The Sandman: Bring Me A Dream

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Morpheus, played by Tom Sturridge, the Lord of the Dreaming is captured and kept in isolation for a century, once he escapes he finds things have fallen apart in his kingdom and need to be restored.

I am a big, big, big fan of the Sandman comic, and also of its author Neil Gaiman as such I have been eagerly awaiting this show for a long time. The reason this review is quite past the time of the series release is because I wanted to reread the comic run along side watching the episode of the show, as such things were slowed down but I don’t regret it for a second.

Never before have I seen an adaptation which so perfectly brings the comic book it is based on to life. As I was reading the comics in between watching episode I saw whole series of panels be brough to life almost identically and I think that is one hell of an achievement. Likewise the casting is spot on, Sturridge is a fantastic Dream, Boyd Holbrook perfectly captures the Corinthian and Jenna Coleman and Gwendolyn Christie bring fantastic new takes on characters that I was really quite attached to in Sandman but also their own Vertigo comic runs.

My only criticism of this show, and it is minor, is that some of the new additions for the show that veer ever so slightly away from the comic do produce somewhat of a jarring effect. Like I said before most of the changes, updates and swaps work incredibly well but a few don’t luckily I could ignore it for the most part. Furthermore, the first episode is quite slow, but I suppose it had to be to be able to bring in a casual audience that knew nothing going in, I was expecting it to hit the road at full speed but that was perhaps a little rash of me.

Overall, easily the best thing on Netflix in years.

Pros

The casting

A new take

Bringing over panels seamlessly

The ending and things to come

Cons.

Some of the changes don’t work

The first episode is quite slow

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End Of The Road: A Sorry Endeavor For All Involved

1/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A family on a cross country road trip get on the wrong side of a sketchy group of dudes, and a cat and mouse game begins.

This film sucked hard. The social commentary of this film is so on the nose that it feels like it reaches over and hits you in the face. Nothing new is being said here and it is once again the narrative of white people are bad and are inherently out to get POC, honestly this narrative really annoys me as it is both lazy and such a broad generalisation that it kills any kind of nuanced conversation dead. I don’t doubt that there are evil groups of white people such as the ones this film present, I am sure there are many all over the world, but the way this film goes about tackling this issue never gets out of a place of race-baiting.

The performances are fairly weak across the board, I don’t think anyone in the film thinks this is going to be the film they get an Oscar for. No one hugely stood out though I would say Queen Latifah comes closest, it is nice to see her back as a headline billing, however, she can do far better than this schlock.

Overall, a thriller that goes far too hard on the racial aspect of its narrative and that doesn’t actually deliver many thrills.

Pros.

A few unintentionally funny moments

Cons.

The performances are weak

The race-baiting

The pacing is awful

It is schlock without any charm

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Me Time: Hart Brings The Heart

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Kevin Hart is an untight family man you needs to learn to cut lose, enter his old friend Huck, played by Mark Wahlberg.

On this the face of it this is an incredibly by the numbers comedy film, in almost everyway you have seen this before, Mark Wahlberg himself has made this exact same film before in fact. However, no one ever said a comedy film had to be the height of originality, the real question is, is it funny?

In terms of humour the film is more hit than miss, there are a number of memorable gags but for the most part its fairly weak stuff. For those of you out there who might be hoping for some raunchy material the film is far more family friendly than I was expecting it to be.

I think the best thing about this film and its biggest selling point is Kevin Hart. Hart is doing very well in this family comedy circuit where he plays a dorky family man looking to break loose, I think Hart brings a real sense of heart and soul to these roles that makes it hard not to root for him, with a different actor in the lead this film would be a lot worse for sure.

Overall, nothing revolutionary but watchable with a boost from Hart

Pros.

Hart

It is watchable

It has some wholesome charm

Cons.

Fairly low energy Wahlberg

It is nothing you haven’t seen before   

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Day Shift: Ruining A Perfectly Nice Pair Of Pants

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Jamie Foxx is a vampire hunter and Dave Franco is a man who consistently ruins his slacks.

For the most part I enjoyed this film. I think tongue in cheek action is where Netflix really shines, not when they are trying to be serious. The comedy of this film mostly landed for me and I found myself laughing quite a few times. Likewise I was impressed by most of the action sequences, but I would expect nothing less with Chad Stathelski’s hand in producing this film.

The world building here was nice to see, even if it did feel like a plagiarised version of the John Wick set up with the Union being a very obvious stand in for the High Table and or the world of the Continental. It was nice to see the film explore different types of vampires with different powers and abilities as it gave the various enemies some nice variety.

I think in terms of performance Jamie Foxx is very take him or leave him, he’s fine but anyone could have done his role and many would have done a better job of it. Franco easily upstages his on-screen partner and has a number of memorable lines. However, I think the scene stealer of the film is Natasha Liu Bordizzo’s Heather as she brings a real presence to the film and also has great chemistry with both Foxx and Franco.

Overall, a moderately entertaining picture.

Pros.

Franco

Bordizzo  

The action

Cons.

It feels a little too similar to John Wick

Foxx is a miscast lead

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Spiderhead: Chris Hemsworth Might Be The Next Anthony Hopkins

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Prisoners in a luxury prison are used as guineapigs for mind-altering pharmaceuticals.

It has been a long, long time since a Netflix original film has managed to impress me, however, this film managed to buck that trend.

I thought though the premise has been explored before, I enjoyed where this film took it. The twists and turns keep you guessing and it didn’t end up going in the way I was expecting it to. I thought Chris Hemsworth was a completely inspired villain, Hemsworth needs to take more of these sort of roles, he was not downright sinister but rather slightly unsettling and I thought he was very effective in the role.

