Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Edie: DVD Review

Edie: DVD Review

Less Reese Witherspoon's Wild, more a tame film that pulls no surprises, Sheila Hancock's Edie is a woman with a mission late in life.
Edie: Film Review

Freed from the shackles of an abusive marriage that imploded into a stroke for her husband that imprisoned them both for 30 years and with a care home beckoning for her future, Edie decides on a whim to tackle a Scottish mountain climb.

With the cry of "Never too late for you, Edie" ringing in her ears, and with memories of a mountain promise made to her by her late father, Edie goes AWOL (with scant follow through from her daughter) to the Highlands.

After bumping into Guthrie's Johnny, Edie's conned into getting training from his so-called camping ways to tackle the journey...

Edie is predictable fare, that treads a familiar path to redemption without any flashiness or surprises.
It's in its subtlety that it works best, and with a twinkling performance from Hancock, and a genuinely empathetic grounded turn from Guthrie, the film's Odd Couple vibe of lost souls tends to work best early on.

Edie: Film Review

Edie's determined to cast the shackles of the shadow of her past life off and climb both the literal and metaphorical mountain dragging her down. Equally, Johnny's uncertainty over being stuck in a small town, shackled to a partner's business plan, threatens to overwhelm his future and hold him back in much the same way as Edie's abusive husband did.

It's here that Edie stumbles really - its desire to repeatedly and unsubtly beat home parts of its message mean that - coupled with endless use of slow mo towards the end - the film becomes mired in sentiment and treats its audience with less respect. Along with the fact that logic and some key plot threads are just left dangling, this is never anything but Edie and Johnny's friendship, set to the backdrop of what appears to be shameless tourism video promotion for the rolling vistas of bonnie Scotland.

But in among the battle of unnecessary wills and heads being butted testing boundaries, Hancock and Guthrie quietly impress, imbuing the film with a resonance of a less-is-more execution.

It's unlikely that Edie will trouble either box offices or end of year lists, but it does offer an older audience a viewpoint seldom seen - of life after marriage, and in the twilight years. It's here that Hunter's film packs a quiet power - but had those in charge pulled back and removed some of the padding, the inter-generational friendship story could have flourished more than it comes close to hinting at. 

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Beirut: DVD Review

Beirut: DVD Review

A formulaic spy thriller about a flawed hero called in to resolve a kidnapping that has a personal connection, Beirut is a solid but unspectacular thriller that ticks all the boxes and hits all the beats.

Mad Men's Jon Hamm is Mason Skiles, a former diplomat, who despite all the schmoozing and boozing is unable to prevent an event at his pad in Beirut turning into a tragedy in 1972.

Beirut: NZIFF Review

Wounded emotionally by what occurs and having left the region, Skiles is forced to return when a colleague is kidnapped - and he finds himself entangled in the clandestine goings on of the political uprisings and the American intentions for them.

Beirut is that typical story, one of you not knowing whose side is whose, and which person is to be trusted.

In many ways, it feels all too familiar, just set in a different world we're used to seeing.
But the war torn Beirut feels gritty and grimy, and when Skiles returns a decade after leaving to see the evidence of civil uprising and the destruction, Hamm plays it excellently as Skiles steps out of the airport. At once shocked and simultaneously trying to work out how best to negotiate survival, the nuances of Hamm's flawed hero are thrown sharply into focus.

In fact, Hamm largely is the presence which keeps Beirut going; the conflict's cost is etched deep within his drawn face, his eyes puffy from decades of alcoholism and regret.

Elsewhere, Beirut's hoary tropes feel like they exist simply to hit dramatic beats, and it's not helped in parts by a script that largely feels ripped from plenty of other sources. The drama's at its best when it's invested in the personal, and it's never better than when Hamm elevates it. 

