Spoilers ahead

Tag follows a group of friends who have been playing the game for most of their lives, strangely enough, it is also based on a true story.  By and large, this film is a by the numbers comedy film, not being great, but not being bad either. Tag has quite a lot of unforeseen surprises in it, that I can guarantee you won’t see coming. Such as some well-choreographed action scenes, that give the film an over the top air, to an end twist that packs a strong emotional blow. The biggest problem this film has is that it doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be, as the three previously mentioned elements do work individually, but not as a larger film. Furthermore, there are several characters and subplots that feel tacked on, to pad out the film’s runtime. An example of this would be the love triangle between, Chilli, (Jake Johnson) Callahan, (Jon Hamm) and Cheryl Deakins, (Rashida Jones). Said love triangle really goes nowhere and doesn’t add much to any of the characters involved. The same could be said for Jerry’s alcoholism, and incredibly obsessive nature when it comes to tag, these plot threads are written in but are never explored in any depth. Overall, the plot is, (with the before mentioned twist being the exception), very familiar, and lacks any kind of uniqueness. The end twist of Hoagie, (Ed Helms), having cancer is quite powerful. Yes, it has been done before, but I feel it is used here to add some much-needed perspective to each of the characters, showing them how Tag isn’t as important as they think it is. The humour for me fell flat. That said, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress and Isla Fisher, have the best lines with the latter by far being the funniest character. Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner, (Jerry), felt strangely miscast as they didn’t act as though they were in a comedy film instead taking it all a little too seriously; with that being especially true in Renner’s case. To add to a previous point, this film feels like it has an identity crisis, as there are times when it’s a zany over the top comedy, and then there are moments where it tries to have character drama, and I don’t believe the two are balanced well. Something else I want to draw attention to is Ed Helm’s performance. As far as leading characters go Helms’ Hoagie is one of the least memorable of recent memory, the other characters, (yes even Hamm and Renner), have something that makes them memorable, but not Helms; he is just playing the same character you’ve seen in 50 other Ed Helms’ films. To conclude there are good elements about this film, the end twist is well used and striking, and the action scene choreography is oddly well done, but overall Tag is a film that seems to be not quite sure what it is, with it trying to put in as many different elements as it can; and as a result, it loses focus.


Reviewed by Luke.

Ocean’s 8

Spoiler ahead!

Ocean’s 8 is the latest film in the series which follows Debbie Ocean, (Sandra Bullock), Danny’s Ocean’s sister. Ocean’s 8 does fall short of Soderbergh’s trilogy, this is most noticeably shown when you look at the films’ screenplays. Soderbergh’s previous films had very intricate heist sequences with everything fitting together elegantly, whereas 8 is a series of events that don’t make sense that come together in a way that leaves you saying, “wait what?”.  Furthermore, there are twists that are laughably stupid such as, Anne Hathaway’s Daphne Kluger joining the team. What could have been good character development is instead boiled down to her joining the team because she’s lonely. That is indicative of the fact that the film is poorly written.  The characters outside of Debbie are not given much in the way of motivation, feeling one dimensional and shallow. This is best shown through 9 ball, (Rihanna), with it serving to highlight her lack of acting ability and makes her character feel out of place.  However, there are also positives.  All the cast give good performances, with each actress adding an air of believability to their characters, making them likeable. The two best performances are from Anne Hathaway and a surprisingly funny third act turn by James Corden. Hathaway has all the funniest lines. Whereas Corden excels because he isn’t playing his usual over the top character, instead he plays it mostly straight, to a humour degree.

To conclude if you can ignore the numerous plot holes this is a good film; it is dumb fun and a thrilling ride to boot. Overall this is a good start to a possible new series.



Hereditary focuses on the after-effects of a death in the family, in this case, the Grandmother; portraying themes of family and life after death. Toni Collette who stars as Annie gives a powerhouse performance here. With Annie also having incredibly nuanced dialogue that makes you question whether the supernatural happenings are real, or if it is simply her deeply broken mind. Another fantastic performance is by Alex Wolff who is a scene stealer, managing to capture a true and unrelenting sense of fear and helplessness. The cinematography is gorgeous, with every shot looking almost handcrafted, one such example is the dollhouse scenes with the cut between the zoom on the dollhouse, and then the corresponding scene in the actual house, working to great effect. What’s more the minimalised sound design really helps to build a sense of tension and unease, as the audience is straining to hear any sound to figure out where the scare is coming from. Hereditary is the tensest film you will watch this year, with a lot of truly harrowing scenes and unexpected twists; keeping you near perpetually on the edge of your seat. The film does use the odd jump scare here and there, but in general it gets its scares from the unexpected events and even from dialogue. The final 20 minutes are truly the scariest part of the film because the other acts of the film so excellently set them up. Hereditary is a master class in storytelling with each shot revealing something regarding the film’s many mysteries. My only negative is some of the plot points in the films first act feel a little heavy-handed and unrealistic, clearly written in to foreshadow and set up later events.
Overall, this is a must-see for horror fans.

