Abandoned: Straight Up Slop, Hard And Lacking Nourishment

1/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Yet another horror thriller film about post-partum depression.

How many times are we going to be served the same slop? Is there supernatural goings on or does the lead character have post-partum depression, and or is the baby possessed or does the lead have post-partum. We have seen it so many times before and frankly I am becoming agitated with the generic storylines that keep making it into horror cinema, the Babadook did the idea well and all the films that have come after it have been bargain basement knockoffs at best.

What’s more I am beginning to question whether Emma Roberts can act or whether she simply gets roles because of who her aunt is. We have all seen and enjoyed Wild Child, Adult World and American Horror Story but outside of those productions Roberts seems to be phoning it in, unable to communicate any kind of emotion at all in any of her performances.

The mystery here isn’t a mystery if you have ever watched a horror film or a thriller before, it is just mind-numbingly obvious.

Overall, Roberts is slumming it for an easy pay check.

Pros.

It is watchable, it is not offensively bad.

Cons.

Roberts is awful

The mystery is entirely predictable

You have seen this film before

It is not scary or thrilling

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Star Trek Strange New Worlds: The Elysian Kingdom

2/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The crew of the Enterprise find themselves turned into characters from a children’s book after a cosmic entity befriends the Chief Medical Officer’s dying daughter.

What the hell happened here? There is so much wrong with this episode I hesitate to know where to begin. Firstly, fantasy episodes of Star Trek or episodes where they embrace more whacky and out there premises rarely work in my opinion. I didn’t mind the body swap episode earlier in the season, but this for me was just too silly. However, the once thing I will give this episode’s premise is that it drastically changed the personality of almost all the Enterprise’s crew and gave us wildly different versions of the characters then those we have come to expect, I thought Pike, played by Anson Mount, and La’an, played by Christina Chong, were stand outs in this regard. For the most part I found these alt versions of the characters to be somewhat entertaining.

Moreover, the ending of the episode feels like an almost insulting pay off to the M’Benga storyline. Not only does his daughter get a miracle Deus ex machina cure, she also leaves with the cosmic entity seemingly for the rest of her life yet M’Benga just carries on as normal. Yes, an argument can be made that her leaving was for the greater good and he knew that,  and that as her father he would just want to see her safe and well, but I don’t buy for a minute that he wouldn’t even be a little bit upset that he is unlikely to see her again.

Overall, this episode felt out of place and like a clear example of filler.

Pros.

The alt versions of the characters being over the top gave some amusement

It is watchable

Cons.

The ending

It is too silly

The fantasy elements really don’t work  

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The Man From Toronto: Don’t Mistake This Film For A Better One

2/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A chap, played by Kevin Hart, out for a nice romantic getaway with his significant other, played by Jasmine Matthews, becomes wrapped up in a world of hitmen when he falls prey to a case of mistaken identity.

This movie is a turd, but make no mistake it is not Kevin Hart’s fault. If it were not for Hart this film would get a lot lower, and I mean a lot. Hart does provide the film with a number of laughs and makes getting through it slightly less excruciating and for that I thank him.

That aside, this is why Netflix is in hot water, yet another stupid pointless action film that does nothing new and thinks that by just throwing famous faces into whacky situations it makes a film good; it takes far more than that. The whole premise of this film is incredibly familiar, but it is not even as though Netflix is ripping off other better action films, no, it feels like Netflix are ripping off their own back catalogue. Moreover, the idea of the soft guy teaming up with the tough guy, here played by a very much phoning it in Woody Harrelson, is more than a little stale at this point. Really this film is peak generic, that is probably the best and most succinct way to describe it .  

Overall, yet more terrible Netflix fare slightly elevated by Kevin Hart

Pros.

Hart

It is watchable

Cons.

It is generic

It has been done better before

It is Netflix plagiarising themselves

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Ms Marvel: Destined

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Kamala, played by Iman Vellani, learns the origin of her powers, and is forced to make some difficult decisions.

I would say this was the worst episode of Ms Marvel yet, which shows how good the rest of the show is as this still isn’t a bad episode just far weaker than the previous two episodes. The reason for my thinking is twofold, firstly I don’t like the new Djinn origin for her powers and would have much preferred they stuck with her being an Inhuman. We knew for a while the show was taking the character in this direction but I was hoping that they would stick the landing with his new origin for her powers and they really don’t. Secondly, the villains of this show are, so far, incredibly poor and written as cliches in almost every possible way. The DODC agent, played by Alysia Reiner feels like a karen and has all the hallmarks of that character type, I hope the series does something more with her as right now she feels downright cartoonish. Moreover, the Clandestine group really highlights the poor writing, as they go from friendly to villainous in the space of about 5 minutes because Kamala won’t help them immediately, this seems like incredibly dumb villain writing as it would make more sense for them to let her have her time to try and gain her trust before using her.