Monday, 29 October 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody: Film Review

Bohemian Rhapsody: Film Review

Cast: Rami Malek, Gwilym Lee, Tom Hollander, Ben Hardy, Mike Myers, Lucy Boynton
Director: Bryan Singer / Dexter Fletcher

To be honest, Bohemian Rhapsody does not, and will not, care for what critics think.
Bohemian Rhapsody: Film Review

This broad, crowd-pleasing attempt to turn Queen's life story - and ultimately, that of Freddie Mercury - into a cinematic experience, is more akin to putting an inordinate amount of money into a jukebox and blasting out Queen's Greatest Hits on repeat, with Brian May's guitar riffs ultimately numbing you into submission..

That is to say, the Antony McCarten-penned biopic is electric and offers a kind of magic only when its lead Rami Malek prances around on stage, overbite and all, effecting the mannerisms of Mercury himself and the flamboyancy of performance. It's here that Malek just about manages to transcend his "Stars In Their Eyes" moment to remind you of why these songs endure.

Unfortunately, it's all the rest of what sits in between the culmination of the Live Aid performance and Queen experimenting with their sound that feels like a bum B-side, depressingly put out solely because the label demands it.
Bohemian Rhapsody: Film Review

Racing formulaically between narrative beats, and hitting every familiar moment of a rags-to-riches story - including family tensions and subsequent resolutions, Bohemian Rhapsody suffers from plodding plotting, a defiant coyness over the star's bisexuality and rampant hedonistic lifestyle and also offers an insulting nod'n'wink at hidden gay sexuality throughout. (It's no wonder Frankie Howerd's Up Pompeii is playing on a TV early on).

In many ways, it feels like a three act West End musical in its execution (though some drone shots at the Live Aid performance at the end are thrilling, a sense of spectacle and scale evident in every swoop from the skies through the crowd and to Freddie himself on stage) and is pigheadedly determined to ensure that it provides more dancing to the crowd as it dances around its subject, and subsequently provides rarely any insight into Mercury other than what the downpat story beats demand of it.
Bohemian Rhapsody: Film Review

While Malek is transcendant at times, and occasionally sells the internal conflict of Mercury well, he's let down massively by a script that's as formulaic as it is predictable.

Ultimately, Bohemian Rhapsody is more interested in serving a crowd a slice of rock'n'roll pie than providing a full meal - heaven alone knows what Freddie would have made of it.

Shadow Of The Tomb Raider: PS4 Review

Shadow Of The Tomb Raider: PS4 Review

Released by Square Enix
Platform: PS4

The Lara Croft reboot series has been a brilliant shot in the arm that the game needed.
Shadow Of The Tomb Raider: PS4 Review

The first re-energised Lara and gave her an origin story that was intriguing and engaging; the second built on the promise of the first and added puzzles and tomb raiding to the series to show the foundations were more than solid.

But with the third, the pressure's really on - because most of the new dynamics have been put into place prior and there's nowhere to hide.

In this latest, and set after events of Rise Of The Tomb Raider, Lara's quest against Trinity, the shadowy organisation that's been haunting her life, steps up. Set in south America in the legendary city of Paititi, Lara has to stop an apocalypse after things go slightly awry.
Shadow Of The Tomb Raider: PS4 Review

Camilla Luddington returns to the role of Lara, giving the latest a feeling of a trilogy of work (and certainly an ending hints at this being the conclusion of a cycle, rather than a direct continuation) and a sense of a character arc.

Much of the emphasis lies on tomb raiding this time around, and exploring caves, and the darker visuals sometimes make gameplay a little harder to stand out. There's a little less emphasis on combat this time around, and really the focus is about rounding Lara out to be more of a tomb raiding individual than just a cypher for actions and moments.

