First Man: One Small Step To Get My Money Back

First Man is a biopic historical film directed by Damien Chazelle. The plot shows the life of Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling), as he loses his daughter and enters the space program that would eventually lead him to the Moon. Chazelle has said he wanted this film to dive into Armstrong as a person rather than focus entirely on the Moon Landing.

So, I applaud Chazelle for not wanting to focus on the Moon Landing and instead wanting to focus on Armstrong as a person. I thought this film was at its strongest when it was showing these intimate character moments. Gosling mostly caries these scenes well and treats them with the significance they deserve, thought there are a few times when I thought he needed to emote more. His facial acting was hit and miss throughout the film.

My biggest issue with this film is how long it is. This film does not need to be two hour and twenty minutes, it does not justify that length. The film feels overly indulgent, it stretches out scenes that could be over in a few minute and worst of all, a good two thirds of the scenes especially in the second act feel like filler as the big Lunar landing is saved until the end.

Overall, I think the studio gave Chazelle too much leeway because of the success of La La Land as a result he made a bloated film that might have strong moments of well-done character study but is as a whole, boring.

Pros.

Not focusing on the Moon Landing

The drama and the personal moments.

Cons.

Gosling’s facial acting is off point

There is too much bloat

It is in desperate need of a tighter edit.

2/5

Reviewed by Luke   

What To Expect When You’re Expecting: Expect To Be Bored

What To Expect When You’re Expecting is a romance comedy film directed by Kirk Jones. The plot follows a group of women who all get pregnant around the same time. The film takes a New Year’s Eve or Valentine’s Day approach to storytelling choosing to have each story and character exist separately with minimal crossover with the others.

This is fairly inoffensive stuff; it is just a bunch of vaguely recognisable celebrities pretending to be pregnant and going through the various trials and tribulations surrounding that stage of life. It doesn’t leave much of any kind of impression and is not really memorable afterwards.

The comedy is okay, it made me laugh a handful of times throughout, again comedy is subjective, but this is by no means funny. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, even if I can’t remember any of their names and most of the characters just kind of blend together in my head.

Maybe this film would have had more impact on me if I was a parent myself, having never had a kid I can’t say how realistic it is in that regard, nor can I say whether they sugar-coated it.

Overall it is mindless fluff, fairly generic and unmemorable. Maybe genre diehard will get something out of it, but I didn’t.

Pros.

It has a few funny moments

The cast seem to be having fun

Cons.

It is dull

Its generic

You don’t care about the characters even enough to remember their names

The humour mostly didn’t land

1.5/5

Reviewed by Luke    

Grown Ups 2: Sandler Needs A New Holiday

Grown Ups 2 is a comedy film directed by Dennis Dugan. The plot sees Sandler and Pals get together again, this time they’re facing off against a group of college frat guys and there is a sub plot about Sandler’s character being conflicted about having a fourth kid.

So, this film has been widely criticised by a lot of people as one of Sandler’s worst films up there with Jack and Jill naturally when I heard this I thought ‘how bad can it be’ and I have to say though it is not offensively bad, it is by no means needed.

So the biggest crime of this film is that it is a sequel that in no way justifies its existence. The drama feels artificial and doesn’t work, the idea of Sandler’s character being upset to have a fourth kid when he already has three doesn’t ring true at all. The conflict with the college kids does not work either, it feels incredibly predicatable and forced.

The humour is less there than it was in the first film, there is still some laughs to be had, but they’re few and far between. This sequel doubles down on the slapstick elements of the first film that didn’t work for me; humour is subjective, however. The best performance in this film is easily Alexander Ludwig, him being David Spades character’s long lost angry son is hilarious.

Overall, there is still some laughs to be had here, but there is no need for this film at all and the whole thing feels forced and inauthentic.

Pros.

Alexander Ludwig

There are still some laughs

Cons.

Doubling down on the slapstick

The drama feels forced

The heart doesn’t land

2.5/5

Reviewed by Luke

Grown Ups: Hanging With The Boys

Grown Ups is a comedy film directed by Dennis Dugan. The plot follows five childhood best friends who reunite after the death of their high school sports coach.

So, yes I know this is a trash comedy, but hey I am a big Adam Sandler fan; if you can’t tell. This is one of the few Sandler flicks that I haven’t seen; so I decided to right that wrong.

I have to say even though I feign a mature persona, there is nothing I like more than a few good poo jokes: I think a lot of people feel the same way.