However, despite these issues the episode is not bad and has more than a few redeemable moments.  The entirety of the wedding scene is terrific, all of the characters we have come to know over the past two episodes get to have sweet little moments, and the dance sequence towards the end is one of the most pure and joyous things I have seen out of the MCU in a long while. I also like that Nakia, played by Yasmin Fletcher, now knows about Kamala’s powers as I feel like it will lead to some interesting interactions in the coming episodes between the two of them.

Overall, the villains need improvement otherwise a lot of people are going to say that this is yet another example of Marvel’s villain problem whereby they are all paper thin and forgettable.

Pros.

The wedding scene

Nakia finding out about Kamala’s powers

The ending

Cons.

The villains

The new powers origins  

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Mothering Sunday: Prepare To Be Depressed

1/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Set in a post WWI Britain this film tells the tale of Jane, played by Odessa Young, a maid who falls in love with a wealthy man, played by Josh O’ Connor.

This film was fairly bleak across the board. With the amount of death and heartbreak in it one questions whether this is even a romance film, or whether it is simply a drama about the impacts of post war trauma and gilded cages. I was so depressed by the end of this film that I had to watch something happy and upbeat almost straight away, be warned.

Moreover, the film has a needless amount of nudity throughout. This goes in both directions and feels as though it has just been stuffed in to give a shock to the older market that would usually come out for this sort of fare. Rather than feeling daring, or perhaps subversive, this instead feels incredibly try hardy.

For positives I would say that this film is certainly watchable, Colin Firth and Olivia Colman both give strong performances even if they are only featured infrequently. However, The leads seem far too detached for most of the film, which makes it hard to care about either of them, or even the film itself at times.

Overall, I am curious who this was made for?

Pros.

It is watchable and Firth and Colman give good performances

Cons.

The excessive amount of nudity

It is depressing

It is hard to care about any of the characters

It is terribly paced

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Good Luck To You, Leo Grande: A Sexual Prime Is Never Over

4.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

After the death of her husband a woman, played by Emma Thompson, grapples with rediscovering her sexuality.

I think this film is a marvel. Not least for what it does in terms of pushing age boundaries in Hollywood and reconstructing the idea of a nude scene, but also because it is so earnest and tender.

For the most part the film is a series of conversations in a room between Thompson and a male prostitute, played by Daryl McCormack, who she hires. This could easily have become very boring and drawn out however, the film does a great job of exploring these characters and allowing us to see further and further past their carefully crafted masks as the film progress.

Furthermore, I thought the conversations between the two often became very heartfelt and insightful, not only reflecting the struggles of life but also the very notion of British repression. I thought the two actors had great chemistry together and the screen really came alive when they were interacting.

Overall, I thought it was a wonderfully thoughtful film.

Pros.

Thompson

McCormack

The writing and the insight

The feel good nature of the film

It made me smile frequently

Cons.

It certainly won’t be for everyone  

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Obi-Wan Kenobi: Part VI

4.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Obi-Wan Kenobi, played by Ewan McGregor, and Vader, played by Hayden Christensen and voiced by James Earl Jones, face off once again, and Reva, played by Moses Ingram, goes to hunt down the child of Anakin Skywalker.

For the most part a great final episode. There were a few things that I would nit-pick, such as the Grand Inquisitor, played by Rupert Friend, still looking naff, or the fact they undercut what should be a very impactful moment with a meme reference, but those aside this episode is firing on all cylinders.

The fight between Vader and Obi-Wan was well done and fairly cool, I wasn’t so keen that it was the memory of Leia , played by Vivian Lyra Blair, that returned his strength not his memories of Anakin or even of both the children, but that is just personal taste. I thought it was a bit of a forgone conclusion that Kenobi would beat Vader, but I enjoyed his defeat all the same Christensen gave a great performance.

The Reva sub-plot I thought tied things up nicely, it redeemed her to a degree and had her survive to go off and have her own adventures as possible a light side Jedi again. I really thought these last two episodes really brought Reva into her own, it was just a shame that she was written so one notedly beforehand.   

Finally, I just want to touch on the Qui-Gon Jinn, played by Liam Neeson, who does a make a return here and boy oh boy what a return it is. Seeing Neeson back really made my day, a great way to end it.

Do I think we need a second season? No not really, I say leave it here and maybe have the comics fill in the rest, Star Wars as a brand really needs some new characters and new stories, the past as they say should die.

Overall, a strong season finale.

Pros.