It does mean that parts of Shadow Of The Tomb Raider feel a lot like stuff you've seen before - but the character work that's put in doubles down on ensuring there's less sense of ennui than could become evident after a while.
Shadow Of The Tomb Raider: PS4 Review

While there may be edges of Indiana Jones about Lara's escapades, Luddington and the writing team go into overtime to ensure that she never loses her voice in the melee, and as a result, while the game may suffer from a feeling of over-familiarity, it's still a solidly executed, if slightly unspectacular, episode in the ongoing retooling of the Lara Croft series.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Suspiria: Film Review

Suspiria: Film Review

Cast: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, Chloe Grace Moretz
Director: Luca Guadagnino

Feeling a lot like a contemporary cinematic bedfellow / brother to Gaspar Noe's Climax, Guadagnino's Suspiria is an odd beast to say the very least.
Suspiria: Film Review

50 Shades of Grey star Dakota Johnson plays Susan Bannion, a dancer summoned to Berlin during post Cold war times to audition for a company run by Madame Blanc (Swinton, in icy enigmatic turn).

Initially holding back, Bannion rises to the star pupil role, as her roommate Sara (Goth) begins to grow suspicious of what's going on at the Tanz Academy.

While Suspiria offers one of the most uncomfortable scenes set to celluloid this year, Guadagnino's homage, less remake, has more of the feel of an art film, rather than a full on horror.

With contorting bodies, some truly impressive choreographed dance scenes and a general feeling of unease early on, Suspiria sets the scene well as it ramps up the feminist vibe.
Suspiria: Film Review

But it begins to fudge the execution of the film, failing to deliver much suspense and horror in equal measures as it unspools. Leading to a finale that's more ludicrous than terrifying is the final blow for this, thanks to some truly weak prosthetics and laughable dialogue. (Which is baffling given that some of the earlier work on this front is more than laudable, and the hints of the madness of possession that swirl early on.)

Mixing in allegories for the East vs West confrontation in Germany, an ongoing series of radio reports about the Baader Meinhof hostage crisis and an old man's quest to find his wife, the film's tendency to hardly deliver on any of these dallies very close to feeling it's undercooked rather than fully formed. It doesn't help the characters field a once over lightly approach either.
Suspiria: Film Review

That said, Swinton and Johnson impress mightily; from Johnson's naif lost in the pull of something she doesn't understand to Swinton's performance that is evocative and subtle (to say more is to spoil), there is something to admire about the female led Suspiria (and doubtless there will be treatises on the women-led power piece and how it handles men).

Ultimately though, the 2018 remake of Suspiria is as polarising as you'd expect; it fails as a horror film, succeeds as an art piece, and consequently, feels insubstantial and almost inconsequential. The 1977 film from Dario Argento would be slightly appalled.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Assassins' Creed: Odyssey: PS4 Review

Assassins' Creed: Odyssey: PS4 Review

Released by Ubisoft

Platform: PS4

The Assassins' series was growing stale in many ways.
Assassins' Creed: Odyssey: PS4 Review

Starting to be consumed only by its own sense of mythology, the run got a boost with a year off and the release of the Origins game set in Egypt last year.

Returning to the annual release window, Assassin's Creed Odyssey's open world scope and the diving further back into the past to embrace mythology sets the gaming bar purely on fun and fiction, rather than fact.

Assassins' Creed: Odyssey: PS4 ReviewSet in 431BC Ancient Greece and with a variant of the Peloponnesian War unfolding in front of you, you get to play a female or male mercenary cycling between Athens and Sparta.  Not just that, various side missions pop up as well, giving you the chance to either grind away for XP or simply concentrate on the story quest. From tracking down thieves to escorting people, these quests are largely unimportant to the game, but do build a sense of story and world within.

It's fair to say that Assassin's Creed Odyssey is a game to dive into.

While the size of the open world does mean from time to time that horrific glitches occur - there's been occasions where riding horses through walls is entirely possible but defies every sense of logic going - the scope for losing yourself in the game is immense, and time consuming.

Progression is sometimes slow, and to be frank, the gaining of XP is necessary so that you can deal with bounty hunters who tirelessly stalk you (and all of whom have a higher level than you) but it's a bit of a chore to have the gameplay so strictly tied to this.

But some of the skills offered as rewards are worth it.

