The Munsters: Use My Body To Keep You Alive

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Rob Zombie brings back The Munsters.

I saw a few episodes of the original series when I was a kid, but outside of that I have come to this project with very little familiarity with the IP. Mainly I came because I am a big fan of the films of Rob Zombie, also I wanted to see how his first foray into the world of family filmmaking went. In all honesty this film is a mixed bag, and if you aren’t a fan of Zombie’s style then you will almost certainly not like it.

I think that Zombie’s sensibilities work better outside of the family genre, I think now after watching this that Zombie needs the gore and the mania as compliments to his work. That is not to say that this is entirely without charm, to the contrary I found myself quite enjoying some of the more out there nods and jokes here and Sheri Moon Zombie is as delightful as always. However, on the whole I would say the film’s comedy left me freezing cold.

I do question who this was for, was it for the original fans? New ones? Who? I don’t think the film at all justifies its existence, even though it has many opportunities to in as the film is seemingly on for eons- maybe it just felt that way.

A saving grace of this film was the score, it gave me something to latch onto.

Overall, the only reason this film gets a slightly better than average score from me is because I am a Zombie fan and really appreciate his signature style, most other people would rate in lower.

Pros.

Zombie’s direction flair

The zaniness of it

The score

Cons.

It is too long and doesn’t justify its existence

The comedy doesn’t work, and the family friendly feel holds the film back

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Pinocchio: Chapek Is Spitting On The Disney Vault

1/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Yet another unwanted live-action remake of a classic Disney movie.

As soon as this was announced I knew it was going to be bad, but boy howdy did I not realise just how bad it was going to be. Disney has been churning out these soulless remake for a while now and for some reason people are still watching them, maybe it is part of a masochistic new TikTok trend.

I think the worst thing about this film is that its CGI looks straight up horrible, it looks like something from several decades ago and is frequently distracting. I understand that Disney and their various studios are having a hard time with VFX talent, but come on these effects are nowhere near finished and it shows. This is probably why they dumped this on streaming because they know it wouldn’t fly in cinemas.

Moreover, this film reflects the continued downswing of Tom Hank’s career with his performance here being almost as bad as his one in Elvis earlier this year. It is not just Hanks as no one seems to be turning up for this film and it really shows, the cast just don’t care.

I won’t bother saying how this film never does anything to justify its existence as I find that to be self-explanatory.

Overall, if it is a Disney live action remake it is best avoided.

Pros.

It makes you appreciate the original film

Cons.

It has some of the worst effects of the year

The performances are awful

It feels rushed and unready for release

The pacing is noticeably bad in many parts of the film

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Luck: Mindless Slop That Isn’t Worth Your Kids Time

1/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Unlucky Sam, voiced by Eva Nobelzada, discovers the world of luck.

I have written before about the fact that often animated films aimed at families and children don’t feel the need to try to be good or to match the standards that people would expect from films with the idea that children will eat up any old slop, and this really does embody that idea.

In many ways this film feels dead behind the eyes and truly soulless, there is nothing of meaningful substance here, instead it just went through the motions and churned out tired fantasy tropes that we have seen again and again. They also force in some songs for who knows what reason, probably because a focus group recommended it, and in these song and dance numbers we get another good luck at again studio executives trying to pander to the youth of today in the most cringe way.

I think the vocal performances across the board were nearly consistently terrible, with Nobezada sound bored and asleep at the wheel with the line delivery of low battery robot and Simon Pegg doing his best Mike Myers as Shrek impression. I am a huge fan of Pegg as an actor but I question why he was cast here, he really doesn’t bring much to the film and someone possessing a real Scottish accent who is also a talented voice actor say someone like James McAvoy could have done a much better job of it.

Overall, don’t subject your kids to this, they won’t look at you the same way afterwards.

Pros.

It is pretty bad but it is not unwatchable or offensive

Cons.

Nobelzada

Pegg

The story is stupid and contrived

The songs

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DC League Of Super-Pets: The Horniest Turtle You Will Ever Meet

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Krypto, voiced by Dwayne Johnson and a rag tag group of other pets must come together to save the Justice League after they are bested by Lex Luthor’s Guinea Pig, voiced by Kate McKinnon.

