A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Did Someone Call The X-Men?

A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is a slasher horror film directed by Chuck Russell. The plot sees Freddy (Robert Englund), terrorise and try to kill the remaining Elm Street children, who are locked away in a mental intuition. However, the remaining Elm Street Kids realise that they have dream powers themselves and that together they can fight back against Freddy.

I was getting strong X-Men vibes from this film, I know it is because I have recently seen the New Mutants and stylistically they share some similarities, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling throughout.

I thought this was a step up from the previous film as it gave me what I was asking for, more Freddy. Freddy really gets his time to shine here, his kills are more out there and oddly inventive and we get to see his past explored in more detail, which I found interesting.

I enjoyed seeing Nancy (Heather Langenkamp), return I thought it was a great way of tying the series together outside of Freddy, sadly she was not given all that much to do beside be a mentor for the new cast of kids. Said kids were okay, none of them really struck me or left any kind of impression, their powers were neat, but underdeveloped we needed more time seeing them use them for it to be believable and make sense.

Overall, this might be my favourite of the Elm Street films so far I enjoyed the focus on Freddy and the dream warriors are a cool concept, even if the execution is a bit shaky.

Pros

The focus on Freddy and his backstory

The return of Nancy

The powers (as an idea)

The kills

Cons.

The powers were not fleshed out enough and the dream warriors themselves were all very bland

4/5

Reviewed by Luke   

Greenland: When The Apocalypse Comes You Need The Architects, Screw Doctors

Greenland is a disaster action film directed by Ric Roman Waugh. The plot sees a comet come into Earth’s atmosphere which poses an extinction level threat to mankind. In amongst the people trying to stay alive is family man John Garrity (Gerard Butler), who must go to great lengths to keep this family alive and get them to the new promised land, Greenland.

I remember seeing the trailer for this film in the cinema awhile back, and I thought it looked promising. Now having seen it, I can say I am mixed on it. Yes, it does have a strong premise, with a suitably tense ticking clock narrative that keeps things moving forward nicely.

However, on the other hand, it does not do much with its premise beyond ending up like just another generic action, disaster film. Moreover, some of the dramatic choices here feel needless and really don’t add much to the narrative as a whole. Like why did John’s son need to be kidnapped? What did that thread add?

Butler was okay, this seems like an easy fit role for him, he was everything I would expect him to be. Your enjoyment of his performance will depend on how you feel about Butler and his ‘character’ generally.

Overall, despite initial promise this film ended up being just another generic disaster film.

Pros.

Gerard Butler

The set pieces

The tension

Cons.

It doesn’t do much with its interesting premise

Drama and twists added needlessly

It is generic

2.5/5

Reviewed by Luke

Nativity 3: Taking Christmas Away From Kids, The Further Rise Of The Sociopath Known As Mr. Poppy

Nativity 3 is a British Christmas comedy film directed by Debbie Isitt. The barely comprehensible plot follows Jeremey Shepard (Martin Clunes), an Ofsted inspector who comes to St Bernadette’s. Whilst there he is knocked unconscious by a donkey and loses all of his memory, they then go to New York for a flash mob competition, or something, and Jeremey is also getting married and can’t remember his bride that is also going on.

It is fair to say just from that brief description that this film is far too busy. Not only that, but it is trying to be and do so many different things at once whilst failing at all of them. None of it really makes any sense, and the flash mob storyline feels incredibly dated and more than a little cringe.

Clunes can’t hold a candle to Freeman and Tennent who came before him and passes through the film with as much enthusiasm as someone who has just found a new parking ticket on their car. Mr Poppy (Marc Wootton), the bane of the previous films and easily the worst part of the series is even worse here. We get that he is supposed to be a man-child, but here he is straight up malicious blatantly not caring for others as long as he gets his way.

Whilst watching this film I had one thought in my mind, ‘how long is left’, that says all you need to know.

Overall, give this a wide birth.

Pros.

It makes good background noise

Cons.

It is not funny

It is not charming

The story is incomprehensible and cringe

Mr Poppy might be my most loathed cinematic character

0.5/5

Reviewed by Luke       

Little Miss Sunshine: Beauty Pageants Are CREEPY

Little Miss Sunshine is a comedy drama film directed by Johnathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. The plot sees a family travel across the country to enter their daughter Olive (Abigale Breslin), in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant.

There is something special about this film as it captures the messy often quite unpleasant nature of family but shows that deep down it is a force for good. The family we meet here are atypical to the Hollywood norm, they are not incredibly wealthy, and they are dysfunctional in a way that most other ‘dysfunctional’ families you see on the big screen are. There is a hostility and a world wiriness that underpins them and this whole film.

