The Funeral Home is an Argentinian horror film directed by Mauro Ivan Ojeda. The plot sees a family of morticians have to deal with the strains of running a funeral home, whilst something else, something far more sinister is also going on in the background.
This is an incredibly strong horror feature. This film builds its scares so well over the course of its runtime and they feel scarier for it. The atmosphere is key to all good horror films as you have heard me say before and this film nails that, as the familial tensions rise so to do the iffy not quite right goings on- till both reach a fever pitch.
I personally, though it is subjective, found the film to be scary. I think part of that comes from the originality of the film, in that the scares did not happen where and when I thought they would, and that it kept me guessing about the mystery. However, also part of this fear comes from the very real very personal struggle and infighting of the family.
I only have two slight issues with the film, one is that there were a few jump scares in there, which is a shame as the horror works so perfectly on its own it really doesn’t need them. Also, I thought more could have been done with the family yes, the drama and the friction helps to build tension and does make for some very tense scenes, but they feel a little underdeveloped as a whole.
Overall, a near perfect horror film that is brimming with fresh blood and memorable scenes.
A strong atmosphere
It kept me guessing
The personal and often unsettling family drama
A few jump scares
The family as individuals rather than the unit as a whole could have been better developed
Reviewed by Luke
The Dig is a drama film directed by Simon Stone. The plot serves as a reimagining of the Sutton Hoo dig of 1939 from the point of view of pushed to the side excavator Basil Brown (Ralph Fiennes).
I remember the other day seeing a tweet from Netflix (possibly Netflix UK), saying something to the extent of this is one for the tweed lovers, and that is true, but there is also so much more to like about this film besides from its nice country esque wardrobe.
I was surprised to find how much I ended up caring about this dig and those involved in it. Fiennes and particularly Carey Mulligan really manage to develop these characters out into real flesh and blood people who you care about and become emotionally invested in; Lilly James struggles to the same with her character, she is a little out of her depth here.
This film is unrelentingly bleak, you can tell right from the off that it will not end happily, this is real life after all or a ‘true story’ version of it. Yes, the ending is bleak but in a way that serves to strengthen the emotional significants of the film and the discovery itself. The ending serves to enrage you for reasons that will become clear if you watch it.
Overall, I think this is another win for Carey Mulligan, after Promising Young Women see really is one a marvellous streak.
The emotional beats
The ending is infuriating but also perfect for the film
Lilly James sticks out for all the wrong reasons
Reviewed by Luke
Happy Cleaners is a drama film directed by Julian Kim and Peter S. Lee. The plot follows the Choi Family as they navigate life, and the hardships therein. Their relationships will be tested, and their bonds strained, but can the Family survive its American Dream?
This film made me hungry, it then warmed my heart; but I was still hungry. This is one of the sweetest most genuine films I have seen in a long time, it feels so painfully true to life that you almost forget it is fiction and think that it is a documentary at times. This film speaks so much to the life of a lot of people that falls far beyond the glamorised Hollywood ideal, and shows it like it is for a lot of people, in a never-ending struggle.
The heart and by extension the emotional impact of the film were exactly where they needed to be to leave a lasting impact. The scene between the Father (Charles Ryu), and The Son (Yun Jeong), that follows on from the heated argument, where they manage to understand where the other is coming from without physically saying it is magnificent there is so much said without words in this scene it truly is a work of art; and it made me cry a little bit.
The acting is all very strong, not just from Ryu and Jeong but from the whole family. Hyang-hwa Lim as the matriarch of the family who just wants what’s best for her kids, despite them not agreeing with her assessment of what best is, is also very strong. I think her character has a near perfect arc, and the health scare really helps to add further perspective into the film and the scene and deepen the emotional takeaway.
Overall, a magnificent film that speaks to you to tell you of a shared life and experience, one that will be both different and familiar.
The food scenes are great food porn and do make you hungry
The few jokes that there are work well and make you laugh
The emotional pay off
Reviewed by Luke
Outside The Wire is a science fiction action film directed by Mikael Hafstorm. The plot imagines a future were the Russia Ukraine crisis has spilled out and become an international war being fought by both human and machine soldiers. We follows drone pilot Harp (Damson Idris), as he is sent into this theater of war to help Captain Leo (Anthony Mackie), stop nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists.