Miles Teller on the other hand was a fairly forgettable lead and he wasn’t really able to blow me away in any significant way. Many other actors could have had that role and would probably have been better able to do more with it then what Teller can muster up. Comparing Hemsworth to Teller, really highlights the flaws in Teller’s performance.

Overall, a fun film with a good performance from Hemsworth.

Pros.

Hemsworth

The premise

The twists and turns

The ending

Cons

Teller  

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365 Days: Netflix Should Be Ashamed

0/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A film that romanticises sexual abuse.

This might be one of the grossest films Netflix has ever released. The fact that despite all of the controversy and calls for Netflix to remove it from their platform that they instead pushed ahead with a sequel is honestly sickening to me. I don’t believe in media censorship and feel like everyone should be able to make the art they want to make, however, I do think there are limits, I do think that some films are so vile they deserve to be sued and they deserve to be taken down in disgrace. This is one of them.

The basic plot for this film is that a mobster kidnaps a woman, played by Anna-Marie Sieklucka, and then proceeds to torture her sexually and abuse her, yet the film wants you to think that all this is fine and that it is some hot kinky sex. The film goes out of its way to have you not think too much about the darker implications here, or to suggest notions of Stockholm Syndrome, no it abandons any trace of that to try and have this film rival Fifty Shades.

Honestly if Netflix keeps producing trash like this I am done. I hope someone sues them over this.

Overall, Netflix should be ashamed of themselves.

Pros.

None

Cons.

It made me feel angry throughout

It glorifies sexual violence

The characters are awful

It feels like a rip-off of Fifty Shades

It shouldn’t have been made    

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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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Persuasion: Watching A Book Burning Would Be More Entertaining Than This

0.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Netflix uses a beloved classic novel as toilet paper.

I could have told you the exact second this was announced that it would be awful. Netflix has proven they lack any kind of sensibility that would allow them to properly pull off an Austen adaption, think of Emma from a few years ago now Netflix would never make a film like that. No, rather instead Netflix has to modernise, Netflix has to Americanise and crucially Netflix has to turn any period piece they try and adapt in to Bridgerton. All three of these things combined lead this film to be truly abysmal.

Moreover, wherein Austen’s words are timeless the script presented here not only doesn’t know what it wants to be but does decide on being cringe at every available opportunity. In addition whilst diversity is always a welcome thing, here it is quite clearly cynically forced into proceedings just for the sake of no one trying to cancel them. This again feels like a very American move.

In addition whoever is Dakota Johnson’s agent needs to be fired right sharp, as her being in this just as the memory of those awful Fifty Shades Of Grey movies is starting to fade from people’s minds is entirely not what she needs at all. Worse yet she isn’t even very good in this mess of a film.

The one silver lining of this film is that it features Henry Golding and he is always charming and watchable, sadly he is having his time wasted here.

Overall, Netflix really, really need to revaluate their content output.

Pros.

Golding

Cons.

It doesn’t understand Austen or her sensibilities at all

It bastardises the characters and story as a whole

It is generic

It feels incredibly American

Johnson

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Falling Inn Love: A Good Way To Kill Off Your Remaining Brain Cells

1/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A symbolic representation of Netflix failing in the most basic concept of quality over quantity.

Honestly, if I were not reviewing this film I would have turned it off at the twenty minute mark. It was more than a slog to get through and at times became actively annoying for me.

This film perfectly encapsulates the idea of the irritating entitled American abroad who thinks that it is okay to talk down to the locals and who is a baffled that they don’t have the latest technology that she is used to. Christina Millan plays the lead character as such a brat that you will find it hard to feel anything towards her other than contempt.

Moreover, the story structure is beyond basic and feels copied and pasted over from countless other Netflix romance films that do the exact same thing: with some slight variation. You know right from the offset where the film is going and it doesn’t surprise you in anyway.

In addition the usual toxic messages and creeping sexist undertones of the romantic comedy genre are here in spades, and again it makes the film even more unwatchable.

Overall, Netflix just makes trash now.

Pros.

You can dare your friends to try and sit through it, that might be some fun as long as you don’t have to watch it back.

Cons.

It is sexist

The lead is awful

It is generic

You can guess all the plot points at the start of the film.

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Stranger Thing Season 4 Part 2: More Hand Raising And Nose Bleeds

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The second part of the season sees the gang truly face off against Vecna, played by Jamie Campbell Bower.

The two episodes that this part is made up of are on for over 3 and a half hours combined, that right there is a red flag. I am glad to see that the Duffer Brothers are saying that the episodes for the final season will be shorter as the over two hour finale is honestly quite hard to get through in one sitting. I think because of their length and the fact that Netflix clearly gave the Brothers free reign to stuff as much in as they wanted this leads to awful pacing issues that really plague this season.

Moreover, though I do admire the slow motion ‘epicness’ of the finale to a degree, as who doesn’t like slow motion right? I ask only partially seriously, I think that for me this was let down by a lack of stakes. Much like Captain America Civil War this finale is build over the course of the season to be a big event with massive stakes yet really no one of any importance dies, a new character and that is about it.

I do like where the series ends on however, with everyone back together again and the upside now fully spilling out into reality, I think this sets up a lot of very interest directions for where things could go next time around.

Overall, not as strong as it has been in the past but there is still some promise there.

Pros.

The final shot

The slow motion

The Russia set subplot

Cons.

The pace

The lack of real danger or stakes

The incoherent logic    

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