I think this film is very watchable and has a lot of good elements within it, do I think this film is going to set the world on fire? No, obviously not, but I think there are worse ways to spend a few hours.

With the exception of one character that I will get to later, most of the characters are fairly one note of forgettable, and their respective voice actors don’t do all that much to liven up proceedings. Natasha Lyonne does her best as a horny turtle and lands a few laughs but even she can’t save this film on a performance front. Hell even Keanu Reeves himself, the man who can single-handedly save any movie, as Batman isn’t enough. Those are words I never thought I would have to write.  

The one exception to this however is Kevin Hart as Ace. The leader of the stray pack and a dog who was chucked out of his home after saving a little girl from falling down the stairs has a massive amount of depth and heart put into his character and Hart really delivers on a warm and tender yet also funny vocal performance. I think truly that this is Kevin Hart’s film and that he outshines all of his co-stars and forms a soon to be beloved animated character.

I also enjoyed all the reference in this film to other films such as the throwaway Warriors bit. Though most audiences of this film won’t have watched that, I found it to be funny. Moreover, on the whole I found myself laughing quite a few times during this film and do think the humour works quite well.

Overall, a watchable and somewhat entertaining animated film with one really strong character, sadly the rest of the characters aren’t quite on the mark.

Pros.

Hart

It is funny

The references

The ending

Cons.

The voice cast is mostly wasted

It has pacing issues

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The Railway Children Return: Replacing A British Identity With An American One

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The Railway Children return and it has never felt more American.

Straight off the bat I don’t mind the fact that this film decided to tackle the racism amongst American troops station in Yorkshire during WWII, however, I will say the way the film choose to use this plot feels incredibly forced in, because there will just be a section about something else and then bang they will bring it back out of nowhere.

This idea of racial identity is just one of the ways in which this film feels more American than quintessentially British like first film. Honestly, this film could be set anywhere, it could be set in rural America if you were willing to give up the backdrop such is its weak identity.

Further in that regard, the only real thing that links this film to the first film is the return of Jenny Agutter, if it was not for her this film could have been any number of other generic WWII movies. I think the older cast certainly did a lot of the heavy lifting here and for the most part they help to keep the film on track.  To me John Bradley was the standout of the adult performers giving quite a sweet and well natured performance that makes you warm quickly to his character.

Overall, it is still watchable and above average, however, it is seemingly having an identity crisis.

Pros.

Agutter

Bradly

It is very watchable

Cons.

The racism plotline feels awkwardly forced in

It feels far too American  

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The Railway Children: Back When Trains Weren’t Awful

4.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

After their dad, played by Ian Cuthbertson, lands in prison a wealthy family must move up to a small Yorkshire town to start over.

I think this film is a British classic, there is just something so wholesome and sweet to the picture that it is hard not to like. It also feels fundamentally British in a way that is hard to describe, any British readers of this review who have seen this film will know what I mean.

A further thing I enjoyed about this film is how it has quite a gothic and unsettling undercurrent to it, so much so that it feels like at any minute the music could change and the film could become a ghost story. Perhaps this was unique to my viewing and other people will not read the film the same way, but I thought there was very much an off-kilter dream like quality to the film and I quite liked that about it.

I thought the performances across the board were terrific, and due to this you started to see the characters as real people rather than actors playing characters and became lost in that world.

My only complaint about the film would be that the beginning was  a little slow and that it took some time to get into its groove, however, once it hit that groove it was a delight.

Overall,  a British classic.

Pros.

It is very wholesome

It feels deeply British

The characters are all very easy to warm to

The underlying sinisterness

It’s a lot of fun

Cons.

A slow first act

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The Sea Beast: An Underwater How To Train Your Dragon

3.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

In a world of Hunters and Sea Beasts, the two sides finally realise that the real evil in the world are corrupt monarchies that pit them against each other.

I thought that this was one of the best Netflix originals that I have seen in some time. I enjoyed the world and the characters tremendously and thought that it had a lot to say about life and about the current state of our own world. I also enjoyed the fact that every time Karl Urban spoke he reminded me of his character from The Boys, the accents are basically the same, that gave me some happy flashbacks.