Much can and has been said for the performances of Paul Dano and Steve Carell in this film, so I will not waste time telling you how sublime they were in their roles. No the person I want to focus on is Greg Kinnear. Kinnear plays the patriarch of the family, who starts off the film almost as an antagonist to most of the main cast but turns cheek during the film. What works so well about the character arc of Kinnear’s character is that it is understated, as we see more of him and see how he changes we question our first assumption about him and ask ourselves if we were wrong?

Finally, I enjoyed the ending of this film and the stance it took against beauty pageants. Somewhat predictably, the family realises at the end how sick and messed up the pageant world is and defy it and learn that the bond they have all formed over the course of the road trip is more important. Regardless, of predictability I liked seeing them stick it to the pageant industry, which in my humble opinion is one of the worst industries that we have left, can it be cancelled soon please!

Overall, a classic.

Pros.

Kinnear’s arc

The ending

Dano

Carell

Cons.

A little too familiar

4.5/5

Reviewed by Luke

Love The Coopers: All We Need To Unite The Left And The Right Is A Family Christmas

Love The Coopers is a Christmas comedy drama film directed by Jessie Nelson. The plot focuses on a dysfunctional family coming together to celebrate Christmas.

Someone turned the sentimentality up to critical with this one, there are some parts of this film that are so soppy and over the top that it would make a Hallmark Christmas film question the taste.

The plot is delivered in vignette style, very reminiscent of something like New Years Eve with the key difference being that all of these people we are following are part of the same family. We get the old couple who have drifted apart trope, we get the angsty teen try to impress a girl trope, but hey it is Timothee Chalamet so some people will say it is Oscar worthy, and more; besides, all the stereotypes you could want are all there.

The most cringe storyline of all was the Olivia Wilde one, about a daughter bringing home a random person from the airport so she didn’t get judged by her parents. Of course she ends up falling in love with his guy despite him the opposite of everything she thinks and cares about.

The greatest crime of this film is how badly it wastes its cast of talented performers.

Overall, a step up in some ways from the usual Hallmark/Netflix trash, but in other ways namely wasting its cast it is a big step down. What a missed opportunity.

Pros.

It is watchable

There are a few good moments

Cons.

It wastes its cast

It is the definition of overly sentimental

It is cringe

2/5

Reviewed by Luke   

Cup Of Cheer: The Vaccine, To Christmas Film Fatigue

Cup Of Cheer is a Christmas spoof comedy film directed by Jake Horowitz. The plot serves to mock the standard Christmas film, with the big city girl Mary (Storm Steenson), going to a small town to write a news story, of course while she is there she meets handsome small-town guy Chris (Alexander Oliver), and the two strike up a very obvious romance. Also they need to save the coffee shop that Chris works at/owns?

This was just what I needed, I have been watching a lot of average to bad Netflix Christmas films recently, that all follow an incredibly similar structure, and it is nice to not only see that structure be recognised here, but also mocked for just how generic it is. Someone needs to stick it to terrible Netflix and Hallmark Christmas films.

The comedy reminded me of the better ‘movie’ films. It was often absurdist and gross out but done in a smart way that actually made me laugh. A lot of the gags in the film are surprisingly strong and the commentary is of course spot on.

Despite being designed to be an anti-Christmas film, film I found that it made me feel seasonal. I enjoyed the romance between the leads, I thought it was funny and touching in equal measure. All of the romantic cliches are trotted out here and laughed at which also adds a comedic element to the romance which greatly benefits it.

Overall, the perfect remedy for anyone suffering with Christmas film fatigue.

Pros.

The humour

The spoof and the commentary

Strong chemistry between the leads

A likeable and a funny romance

Cons.

Some of the side characters felt a little underdeveloped, but maybe that was the point?

4.5/5

Reviewed by Luke   

Nobody Sleeps In The Woods Today: Teens Today Always On Their Phones

Nobody Sleeps In The Woods Tonight is a Polish slasher film directed by Bartosz M. Kowalski. We are shown a summer camp for kids who are addicted to electronic devices, where they participate in wholesome outdoor activities; little do they know however, a pair of mutated twins with a taste for human flesh have just been released from their basement prison and are now on the prowl.

This film starts off strong, but then gets increasingly generic as it goes on. In the beginning, it seems to be going down the comedy horror route, there are a few laughs, the premise itself ‘a summer camp for kids who are addicted to electronic devices’ has got to be some kind of 2020 satire. However, midway through the film the tone shifts, and it becomes a straight horror film: this is when it becomes boring.

The twins themselves look fairly horrific, but nothing you have seen before. Their backstory is interesting, they were infected by an alien parasite from a found meteor, however we don’t get to explore it enough, and what we do get gives us more questions then answers.