The Vader fight

Redeeming Reva

Qui-Gon’s return

The emotion

It really brought the series together

Cons.

A few nit-picky concerns and issues  

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The Boys: Herogasm

5/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Spoilers

What an episode, The Boys and Soldier Boy, played by Jensen Ackles, take the fight to Homelander, played by Anthony Star and we get to see Herogasm in all its glory.

I will get my one little nit-pick out of the way now. I would have liked Herogasm to be a bigger deal and more of an event, like it was in the comics, than what we got. I am not saying what we got wasn’t hedonism in the extreme, but I would just have liked it to be grander, I suppose maybe Amazon stepped in and said, ‘steady on’.

That aside this was a great episode. The fight between Butcher, played by Karl Urban, Soldier Boy, Hughie, played by Jack Quaid, and Homelander was great. Like I accurately predicted in my previous reviews Homelander loses, and it will be this and his public shaming at the end that will lead to him going full on monstrous and no doubt declaring war on America like he does in the comics.

I also liked seeing the character growth of both M.M, played by Laz Alonso, and A-Train, played by Jessie T. Usher, part of me wanted to see A-Train get killed by Hughie for comics accuracy but I actually thought the scene wherein A-Train gets emotional and apologizes was incredibly well done and touching. I do wonder if this is it for A-Train as when he uses his powers again he seems to have a heart attack, if it is the end I think he went out on a hell of a high. With M.M I thought seeing him go to town trying to hurt Butcher felt very therapeutic and much deserved, I also thought him being the hero rather than getting his revenge really does show the best of him and why he is the heart and soul of the team.

Finally, the b story with Frenchie, played by Tomer Capone, and Kimiko, played by Karen Fukuhara, was very sweet and continued to extent out their character dynamic. I look forward to seeing them as a couple even if I do think it will be short lived.

Overall, a spectacular episode of TV.

Pros.

The Homelander fight

Jensen Ackles continues to shine

The ending

Seeing a TV version of Herogasm

The character work

Cons.

Herogasm could have been a little more outrageous

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Crimes Of The Future: Where We Are All Heading

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

In a future where humans are evolving to eat plastic, a war is being fought over what makes someone human as well as notions around monstrosity.

Honestly this film will not be for a lot of people. I myself had a fair amount of issues with it such as: it was far too long, it sometimes came across as pretentious and smug and thought it was a bit more intelligent than it actually is, and of course there is a scene where you see a child’s penis. No scene in any film should show a nude child, just no.

However, despite that opening painting a rather damning picture, I don’t think this film is all bad and I do think that there are some trace amounts of greatness in here. In many ways this can be seen as a traditional Cronenberg film, or certainly as the director returning to his roots. The body horror aspects are all very inspired and well done and as such the film stands out in the modern horror landscape, however, there are a few times wherein the gore and the viscera became a little too much for me; what can I say I don’t like live surgery scenes and there are a lot of them here.

Moreover, I think the performances across the board were also terrific. This is highlighted with gusto by a very game Viggo Mortensen and a surprisingly unsettling Kristen Stewart. I think that the characters and world created are so intriguing that it allows the film to get away with some of its worse sins. I also really enjoyed the originality of the premise as I felt like I hadn’t seen this before.

Overall, very much a film made for a niche audience, but one you should experience for yourself all the same.

Pros.

The performances

The world

The premise

Cons.

It is too long and at times overly pretentious

Showing child nudity

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Jerry And Marge Go Large: Bryan Cranston Is The Ultimate Dad

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

After retiring from this job Jerry Selbee, played by Bryan Cranston, and his wife Marge, played by Annette Bening, decide to take advantage of a mathematical flaw in their local lottery and win money to help the town to stay afloat.

This film is deeply forgettable. Clearly this film wants to be the feel good film to cheer us all up in these dark times, and that is admirable, however really it is just incredibly generic. I think the acting weight of Cranston and Bening really do help to pull it up, without them giving deeply earnest performances I would have scored this film lower, much lower.

I understand it is based on a true story so there is only so much they can do with creative license, but this film feels like about a hundred other all American films, where the nice humble small town Americans get rewarded. In many ways without even watching this film you can accurately predict where the plot is going and how things will end up.

Moreover, I have looked into the true story this film is based on and can’t see any mention to the entitled college kids who become the villains to these simple down to earth folks. The whole narrative is so cliched and laughably bad, I don’t know why the film needed to include it in the first place.

Overall, fine. Cranston and Bening do a hell of a lot of good work, without them this film would just be forgettable schlock.

Pros.

Bening

Cranston

It is watchable

Cons.

The evil college kids

It is incredibly cliched and generic   

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