All of these futuristic action films are starting to feel the same in my mind and I am finding it hard to tell them apart. There is nothing unique or particularly new or interesting here to sink your teeth into most of what we see is just recycling ideas from other works.
The plot as a whole is very eh, again it has been done better before. Furthermore, the twist (that I am not going to spoil as it is a fairly recent film, is obvious and predicatable and is utterly underwhelming they could have done so much more with it, but they settle for mediocrity.
The only pro I will say for this film is that the interplay between Mackie and Idris is on strong form. The two have a great rapport and the banter between the two of them is easily the highlight of the film; it made me smile several times.
Overall yet more bland, generic science fiction that even genre die hard will struggle to like.
Mackie and Idris
It is generic
The twist isn’t good
It is poorly paced
It is dull
Reviewed by Luke
Hush is a home invasion horror film directed by Mike Flanagan. The plot sees deaf mute writer Maddie (Kate Seigel), become terrorised by a masked killer and in order to survive she is forced to fight back.
I have heard people talk about this film for a while, it has been recommended to me several times over the year, yet it has remained in my Netflix que. However, that changed the other night as I finally decided to give it a go, and meh it was exactly what I was expecting it to be and nothing more.
I thought this was just going to be a run of the mill home invasion slasher film and it was just that, honestly it was just deeply average. As, someone who has seen a lot of these types of films I really found nothing of note about this film, nothing that made this film interesting or stand out from the rest of the subgenre; frankly I think the only reason it is even talked about is because the director also did The Haunting series for Netflix and they are popular.
The only real positive I can find with the film was that Seigel was a good lead. She is clearly doing the best with what she has to work with, but she makes the character rounded and interesting. We buy into her fight for survival as it feels genuine and relatable. It is also nice to see more deaf representation in the horror genre, even though the actor herself is not deaf.
Overall, if you like home invasion films and want to see the same old formula repeated again then you will enjoy this film, if you want something fresh that has an original idea, stay clear.
It is more of the same
I’ve seen it done better before
It is boring and predictable
It lacks any kind of freshness
Reviewed by Luke
Jack Reacher Never Go Back is an action film directed by Edward Zwick, based on the novel series by Lee Child. The plot this time around sees Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise), become wanted for murder after a military contractor betrays his employer. Furthermore, a young woman called Samantha (Danika Yarosh), appears on the scene who has a personal connection to Reacher thereby making her a target.
This film is just plain boring, there is no other way to describe it. The coolest bit of the film is the dinner fight scene in the first five minutes after that it quickly plunges off a cliff, do yourself a favour and turn this off after the five-minute mark.
The action is all very humdrum nothing special or memorable as we have come to expect of Cruise in recent years, all the stunts and fight scenes seem very tame and safe and fail to illicit anything more than an uninterested shrug from you.
Cruise’s performance here lacks all of the charm that made the first film so good, the character seems aloof at best and cold and almost sociopathic at worst. The character is given an emotional journey, but he seems no different at the end to how he was at the start. It is very underwhelming.
Overall, deeply generic, and not worth your time.
Cobie Smulders has a very good scenes, sadly she is wasted for the rest of the film
It has been done better before
The action is not exciting
Cruise seems bored
The film is badly paced, and you lose interest quickly
Reviewed by Luke
Bad Boys is a buddy cop action film directed by Michael Bay. The plot follows two Miami police detectives as they get wrapped up in a narcotics investigation that threatens them on both a personal and professional level.
Before watching this, the only Bad Boys film I had seen was the most recent entry For Life, however watching this film actually made me like that less. That is not to say this is a bad film quite the opposite to be truthful with you, watching this allowed me to see how all the jokes and other elements I liked in For Life where actually just repeated from this film; the unoriginality is staggering.
Say what you want about Bay, as a director he was at this prime in the 90s and this film proves that. This is everything you would want from a buddy cop action film, explosions, laughs, catchphrases…. well maybe not everything; this is no Lethal Weapon after all, but there is enough there to keep you entertained.