Chiefly, the chance to get a power up that gives you the propensity to kick like Gerard Butler in 300 called This Is Sparta elicited more than a snigger first up. Later, it became obvious this is quite the tool to have in a fight as well, giving more than a little credence to its use.
Assassins' Creed: Odyssey: PS4 Review

The cut scenes and stilted conversations still jar a little, and detract from the game in someways, even though they're a necessity, but again this is a minor niggle.

Ultimately, Assassin's Creed Odyssey is a game that targets epic, and largely achieves it for a playable and disposably enjoyable outcome.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Win a double pass to see Overlord

Win a double pass to see Overlord

To celebrate the release of OVERLORD in cinemas November 8th, you could win a double pass thanks to Paramount Pictures.


Starring Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Pilou Asbæk, Mathilde Ollivier, John Magaro, Iain de Caestecker
Overlord: Film Review
Produced by JJ Abrams

With only hours until D-Day, a team of American paratroopers drop into war occupied France to carry out a mission that’s crucial to the invasion's success.

Tasked with destroying a radio transmitter atop a fortified church, the desperate soldiers join forces with a young French villager to penetrate the walls and take down the tower. 

But, in a mysterious lab beneath the church, the outnumbered G.I.s come face-to-face with enemies unlike any the world has ever seen. 

From producer J.J. Abrams, Overlord is a thrilling, pulse-pounding action adventure with a twist.

Overlord is in cinemas November 8th, rated R16 – Graphic violence, horror, offensive language and content that may disturb

To win all you have to do is email your details and the word OVERLORD to this address: or CLICK HERE NOW!

Competition closes November 8th

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Brimstone and Glory: Film Review

Brimstone and Glory: Film Review

Director: Viktor Jakovleski

The immersive touches of this lean documentary lend themselves well to getting you into the heart of Mexico.

Jaklovleski takes viewers into the centre of the action for the annual festival San Juan de Dios in the Mexican town of Tultepec as it's taken over by firework fever. The celebrations honour the saint, who legend has it, rescued people from a burning building without getting burned himself.
Brimstone and Glory: Film Review

Concentrating on two festivals - the Castles of Fire and the Burning of the Bulls - Jakloveski's camera takes a course deep into the events themselves, dispensing with talking heads and interviews, merely choosing to capture it as it happens.

Some shots are thrilling - granted, there are the obligatory moments of slow mo fireworks being waved, people smiling and running - but that's to be expected. But it also manages to get inside the events and the build up too - from the kid who's unsure he wants to follow his father into firework production because of the injuries he's seen to those clambering dangerously high to the top of the Castles of Fire (all captured via bodycam), the camera captures the danger of the industry as well as the thrill.
Brimstone and Glory: Film Review

Casual moments deliver much - a deliberation that "since we're not chemists, our measurements are not perfect" speaks volumes about the state of the industry there, and the OSH issues that workers face.

The roving camera idea works well for Brimstone and Glory - the drama comes from the banal - a storm here, a problem with the building of a bull there; but it also captures the inherent beauty of the fireworks as well - final scenes showing the Burning of the Bulls in full flight are stunning as they negotiate the utter chaos of the streets.

Definitely much ooh and ahhh, this fireworks doco captures the euphoria and danger of our fascination with veritable aplomb.

The Seagull: Film Review

The Seagull: Film Review

Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Annette Bening, Corey Stoll, Elisabeth Moss, Billy Howle, Brian Dennehy, Mare Winningham
Director: Michael Mayer

Based on the play by Anton Chekhov, director Michael Mayer's take on The Seagull is a light, breezy film that benefits greatly from its core cast.

Bening, Stoll and Ronan all breathe exceptional life into their respective roles.
The Seagull: Film Review

Bening is Irina, an actress whose insecurities stretch to admonishing her son Constantin and mocking his attempts at play-writing. Called in to visit her ailing brother, a tale unfolds of how Constantin met Saoirse Ronan's Nina, an appalling wannabe actress who became his muse.

