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       

Nutcracker And The Four Realms: Stay In The Uncanny Valley, Please

The Nutcracker And The Four Realms is a fantasy adventure film directed by Lasse Hallstrom and Joe Johnson. The plot sees troubled outsider Clara (Mackenzie Foy), venture into a strange world in search of a key to one of her late mother’s possessions.

This film is bizarre, it is like it too a good look at Alice In Wonderland and decided to copy it but make it even more convoluted and odd. There is an underlying sinisterness to this world and this film in generally that I can’t quite put my finger on, but there is definitely something off about it.

The CGI does not help the film at all, it ends up looking all a bit too obviously fake and the uncanniness of it all becomes jarring and off-putting the more you are exposed to it.

The only positive I have for the film is that its basic premise and world feel interesting, like there is a fascinating tale to tell there. However, the film as a whole fails to delivery on this and instead churns out yet another mindless, soulless, big-screen CGI fest. The acting is likewise as wooden, with several big-name actors clearly only here for the money.

The big third act twist where one of the key characters turns out to be evil is one of the most obvious reveals I have ever seen in all my years watching films, and I understand the audience for this would be mostly children but come on Disney have some respect for your audience. They are not all mindless and as the final numbers show they refuse to eat your off brand, out of date, cliché riddled, fantasy slop anymore. Do better!

Overall, though there is a sliver of promise here, it is quickly crushed under a mountain of awful CGI, pay check performances and disturbing feeling. Utter trash.

Pros.

There is some promise

It is watchable

Cons.

There is something wrong with it

The CGI is overused and off-putting

The performances are awful

The plot assumes that the audience are brain dead

The twist

1/5

Reviewed by Luke

Playing With Fire: John Cena Learns To Cry

Playing With Fire is a family comedy film directed by Andy Fickman. The plot sees a group of smoke dodgers look after three children for a few days and finding out that they are more work than they bargained for.

Will this film win awards? No it won’t. Will it be the best film you will see all year? No again. Will it make you smile? Yes, it will and is that not the most important thing?

I put this film on looking for some wholesome entertainment and I found just that. The comedy is quite good, there are a few laugh inducing moments throughout the film, but mainly you find yourself just smiling at the wholesome fun of it. For me, the slapstick comedy of the film, mainly done by John Cena (who is also the lead), did not really work. It felt juvenile and even then quite base, on the whole Keegan-Michael Key and John Leguizamo steal the show comedically.

The plot was nothing new, it was all fairly standard the twist about the kids is fairly obvious and the decision at the end is signposted from the start of the film, so neither feel surprising. If you are looking for a strong plot then this is not the film for you, it took things that you have seen before and did then again well enough to be entertaining.

I enjoyed the wholesomeness of this film and watching it defiantly improved my mood.

Overall, far from perfect, but it will entertain you and make you smile

Pros.

The comedy

The wholesomeness

The ending is sweet

Cons.

The plot is fairly been there done that and the plot twists and turns are obvious

The slapstick doesn’t work and feels too dumb

Cena is a weak lead

3/5

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