The film as a whole has a strong How To Train Your Dragon’s vibe, with some plot elements feeling almost beat for beat the same. However, where in other instances I would lambast this film for its lack of creativity and originality I actually like the elements here on display despite the fact they are so obviously copied over. I thought that the sea beast that we meet are all quite memorable and cute looking; Netflix really should start selling more merch from their films and shows.

My issues with the film mainly come from a pacing perspective as I think this film could do with being about twenty minutes shorter as there is a lot of needless bloat wherein not much happens around the second act, which could be removed to the film’s betterment.  

Overall, fun but not perfect.

Pros.

The ending

The sea beasts themselves

It is a lot of fun

Urban

Cons.

The pacing

It is very familiar

It doesn’t service all its characters and a lot of them remain undeveloped

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Minions The Rise Of Gru: A Surprising Good Time

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Telling the tale of Gru’s early life, as he tries to become a member of the Vicious Six.

Full disclosure I did not like the first Minions film, so I went into this with incredibly low expectations, but found myself pleasantly surprised. To my shock the film was actually quite funny, it had me laughing on several occasions, and I also thought it was mostly sweet throughout as well, I liked the emotional core of the story.

Moreover, the more gimmicky and irritating elements of Illumination’s style, the dumb jokes and over abuse of license music, didn’t strike me as being so egregious here though they did still show up  on occasion.

The minions themselves each had their own moments to shine but I would say the real stand out was Steve Carell’s performance as Gru. Carell really is the heart and soul of this franchise and I would say that without him this film wouldn’t have worked even half as well, I think seeing his character at this younger stage really allows for us to explore a different side to him and see him in a whole new light.

Overall, a welcome treat that is both funny and sweet.

Pros.

Carell

The ending

The minions themselves, especially when they get powered up

The humour and the emotion

Cons.

A few little irritating nostalgia baiting moments

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The Smurfs: Why Sony Pictures Animation Will Never Be Respected

1.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Sony decided to waste some money and bring back the Smurfs.

Where to start with this film. I will admit I went in with low expectations knowing full well that the film would most likely be bad, a Netflix driven act of viewing self-harm, and yet this film was more boring than bad. Truly there isn’t enough here to make it so bad it is good, or even to make it laughably bad. It is just lazy and uninspired.

My biggest question would be if Sony was going to waste the money trying to bring the Smurfs back why not do it well? The animation is some of the worst I have ever seen, worse than a Disney channel original movie, furthermore, I don’t think the poor quality can be blamed on the year this film came out as it was not that long ago: in all honesty I think Sony just went cheap with it.

Next on the agenda, why is Gargamel, played by Hank Azaria, such an incredibly anti-semitic character? Almost everything about the portrayal reeks of old fashioned and frankly dangerous Jewish stereotypes, are we not past that? Honestly how that character in that shape ever made it into the film is baffling.

Finally, Katy Perry isn’t a good voice actor. I didn’t really think that needed saying but hey musicians aren’t always great at everything, even if you cynically throw them into a film during the hight of their popularity to try and boost audience numbers.

Overall, how was this film successful?

Pros.

Neil Patrick Harris is always great

It is watchable if you are prepared to look past the more outdated elements

Cons.

The antisemitism

Perry

The animation is awful

It is incredibly generic    

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Father Of The Bride: Really This Again

2.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A Latinx remake of Father Of The Bride. It is exactly what you would expect it to be for the most part.

A few things I will praise this film for, firstly Andy Garcia is terrific he perfectly captures the neurotic personality that Martin had in his take on the character, but also adds his own distinct flair to it. Moreover, I like that in a few small areas this film doesn’t follow the tried and tested story and does its own thing, sadly these sections were few and far between and the film as a whole could have benefited a lot more from trying to break away from and subvert our expectations rather than just giving us the same old same old.

I think in a lot of ways therein lies the main problem with this film, it is boring. It is the same story with the same characters that you have seen before. I understand that Hollywood is creatively bankrupt but do they think that can just keep remaking the same old collection of films over and over again and people will be happy and accept that? I think they need to do better.

Overall, Garcia is trying and the film is very watchable but ultimately this film lacks any kind of new ideas and just trots out the same worn plot beats and character journeys.

Pros.

Garcia

It is very watchable

Isabela Merced

Cons.

It is deeply generic

It relies heavily on cliches for its character types

It is tired and worn out in the extreme  

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