However, Irina has brought with her the famous writer Boris Trigoran (Stoll, a stoic presence) whose appearance at the family home causes rifts and consternation as all tremble in the shadow of his reputation.

As the rifts deepen, everyone's insecurities increase exponentially...

As mentioned, The Seagull benefits from a career best from Bening, whose scoffing and mocking of those around her surfaces amid her own insecurities. Bening more than delivers, adding touches of nuance when required and bringing the pain to the fore as it's needed.
The Seagull: Film Review

Equally Stoll and Ronan add much to the ensemble as the combination of comedy and drama unfolds; additional support from a growingly unhinged Elisabeth Moss as an infatuated woman lends the necessary scorn to the piece.

However, some of the hints of destruction are not seen on the screen, and with the flashbacks played out only to a point, The Seagull doesn't quite deliver the emotional heft that's necessary in times. An attempted suicide falls flat, a discussion of one character left bereft feels stripped of the heft - granted, it's a different approach but given the denouement relies on the emotion of the past as the script comes full circle from the flashbacks, it feels a little like The Seagull cheats - even if it does follow Chekov's play.

Fortunately, biting dialogue and stellar performances detract from the downsides, and The Seagull takes flight when it needs to, but fails to soar into the skies when it should.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Hunter Killer: Film Review

Hunter Killer: Film Review

Cast: Gerard Butler, Michael Nyqvist, Gary Oldman, Common, Linda Cardinelli
Director: Donovan Marsh

It's hard not to view Hunter Killer as the kind of film that wouldn't be out of place in the 1980s.
Hunter Killer: Film Review

A mix of submarine thriller, shoot-em-ups and improbable rescue, Hunter Killer's B-Movie vibe is one of solid, yet unspectacular fare that spools out almost like a game of submarine movie cliche bingo.

Butler is unconventional commander Glass, who's given the command of a ship after a US Sub goes AWOL tracking a Russian sub in foreign waters. Whilst initially, it's a rescue mission for the sub, thanks to a Russian coup, it soon filters out into a further rescue mission to save the Russian President (yes, echoes of the "Has Fallen" film series spring easily to mind).

But if this mission should fail, World War 3 could break out...
Hunter Killer: Film Review

Hunter Killer pulls the usual punches for the genre, though it's given a contemporary frisson with the Russians being the bad guys and the US facing off against them. In parts, it's the kind of film that US President Donald Trump could embrace in some ways.

To be honest though, Hunter Killer meshes Call of Duty, Lone Survivor, Has Fallen series and Hunt for Red October, and blends it all through a prism of army recruitment video. It's stock-standard fare that takes itself seriously, and ticks all the boxes.

Butler delivers his usual half-smirking performance, but there's an earnestness to his underwritten commander that's vaguely endearing. Nyqvist, in his final role, is utterly wasted, a sad farewell to a nuanced great.

The tension is largely missing throughout Hunter Killer, until a final act sequence brings together the inevitable consequences of everyone's actions and Marsh concentrates on delivering something solid, via repeated use of swirling cameras, cliches and military might.
Hunter Killer: Film Review

Sure, there's a case to say the Americans are painted in a positive light, and those damned Russians are tricky foreigners determined to powerplays over diplomacy, but Hunter Killer cares not for your sneering approach.

Instead it charts a course through familiar and formulaic waters, with only one course in mind - but it comes close to sinking in 2018, when it potentially would have risen to the surface in the 1980s.

Mandy: Film Review

Mandy: Film Review

Placing the psycho among the psychotropic, Panos Cosmatos' Mandy is a curious beast, likely to satiate an Incredibly Strange audience, but unlikely to burst out of its cult bubble.

Starting with Nic Cage in full lumberjack mode felling a tree (not a euphemism), Cosmatos's under siege piece takes its 80s vibe and fully runs with it.