The humour in this film works for me, it made me laugh several times throughout. I found the free style back and forth comedy to work a lot better than the slapstick, if anything I thought this film relied on the slapstick a bit too much and it often did nothing for me.

My issue with this film is the way it treats the characters that aren’t Sandler and his friends, the jokes to these characters are usually quite mean spirited and in poor taste. However, what really sticks out is the way the film treats women. To say is objectifies them is an understatement. Yes, you can make an argument for the wife doing the same thing to other men, but that is always handled as a joke, when Sandler and co do it, it is creepy and pervy. There is a long sequence of Sandler and co checking out a girl’s arse and it goes on for way to long and soon becomes uncomfortable.

Overall, if you like Sandler and his pals you will probably like this, the humour often worked for me, but it is subjective. The film certainly ages very poorly and feels out of place in the era of Me Too.

Pros.

The humour

It feels like hanging out with your friends

Very easy to watch

Cons.

The slapstick doesn’t work

Some of the jokes feel creepy and predatory

3/5

Reviewed by Luke

Geostorm: The Government Controls The Weather, No Really

Geostorm is an action film directed by Dean Devlin. The plot sees rogue weather patterns start springing up all over the planet after a space station that is supposed to control the weather goes faulty. A conspiracy is at hand and there is only one man for the job.
So, I put this on the other night because I was looking for some fun mindless action that I could tune out to. There are plenty of films that fit this bill and sometimes, silly action movies can provide some entertainment, look at the success of the Furious series for proof of that, but this is not a good ride, nor is it silly, it is simply boring.

The key issue with this film is despite the premise being ridiculous it takes itself far too seriously. This film tries to be dramatic and serious and fails spectacularly, it needs the fun that it denies itself.

The odd thing is, there are moments of light comedy relief scattered here and there within the film, but because the film has committed to this very serious tone, they just feel out of place.

I am not going to harp on about how dumb this film is because anyone considering watching it already knows. What I will say is watching this has made me miss the days of smart action films, smart blockbuster when things didn’t feel dumbed down.

Overall, this film is bad because it doesn’t embrace the silliness that is innate to the premise.

Pros.

The premise is good

Cons.

They then utterly waste said premise

It is no fun

It is too dumb

The acting is non existent

It is dull.

0.5/5

Reviewed by Luke

Children Of Men: The Future Looks Bleak

Children Of Men is a science fiction drama film directed by Alfonso Cuaron. The plot imagines a dystopian world where children have not been born for 18 years and most of the world’s countries have been wiped out. We follow Theo (Clive Owen), a man who finds himself drawn on to a path that sees him protecting the first pregnant woman since the world went to hell.

This film is superb, I have been meaning to watch it for some time and I am glad I did.

The world feels so lived in and real, despite there only being sparse hints as to what happened in it. I would love to see more films and additional material exploring this world. The eerie thing about this film is that it is not a million miles removed from where the world is heading now and that’s frightening.

Clive Owen is a strong leading man, he is often underrated and is rarely talked about in good or even great actor conversations, but he is always consistent and reliable. I buy that his character used to be part of the rebellion, he has the ex-solider vibe down to a tee. Furthermore, it is a treat to see Owen interact with the other veteran actors on screen like Michael Cain and Julianne Moore, with both of these Owen has convincing chemistry.

The best thing about the film is how tense it is, there is not even a single minute to breath and you’re constantly on guard watching it as you never know when things are going to turn. A ‘thrill ride’ might be an overused term, but it applies here.

Overall, a great piece of dystopian fiction.

Pros.

Owen

Reminder of reality

The tension

The action, but also the drama.

Cons.

It has a very pacing issues here and there, though they’re only minor and it is perfect for the most part.

4.5/5

Reviewed by Luke  

Missing Link: Modern Myth

Missing Link is an animated film directed by Chris Butler. The plot follows explorer Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman), as he sets out to find Big Foot (Zack Galifianakis). Once the two meet Lionel realises that Big Foot or Mr. Link as he goes by is different entirely from how he would have guessed and agrees to help him find more of his own kind in the Himalayas.

I think this is underrated when it comes to Laika Animation, a lot of people get caught up with ParaNorman, Coraline, and Kubo and yes, this might not have the same level of heart of imagination as some of them, but it still has a lot of merit all its own.

The animation is beautiful, it is very refreshing to see a stop motion animation film and that definitely helps it to standout. Moreover, when they arrive at Shangri La and meet the Yeti’s the creature design is simply exquisite.

