movie that I couldn’t keep my eyes off. A relatively early Hitchcock film but a real showcase for his talents. A ripping yarn that moves quickly and for its age the pacing is breathless. The cast is uniformly faultless. It simply doesn’t put a foot wrong, perfect filmmaking. 
 

5/5

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Censor - 3/5

 

Niamh Algar (Calm With Horses, The Virtues) stars as a British film censor caught up in blurred realities in this homage to the era of video nasties.


As a debut feature from Welsh director Prano Bailey-Bond it’s impressively confident in its tone and atmosphere. Looking forward to what she does next.

 

(watched as part as the online European Film Market)

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Star is on Disney so I checked out the horror section, it was very bare looking

 

Jennifer's Body

 

What a weird film. Some interesting ideas mixed into a very run of the mill horror flick. An embarassing "Indie band" plot that looked like a Killers tribute band was meant to be the glue but it was awful. Megan Fox was meant to be the big sell here but she wasn't very impressive and the overly salacious depiction was amusingly unsettling. Amanda Seyfried was the bright spot but even then the script was all over the place and her character lost cohesion as well.

 

It eventually descends into standard horror monster movie fare and ends up being far less interesting.

 

2/5

 

Then I spotted a "new" (to me) zombie film when scrolling through Netflix

 

Anna and the Apocalypse

 

What a delightful little surprise. I was expecting yet another low budget british student made zombie flick full on grim grey streets and was pleasantly surprised to be confronted with a colourful zombie musical!

 

It reminded me a lot of the Buffy musical episode. The music wasn't my sort of thing but a couple of the numbers really stood out early on. All the school based stuff was ok but the cast were more obviously early 20s and it was more noticeable than usual (might have been set or costume failures I think). The whole film is a bit of a mixed bag, there are some moments of utter brilliance mixed with parts where they riff on Shaun of the Dead and come off looking much worse (the morning walk to school springs to mind it is obviously similar to a Shaun scene but lacks the subtlety or craft of the latter). The bowling alley scenes were a lot of fun and there were some laugh out loud stuff in there too. The eating of the banana, the playground snowman , the "warm plastic" moment all qualify.

 

Zombie fx were great and whilst the budget showed in places it wasn't too intrusive. Performances were strong all round but the musical sections were odd as some of the singing parts sounded nothing like the actors who were meant to be singing them, there was some autotune in there so maybe it was messing with voices too much.

 

In the end though the last third of the film feels flat. Once the horror really takes hold and gets nasty the musical numbers struggle to stay relevant and end up feeling weird within context. Maybe it needed stronger punchier songs at that point? Or maybe the horror action was too strong, Buffy had the advantage of being a TV show so the horror could never be too gruesome.

 

In the end the film peters out which is a shame but the first 2/3rds are well worth it

 

3/5

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XV

 

Doco re the 2015 rugby world cup in England. Give some interesting insights and does a brief overview of some of the highlights of the 2015 world cup in England , with some of the best moments being Japan beating the Saffers and the Argies beating Ireland , unless you're South African or Irish of course.  There's some good stuff in there with  a reasonable mixture of players, coaches , groundsmen,  stewards , reporters etc. It's only 91 minutes so doesn't outstay it's welcome and is entertaining enough  but it's a little safe most of the time.

 

3.5 /5 - there's  half a point deducted for Stuart Barnes  being in it.

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Host - 3/5

 

Desktop horrors are already becoming a little overdone, but this is a really effective addition to the genre. Made during lockdown (wait, come back, it’s actually good!), the cast is really natural, making the eventual jump scares effective. A couple are really impressive too, with some excellent effects.

 

Only an hour long too. As with Censor and Prano Bailey-Bond, looking forward to what director Rob Savage does next - he’s signed a three-year deal with Blumhouse off the back of this.

 

(watched as part of the online EFM, but is a Shudder original so should be on that service soon if it’s not already)

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46 minutes ago, glb said:

Host - 3/5

 

Desktop horrors are already becoming a little overdone, but this is a really effective addition to the genre. Made during lockdown (wait, come back, it’s actually good!), the cast is really natural, making the eventual jump scares effective. A couple are really impressive too, with some excellent effects.

 

Only an hour long too. As with Censor and Prano Bailey-Bond, looking forward to what director Rob Savage does next - he’s signed a three-year deal with Blumhouse off the back of this.

 

(watched as part of the online EFM, but is a Shudder original so should be on that service soon if it’s not already)

Sure its already on Shudder as watched it last year.  It was good. It's no Saint Maud though. 

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1 hour ago, Bazjam said:

It was far too reliant on jump scares for my liking.


I’m no fan of cattle-prod horror usually but in Host thought they were done well.

 

1 hour ago, cassidy said:

Sure its already on Shudder as watched it last year.  It was good. It's no Saint Maud though. 

 

Still not seen that. Will see if we’ve got a screener knocking around.

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Yup, count me in the pro-Host crowd. It has a charm that will be relevant for approximately 18 months, but it was more than welcome. 

 

Inventive, cheap, and didn't outstay its welcome. Just what I want from this kind of thing.

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Escape From Pretoria

 

(Based on) The true story of a couple of white South Africans, jailed for anti-aparthied activities and how they escaped from prison.

 

This has the potential to be a tense thriller. But it's not. Bit of a spoiler:

Spoiler

they make keys out of wood and let themselves out

There's no real sense of tension or threat or desperation or much of anything, to be honest. South African prison didn't even seem that bad, compared to the way US jails are portrayed. It was actually all just a bit dull, to be honest.

 

And Daniel Radcliffe gives up on the accent fairly early on. 