Jurassic World 2

Jurassic World 2 is the latest film in the Jurassic Park Universe; following on months after the events of the 2015 film. The Question that I will hopefully answer with my review is, does the world need a Jurassic Park film every few years, or should the franchise be made extinct? The main plot of the film follows Owen Grady, (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing, (Bryce Dallas Howard) as they try and save the dinosaurs on Isla Nublar, from a potentially species destroying volcano. The film does try and have an intelligent conversation about whether they should try and protect the dinosaurs or let the volcano wipe them out: thereby restoring the natural order of things. This conversation is shown during a Senate hearing and is the only appearance of Jeff Goldblum’s Dr Ian Malcom, despite the marketing suggesting that he had a bigger presence. Conversely to this intelligent pretence, the other 95% of the film is frustratingly dumb. In term of the screenplay, characters make decisions that make no sense, such as during a chase scene where the Indo-Raptor, (the film’s new hybrid dinosaur), is chasing a little girl down a corridor. During this sequence instead of chasing the girl into her room, which is what you would expect, the Indo-Raptor instead decides to climb up on to the roof and howl at the moon, and you are left thinking, “What? Why has it done that?”. Only being made odder when the Indo-Rex then lowers itself off the roof and unlock the girl’s bedroom window, with its ability to this never being established. This is not the only plot point that is just glossed over, the third act twist revolves around said little girl, Masie, (Isabella Sermon), having been a product of the technology that brought the dinosaurs back from the dead, but again no mention is given to this. What’s more, the film often sets up its own rules only to break them moments later for no reason, with the whole thing reeking of bad writing. Said, poor writing is also shown in the dialogue which is at best inoffensive, but at worst downright awful; with a few of my favourite examples being something like, “They’re alive just like me”, and “Welcome to Jurassic World. Moreover, the film tries to have emotional stakes, such as Owen and Blue’s relationship, Blue being the Raptor he raised, but it fails at even that. In addition, the film’s villains are needless and weakly written, with one just being a guy who likes to rip out dinosaur’s teeth, for no explained reason, and the other being Rafe Spall’s Eli Mills, who does his terrible actions for the money alone. However, it isn’t all bad news as there are some pros as well, such as Owen and Claire’s relationship which is believable, and the two have great chemistry. Also, the new characters of Franklin Webb, (Justice Smith) and Dr. Zia Rodriguez, (Daniella Pineda), are both likeable and welcome additions to the cast, they also have great banter together which makes them very easy to watch. Additionally, though the film doesn’t do its horror inspired scenes well, as mentioned before, it does deserve some praise for trying something new: because a lot of this film is just painfully by the number. Finally, the visual effects on the dinosaurs are all fantastic, as you would expect, with there being no noticeably bad CGI. To conclude, this film does do a few things right, but these are severely outweighed by everything else. Being boring and a real slog to get through at times, and perhaps worst of all, the film does nothing to make its spectacle of dinosaurs fighting interesting, leaving you with one lacklustre confrontation after another. Let’s hope this franchise goes extinct!
Reviewed by Luke

My Friend Dahmer

My Friend Dahmer focuses on the young life of the infamous American serial killer, focusing on his high school years, up until the time of his first murder. This is a genius creative decision as it creates incredible amounts of tension, all without showing a single murder. Furthermore, this early focus allows for an in-depth character study, seeking to find out the motivation for his crimes. In that regard, there are themes of isolation, sexuality and family; all of which are well-formed. In terms of the genre, the script conveys the film as a coming of age tale thereby bucking the trend of the standard biopic. Presenting a film about the teenage experience which also features a soon to be serial killer. What’s more, the script doesn’t present Dahmer as evil, there are even times when you even feel something akin to sympathy for him. The performance of Ross Lynch as Dahmer is fantastic because he plays as both unpredictable, and also truly unsettling. Dahmer’s parent Joyce and Lionel, (Anne Heche and Dallas Roberts), in particular, are outstanding as they truly paint a picture of the dysfunctional family life. Roberts portrays Lionel as a man who is worried for and desperately trying to connect with his son. The film sublimely dissects the mind of Dahmer, creating an experience that feels unlike anything else; allowing you to see his rawest form. Everyone knows how the story ends, but the script and the performances are good enough to still make every minute enthralling. The only issue is that the film is overly long with a lull in the second act. To conclude the film is an excellent and truly gripping character study of a broken, twisted mind.
Reviewed by Luke.