Will Smith and Martin Lawrence have a great comedic back and forth, no Gibson and Glover but few can aspire to that level of greatness. I think this film manages to nail the tone perfectly between silly and serious as it can by its nature go from a jokey scene between the partners to them witnessing an important death that still feels resonantly impactful, without being jarring in the transition.
Overall, is this as good as Lethal Weapon no, no it is not, but it is definitely on the high end of the buddy cop scale, there is a lot to love here as long as you aren’t too demanding. Smith and Lawrence are electric together on screen.
The switch in switch out tone
Smith and Lawrence
Some of it is a little cliched
It is not as funny as it thinks it is.
Reviewed by Luke
The Highwaymen is a period crime drama film directed by John Lee Hancock. The plot details the man hunt for the infamous bank robbing duo Bonny and Clyde from the point of view of the two Texas Rangers who were tasked with brining them down.
If you like crime drama films, as I do, then you will find some enjoyment here. The story of the final days of Bonny and Clyde is not one that has been overexposed in films before and there is something to explore there.
However, yes there was a but coming to that praise, these moments only take up maybe 30% of the film. The film seems to think that the narrative as a whole and its take on it, are both far deeper then they actually are. There are many lines peppered in throughout the film that are clearly supposed to make you think ‘hey this is a deep film, with some things to say about the world’, though instead they just come across as obvious and trite.
Moreover, there is no reason this film is on for over 2 hours, it comes across as unnecessarily arduous, with the slow pace only serving to ruin the film in the long run.
Overall, though the acting from Harrelson and Costner is okay and the shootouts are more than just basic set pieces, this film is not an easy watch as the pace and self-importance force you to lose interest quicky.
Having the set pieces matter in narrative rather than just being things that happen.
It is painfully shallow
It is incredibly slow
It is poorly paced, and that is what kills it.
Reviewed by Luke
Instant Family is a comedy drama film directed by Sean Anders. The film follows a couple, Pete, and Ellie, (Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne), who decide to adopt three kids. The film follows the life of the new family and explores what the word family really means.
Right off the bat I will say that you have seen this before, the storyline has been mined for all it is worth and you know exactly what is coming right from the first minute: it is insanely predictable. However, despite this the film still manages to nail its core emotional beats and as such you become invested in the story and the lives of these characters: the final showdown in the court room is rather moving.
You can see that Wahlberg is struggling to deviate from his tough guy persona here, unlike Byrne he struggles more with the emotional scenes and is less believable as a result. However, he does have a few good moments that warm the heart, such as the scene he scares with teenage wild card Lizzy (Isabela Moner), when they smash things up together.
With that in mind I would say Moner is the star of the show here, she nails both the comedy and the heart and hers is the character that feels the most realised and explored. Moner brings more to the role that just the usual teenage moodiness and actually makes the character compelling, even managing to upstage Wahlberg and Byrne at times.
Overall, though this film is nothing new its huge heart is enough to win you over.
Wahlberg feels out of place
It is very obvious and predictable
Reviewed by Luke
Blithe Spirt is a comedy film directed by Edward Hall. The plot follows author/ screen writer Charles Condomine (Dan Stevens) who after performing a mocking séance accidentally brings back his dead first wife Elvira (Leslie Mann), much to the chagrin of his current wife Ruth (Isla Fisher). The three have to find a way to live with each other.
I had been looking forward to this film for a long time, and when I saw it, it met my expectations. The main strength of this film is its charm, all of the character have moments that make you laugh and cheer, which work mainly because of the overwhelming charm of the film.
The humour was not laugh out loud funny, but it did have me smiling consistently throughout. I enjoyed the premise and thought that the idea was quite ingenious, I also thought the rules came up with for ghosts and how they could and couldn’t interact with the living were fascinating.
Furthermore, I thought Dan Stevens was a perfectly fine lead but that he was outdone at every turn by Mann and Fisher, really this was there movie. I loved the interplay between the characters, even though by the logic of the film one cant see the other, I thought the actors had great chemistry and whenever the two shared a scene together I thought it popped fantastically.
Overall, an entertaining good time.
The premise and the execution
The world and the rules of the ghosts and the afterlife
Judi Dench was underused
It wasn’t funny
Reviewed by Luke