The voice cast are all giving it their best Galifianakis is the standout for sure and makes the naïve Mr Link quite endearing. Jackman also brings a lot of emotion to his role and we see Lionel go from a rouge to a somewhat good person; though that personality change is incredibly predictable. Emma Thompson as the leader of the Yeti’s Dora is by far the scene stealer of the film.

Overall, a nice wholesome family friendly gem that might have slipped off your radar. It is not Laika Animations’ best, but it is still fun to watch.

Pros.

The creature design particularly the Yeti’s

The voice cast

A nice wholesome adventure

Sets up an interesting world

Cons.

It doesn’t have much charm and loses you a bit as it goes on

3.5/5

Reviewed by Luke    

Behind The Candelabra: Leaving Liberace

Behind The Candelabra is a biographic drama film directed by Steven Soderbergh. The plot covers the last years of Liberace’s (Michael Douglas) life and his highly troublesome romance with Scott Thorson (Matt Damon).

So, my takeaway from this film was ‘damn wasn’t Liberace a bad guy’.

As far as biopics go this was incredibly well done, it was very engaging, and the train wreck worth of drama made it very hard to look away even for a second. I applaud it forgiving us a look at Liberace the person in a very enclosed time period rather than just giving a brief overview of his career. I also applaud it for showing the good and the bad, something modern biopics have struggled to do, thought I probably does help that the subject is dead and that his friends didn’t have huge involvement with the project.

Douglas and Damon both gave terrific performances and drifted into their characters; they were entirely convincing.

My one issue with this film is that it has a tendency to verge on melodrama. There are multiple scenes in this film that would not be amiss in a reality tv show, and yes, I understand that Liberace was a very larger than life type of figure, but it became a bit much at times.

Overall, this was captivating and held my attention well for the almost two hours’ worth of runtime.

Pros.

Showing the good and the bad

A shorter focus

Great performances and cameos

Hard to look away

Cons.

A bit too much like reality tv at times

4/5

Reviewed by Luke        

Moonwalkers: Faking The Moon Landing

Moonwalkers is a comedy film directed by Antoine Bardou-Jacquet. The plot follows CIA agent Kidman (Ron Pearlman), as he travels to London to get acclaimed filmmaker Stanley Kubrick to fake the moon landing for the American government. However, rather than meet the actual Kubrick Kidman meets two local losers.

This film was one of the best I have seen recently, it was charming, endearing and the action scenes worked surprisingly well and didn’t ruin the tone of the film.

The drug trip look this film goes for works really well and captures the decade of the 60’s really well. It also compliments nicely the plot of the film that is in and of itself more than a bit ridiculous. I for one really enjoyed the absurdness of this film and I think it made standout.

Kidman is perfectly cast as a vet who doesn’t fit in with the world around him. As are Rupert Grint and Robert Sheehan (the two con artists that Kidman falls in with), who perfectly capture the loveable loser angle. Sheehan really gives it his all and gives a very spacey and far out performance that shows why he is one of the best Irish actors currently working.

Overall, this is a hidden gem and definitely worth your time.

Pros.

Perfectly cast

The plot and the setting reflect each other superbly

Great performances

A fun out there premise

Good action scenes

Cons.

It has a few minor pacing issues

4.5/5

Reviewed by Luke       

The Emoji Movie

The Emoji Movie is an animated film directed by Tony Leondis. The plot follows the lives of several different emojis on a teenager’s phone as they face deletion.

So, right off the bat I just want to say I can’t stand T.J Miller he is an awful person and has done several disgusting things, look it up, so him being cast as the lead was never going to win any points with me. To be fair he is not the worse thing about this film, he is serviceable as a lead, but he is also incredibly forgettable.

The issue with this film, the critical problem, is the fact it was written and made by a group of people who clearly aren’t young themselves and have no idea how the teens of today actually are. It reads as an incredibly out of touch move, a hello fellow kids sort of thing. The dialogue in the film itself can’t help but feel incredibly dated, when the characters use happening slang of the time it just makes you cringe.

The other issue with this film is that it was clearly a reactionary move to The Lego Movie. The executives can delay it all they like, but the parallels are striking. The difference between the two however, is that the Lego Movie is a good film and that Lego itself is timeless and has been around for years, whereas emojis are a very new thing and don’t have near the same level of fondness.

Overall, not as bad as you have heard, but still not worth your time.

Pros.

It is watchable

Cons.

It is cringe

It is a clear rip-off of The Lego Movie

T.J Miller

It has no soul or charm

1/5

Reviewed by Luke