 

It's just not very good.

 

2/5

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Felt much the same as you @ScouserInExile on 'Escape From Pretoria'. I kept expecting it to take off but the big set-piece was a couple of guys hiding in a broom cupboard...

Re-watched 'Family Business' last night on Prime. Was in the mood for more Lumet films after watching 'Dog Day Afternoon' last week and I remembered this as being quite a light and breezy caper flick. I mis-remembered! There's fun moments in it, for sure. Big Sean Connery is clearly having fun playing off Dustin Hoffman and Matthew Broderick but it's actually quite a serious study of generational conflict between fathers and sons. I'm a sucker for those types of films just as much as I am for a good heist though, so still enjoyed it.

3 out of 5

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Minari - 5/5

 

Absolutely lovely film about a first generation Korean-American immigrants move to bumfuck Arkansas to pursue their own American Dream. Well, the husband's dream. It's a really gentle, intimate film about a family adjusting to a new way of living. I highly recommend if you like beautifully shot, slow-paced movies.

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Captain Marvel (Disney+)

I saw most of the Marvel films at the cinema but this one passed me by for whatever reason. The Captain Marvel character seemed pretty weak in the final Avengers film but figuring that I hadn't seen the film with her origin I thought I'd give it a go in case I was missing something. I guess I learned a few things about the wider Marvel universe but the whole film felt pretty pointless to me, and the character is no more interesting having watched the film. I found her character dull, most of the plot dull, the bad guy was dull and the action was dull, perhaps the only high points was the delivery by Ben Mendelsohn's character, but it was still well-trodden Marvel humour that has been done better in other entries. 

I pickup all of my Marvel knowledge from watching each of the films once, so basically not much knowledge, and my takeaway from this film and the most recent Avengers film is that Captain Marvel is only there to act as a convenient 'get out of jail free' card when things go bad. One of the weaker films in the Marvel canon. 

2/5

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21 Jump Street

No horses or wide open plains here. This was good fun with some nice twists on the usual formula (the big meathead being more sensitive, the car chase where things don't explode :lol:) and nods at clichés (Ice Cube knows he's an angry black Lieutenant, 30 year old Dave Franco saying they look too old to be in high school). Tatum going radge in the school band was my favorite bit. I lol'd into a cabbage when he leapt through the gong.

4/5

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On 28/02/2021 at 22:03, MechE said:

Scorcerer (1977) 5/5

 

William Friedkin, coming off the back of The French Connection and The Exorcist, creates this nerve shreddingly tense remake of The Wages of Fear starring Roy Scheider. It tells the story of four men from different parts of the world hiding in a remote South American town who are offered enough money to start a new life if they are willing to do one very dangerous job for the local oil firm.

 

Apparently it was both a commercial and critical flop when it came out, but to me it's a bit of a lost gem of 70s American film making. I think it falls a little short of his two earlier films but is certainly better than what he went on to make.

 

I would strongly recommend it to anyone who's a fan of American New Wave, and it certainly deserves to be better known than it is. The version online has clearly been lovingly remastered because it looks and sounds great, and has a cool synth soundtrack by Tangerine Dream.

Kermode gushes about this film at any opportunity but I’ve never seen it available anywhere. 

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3 hours ago, iknowgungfu said:

Kermode gushes about this film at any opportunity but I’ve never seen it available anywhere. 


Of course, watch Wages of Fear first if you haven’t already.

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The Night Eats the World (Amazon Prime)

Paris set zombie movie about a young guy in an apartment building in the aftermath of the outbreak. I thought it would be subbed, but the whole thing is in (undubbed) English. Really enjoyed this one. The gore is effective without being showy and, despite a slight lag in the middle, moves pacily enough (although it's not an actiony movie by any means). It also has the good idea of making the zombies silent instead of the usual moaning and groaning you get. They're dead and no longer breathing - why would then make sounds if they're not expelling any air? It's a small thing but effective.

 

4/5

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Antman and the Wasp (Disney+)

I've nearly caught up with all Marvel films now (just Far From Home to go, which is annoyingly not on any streaming service I subscribe too), with the second Antman film seemingly arriving and leaving cinema with little fanfare at the time to be honest I completely forgot it existed until recently. 

 

I enjoyed it quite a bit, they are very playful with the size changes and the lead was as watchable as ever. It feels like a minor story in the grand scheme of the Marvel films but somehow better for that. The post credit scene was well done as well, even if I'm watching it out of order (I saw most of the Marvel films upon release, including Infinity War/End game). 

 

Not much else to say really, it's lightweight, silly and fun. 

 

3/5. 

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Boss Level...

 

Yeah i watched the trailer and thought that looks like some silly fun, and it is, and yet, somehow plays it straight, and it ...works!?!  like a solid B movie out of /5

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From the sublime......

 

Shadow of a Doubt

 

Another piece of masterful direction from Hitchcock. It utilises a mainly unknown cast to great effect. It zips along at a great pace and doesn’t have an ounce of fat on it. A great What If tale. 

 

4.5/5

 

to the ridiculous 

 

Bloodrayne

 

An eclectic cast (including Madsen, Kingsley, Zane, Rodriguez and, er, Loaf) are wasted in this crap movie from a forgotten video game series. No real redeeming features at all apart from the action scenes which are okl. Terrible script and direction. 
 

0.5/5

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I Care a Lot - 2/5

 

Great score (is it Trent Reznor again for a Rosamund Pike film?) decent performances.  Nothing else of note really. 

 

Spoiler

I'm glad she died at the end. But that ending reeked of test audiences not liking the true ending of her getting away with it. I would bet my life on it. 

 

 

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