Cage is Red, who lives with Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) in a remote cabin. Their dream existence is granted a rude awakening when the Children of the New Dawn pass Mandy on a path one day, determining that she should be with them.
Mandy: NZIFF Review

Their leader (Linus Roach, in full messianic mode) orders his followers to steal her away - needless to say Red ain't having that.

It's a case of 80s style over substance with Mandy, which is no bad thing if that's what you're looking for. Drenched in a Johann Johannsson score, the film's atmospherics hit every level they're intending to, but it's a case of genre style ahead of anything else in effect here.

Cosmatos makes his piece a masterclass in lighting, soaking many scenes in red and backlighting the fight scenes with spotlights - it's a visual lunacy that's worth embracing.

Mandy may drag a little in parts, a fever dream that's extended beyond need, but Cage's fans will be happy to see their hero, in his tighty-whiteys, doing what he does best - chewing up the scenery (and doing a large amount of cocaine at the end of one scene).

Mandy fulfills its exploitation vibe well, but beyond the deaths and gore it proffers up, it offers little more.

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again: DVD Review

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again: DVD Review

Sometimes, it's pointless to rail against the cheese.

So it is with Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, the sequel to the 2008 Abba smash hit film that was low rent in terms of story, but was embraced as only some musicals can be.

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again: Film Review

In this latest, reeling from the loss of her mother Donna (Streep), Sophie Sheridan (Seyfried, in earnest heartfelt mode) is making final preparations to reopen her mother's Greek hotel.

Reflecting on Donna's past and trying to juggle the commitments of her present life, Sophie finds hardships in her own relationships as the tumult reaches overwhelming levels.

There's little point resisting Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again.

Its overload of cheesiness and gusto is pretty much signalled early on with Seyfried's sitting in the Greek sun, looking at letters while softly muttering lyrics to Thank you for the music.

It's then kicked up a notch with Lily James' energetic and vibrant performance of When I Kissed The Teacher as a young Donna, its choreography and energy lighting up the screen, and no doubt leading to dancing in the aisles to ABBA's lesser known music. (It's to be said that James is the best thing in the sequel, an actress who throws herself headlong into the role with relish and a carefree attitude that's nothing short of contagious.)

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again: Film Review

While the structure of Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again is a bit of a mess (continual chopping into the past and present), those willing to go along with the ride, the corny one-liners and the all too familiar rom-com-drama storyline will be happy enough.

Kitsch mixed in with stars clearly more self-aware of what the first film's legacy was helps Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again a lot, but don't expect to be won over if you're of the cynical variety. This is pure and simple goofball film-making that's about licensing music and inserting it into the ongoing drama.

While that's no bad thing, there's no convincing any that this is high art - it's purely about trashy entertainment, about ensuring a good time is had by all, that ABBA's timeless disco hits live on and everyone else with the hint of a brain cell or good taste be damned. 

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

American Animals: Film Review

American Animals: Film Review

A sizzling and hyper-stylised drama that blends heist aesthetics and thrills with contemporary interviews, Bart Layton's American Animals is a slick film that grips and pulses from the outset.

Assembling a clutch of young actors (including American Horror Story alum Evan Peters and The Killing of a Sacred Deer's Barry Keoghan), it's the story of Spencer Reinhard (Keoghan) and his part in a library heist which took place at Transylvania University in Kentucky in 2004.

Despite the fact he has everything he needs in life, but bemoaning the fact that he's after some kind of life-altering experience to change him as an artist, Spencer forms a friendship with a hyper Warren Lipka (Peters).

American Animals: NZIFF Review

Hitting on the idea to rob the library's rare book collection and its multi-million dollar haul, Warren and Spencer recruit two others to their plan - and start pulling together a heist.

Jumping between interviews of the real people involved and the drama, with moments of fourth wall breaking and unreliable narrators, American Animals' aesthetic and vibe seizes from the outset.

Layton assembles the pieces with the same kind of compelling bravura we witnessed in his doco The Imposter, but never loses sight of the two main leads in all the action.