The kids, or teens, themselves are all fairly one note. We have the horny one, the tortured misunderstood one, the final girl and a few others. All of them never rise above these cliches, as such they never make much of an impression so when they start getting speared by the twins you are left going ‘eh’, probably not the reaction the filmmakers were going for.

Overall, though there is a strong premise, the interesting ideas are mostly ignored for more generic slasher fare.

Pros.

The premise

Some of the more satirical moments

Cons.

The characters are cliches

The kills are likewise as bland

We don’t explore the Twins backstory anywhere near enough.

2/5

Reviewed by Luke  

Tales From The Lodge: Perpetuating Old Stereotypes

Tales From The Lodge is a British dark comedy film directed by Abigale Blackmore. The plot sees a group of aging friends retire to a cabin in the woods to scatter the ashes of their recently deceased friend. However, while there strange things start to occur, and things soon take a turn for the sinister.

90% of this film is great, really interesting, and creepy. However, the final reveal of who the killer is, and the last 10 minutes are nothing short of insulting, and yes to properly express my critique of the film I will be spoiling the twist.

So the initial almost anthology like horror tales approach is used well and for the most part the stories themselves serve to give a good chill and more than a few macabre laughs. However, as things start to devolve into slasher fare that is when the film falls apart.

The final reveal that the supposedly dead friend has instead become a woman in the hopes of seducing his straight best friend who never noticed his affections while alive but decides to try to kill him anyway is everything wrong with this film. The demonisation of trans people as insane killers, is something that has been a problem of the horror genre for a while, but it is especially bad here.

To make it worse the twist is blindingly obvious as well.

Overall, this film had a lot of promise, but the ill-fated, stereotype pushing, trans bashing final reveal sours me on the film.
Pros.

The horror tales

The cast

A few good scares and a few good laughs

Cons.

The reveal

There is no mystery to it, it is fairly obvious from the get-go

2.5/5

Reviewed by Luke

Manson Family Vacation: Is Blood Thicker Than Water?

Manson Family Vacation is a dark comedy drama film directed by J. Davis. The plot centres around the troubled relationship between two brothers, one adopted the other not. One day Conrad (Linus Phillips), shows up at his brother Nick’s (Jay Duplass) door asking to spend some time with him as he is passing through town on his way to a new job. Nick soon starts to uncover Conrad’s building fascination with Charles Manson and the film goes from there.

This is not a comedy film, I didn’t make me laugh, so if that is what you are judging this film on that then it is an abject failure. However, if you instead view it as an intense scrutiny of the brotherly dynamic and a comment on who your real family is then it becomes a lot more interesting. As a character study it works wonders.

Throughout the film, we are never quite sure just how far Conrad has gone with his new found obsession, that is until the end. The reveal that we get recontextualise the whole film and adds a new element to the story. It is fascinating.

Both Duplass and Phillips give good performances and you never end up loving one more than the other, both have moments where you root for them and moments where you despise them, they feel rounded. Tobin Bell also has a small role in this film and leaves quite a mark with his short performance.

Overall, quite a strange film on a number of levels, depending on how you view it and what you are looking for you will either think it is genius or pretentious trash.

Pros.

The reveal

The dynamic between the brothers

The Lead performances and Tobin Bell

Cons.

It is not funny

It has pacing issues

3/5

Reviewed by Luke   

Holiday In The Wild: A Testament To The Star Power Of Rob Lowe

Holiday In The Wild is a Christmas based romantic comedy film directed by Ernie Barbarash. We go on a deeply personal journey as we follow Kate (Kristen Davis), a woman who is dumped by her husband the second her son goes off to college. Now with nothing to do Kate has to rediscover her passions, as such she goes to Africa to become a vet to elephants. Of course this leads to romance.

So, recently I have been through several of these Netflix Christmas films and to a large degree they all blend together. However, with that in mind I found myself enjoying this one more than the others. I think it was purely the charm of Rob Lowe.

I enjoyed the romance of this film. I found it to be handled well and with care, I enjoyed seeing these two broken people, cliché I know, come together, and open themselves up to each other. I thought the leads had strong on-screen chemistry together, which in turn made their romance believable.

Another thing I will give this film props for over Netflix’s other Christmas output is that the drama felt organic to the story and not shoe horned in. Too often both Christmas films and rom coms in generally will have very blatant artificial drama forced in for no real story purpose other than for the couple to have something to overcome, this is a hallmark of a poorly written script. However, in this case the drama makes sense and feels necessary for the story.

Overall, though this won’t be winning any awards any time soon, it is quite charming, and the romance is sweet enough to keep you invested.

Pros.

The plot and it’s structure

The romance

Rob Lowe

Cons.

Cliché ridden

Incredibly generic

3/5

Reviewed by Luke