Bringing the kind of tension that was missing from the recent Ocean's 8 film, the heist preparations excel - a swirling interplay of ideas executed in the head benefitting from taut editing and a pulsing soundtrack of music. It's a perfect insight into the minds of those involved over how it should play out, and for an audience, it's never less than gripping.

To say more about American Animals is to betray the sense of what plays out, a bastardisation of the American dream and a warning that nothing comes for free - even with talent. But Layton's less focussed on the themes of the piece, laying them out for subtle watchers to pick up on.

He's more interested in providing a film that thrills, in a format that makes the very best of docu-drama, with the emphasis on the drama. It helps the general idea of the heist is so audacious and the premise so compelling, but what American Animals also does is deliver two impressive turns in Keoghan and Peters.

Peters displays the intensity we've come to know from AHS but gives his Warren a kind of gleeful Joker style mania, the kind of guy you'd want to hang out with at a party. Keoghan, meanwhile, gives Spencer a feeling of being lost, an artist struggling to find their voice, and a would-be criminal struggling with his moral compass.

Throughout American Animals, the queasily compelling mix works incredibly well; the slick stylish piecing together of the elements of the drama and the documentary add much to what transpires - a portrait of the dispossessed and the bored - but it also gives the audience a thrill ride that has as much substance as it does style. 

Monday, 22 October 2018

Ideal Home: DVD Review

Ideal Home: DVD Review

An intriguing look at what family means in the 21st Century, Andrew Fleming's Ideal Home can be summed up by its last line.
Ideal Home: Film Review

Exhausted and perhaps a touch exasperated after all that comes to pass, Paul Rudd's character Paul can be heard flippantly shouting - "Oh great,a f***ing rainbow", before the credits roll, bringing up shots of same sex couples and their offspring.

It's a meshing of tones that never quite fully gels for Ideal Home, with the story of how bickering gay couple Erasmus (Coogan, in a flamboyant and camp mode) and Paul (Rudd, the relative centre and expert of the withering put down) end up with 10 year old Bill.

Jack Gore's Bill's told to go live with his grandfather Erasmus when the police bust his father in a motel - with tragedy in Bill's past, and with Erasmus not talking to his son, things are off to a tough start when he shows up unexpectedly.

Initially pushing back on the lack of boundaries set by Erasmus who caves to Bill's demands, Paul's more resistant, after initially not wanting a child in their relationship.

Ideal Home: Film Review

But as these films are wont to do, a bond between the three grows, and Erasmus and Paul learn from Bill being part of their life.

That's the thing with Ideal Home, it's not a new concept and it wears some of that influence without shame on its occasionally laugh-out-loud funny journey.

As mentioned previously, Rudd is the stand out here - as opposed to Coogan's somewhat flighty and flamboyant monster Erasmus. With a heart and humanity, Rudd anchors Paul as the centre of the family, while never losing out the chance to toss off a throwaway line when it's needed.

Unfortunately, Ideal Home unravels a little in its third and final act as a series of narrative speed bumps are introduced for nothing more than dramatic purpose, leading to the resolution feeling rushed and a little disjointed. Certainly the emotional edge that's meant to be inserted by proceedings feels a little flawed, despite everyone's efforts to the contrary.

Ideal Home: Film Review

Equally, some of Bill's initial antagonisms over living with Erasmus and Paul are glossed over, having been hinted at early on - and the social worker intervention (from Alison Pill's character) is put on the back burner in favour of some sight gags.

It's this uneasy mix of uncertainty which slightly cripples Ideal Home, and which thwarts its noble intentions and which means ultimately, in the final strait, the film fumbles its premise and promise.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Armageddon Expo - Day 2 highlights

Armageddon Expo - Day 2 highlights

The Armageddon expo continues in Auckland this weekend.

So head down to the ASB Showgrounds and take it all in.

Here are heaps of shots from Day 2 of the Armageddon Expo.

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