Monday, 28 February 2022
Sunday, 27 February 2022
Venom: Let There Be Carnage: Blu Ray Review
Saturday, 26 February 2022
Military Wives: Neon NZ Film Review
The Full Monty director Peter Cattaneo knows exactly where he wants to go with this tale of a group of army wives who're left on base and killing time when their husbands are deployed to Afghanistan.
And to be fair, he should - after all, he achieved the same level of crowd-pleasing success with The Full Monty in 1997, a tale of seemingly polar opposites and shambolic group of amateurs coming together to achieve glory under duress. (Even in Military Wives, there's someone within the group who's hopelessly out of their depth, but whose underdog enthusiasm wins through.)
Catastrophe's Horgan is Lisa, a freewheeling mum of a troubled daughter who butts heads with Scott-Thomas' prissy and uptight Kate, the wife of the base's brigadier.
Scorning the usual ideas from the icy Kate of knitting to pass the time and keep the Brit morale up ("It's a bit Little Women, innit" she decries), Lisa assembles the group into a singing group, despite opposition from Kate, who sees it more as a choir and the usual parade of stuffy numbers.
However, Lisa's more keen on drawing from the hit parade of her musical youth and the group finds a common bond - but when their boys are ambushed, tensions that have already been simmering inevitably blow over.
It seems churlish to dismiss Military Wives as anything but predictable formulaic fare, but in truth, that's exactly what Cattaneo achieves here. With a penchant for the obvious, the film falters into "could be a BBC four part drama where the wives face fractures and conflict before ultimately rising to the occasion and the bigger picture" territory.
There are no surprises here and the playing safe causes a slice of tonal whiplash when the drama explodes like a well-timed bomb in the middle of proceedings - it's all very simply telegraphed and signposted early on.
And yet, underneath its fluffy fuzz and cloak of familiarity, Horgan and Scott Thomas elevate the film's penchant for predictability to a more acceptably amiable level.
From the visual cue of the opposition of their outfits (Lisa's more laissez-faire, and Kate's more buttoned up and prissy) to the acerbic banter and bickering, both Scott Thomas and Horgan turn the banalities of females fighting and picking at each other into something more humane - even as the cliches come tumbling forward in their direction. In truth, they elevate the film, and give it more credit than it is sometimes due.
It may sing a good tune for a crowdpleasing piece, and may aspire to easy (and occasionally well-earned) laughs throughout, but Military Wives, in parts, is surprisingly moving.
Just don't be surprised if at the end of all the opposition to the comfortably familiar and eye-rollingly obvious as the film follows its crowd-pleasing zero-to-hero algorithm, you leave singing from its admittedly corny songbook.
Friday, 25 February 2022
No Exit: Movie Review
Cast: Havana Rose Liu, Dennis Haysbert, Danny Ramirez, Dale Dickey, David Rysdahl
Director: Andy Canny
An intimate Covid-fuelled shoot aimed at bringing a psychological edge to a chamber piece No Exit may want to be, but what it ends up being as far from the aspirations as it is the reality of its execution.
The Sky is Everywhere’s Havana Rose Liu stars as Darby, a struggling alcoholic, who upon receiving the news her mum is dying breaks out of rehab and blusters straight into a blizzard.
Forced to get off the road, she pulls up at a stop where she encounters former military man Ed (Dennis Haysbert), his ex-nurse wife Sandi (Dale Dickey), the jittery Lars (David Rysdahl) and confident Ash (Danny Ramirez).
Settling in for a night of being forced to get to know strangers, Darby finds her world turned upside down when she discovers a seemingly-kidnapped girl in the back of a van outside - and tries to work out who exactly is behind the young captive's plight...
No Exit could be a good thriller, a smart blast of something that uses the setting to maximum effect, and puts its relative talent to good use.
But what it ends up doing is squandering all of that for some 60 minutes of dragging matters out, before going fully blown into overload and a psychotic final 25 minutes. There are some clever twists within the material, the majority of which are to be honest, handled perfunctorily by a script that really only has five players to deal with.
It helps less that obvious pointers as to who's involved become increasingly clear early on, leading to any tension dissipating before it's even had time to simmer and boil over. Liu's work is solid, but the script doesn't demand much from her, and with the murky work of a blizzard-set cinematographer, there are scant chances to shine.
The script borders on laughable toward the end, as the gorier elements come to the fore - and an overall feeling of predictability mixed in with a feeling it could have been more means that No Exit becomes a dead end adaptation of its 2017 source material before its 90 minutes have run out.
No Exit is streaming now on Disney+
What's new on Disney+ in March
Thursday, 24 February 2022
Win a double pass to see BOOK OF LOVE in cinemas
What's on Netflix in March
Studio 666: Movie Review
Cast: The Foo Fighters, Whitney Cummings, Will Forte, Jeff Garlin
Director: BJ McDonnell
Studio 666 is a Scooby Doo film, a vanity project without the wit, inventiveness or decency to leave when it's not welcome.
It may have a Shaggy in its long-haired hero Dave Grohl, but the only dog in this movie is the script, which calls for ham, silliness and supernatural acting that's beyond the pale in so many ways.
Based on a story by Dave Grohl (that in truth should have been aborted and sent to hell), it's the story of the Foo Fighters as they try to record their 10th album. Relocating to an Encino mansion to record their masterpiece, Grohl becomes obsessed with creating a 45 minute masterpiece.
However, the obsession is fuelled by demons which haunt the house, after a thwarted recording session from the 90s turned deadly - and soon all the Foo Fighters are fighting for their lives and their souls.
Mixing comedy and horror should be an easy win, but Studio 666 plays so fast and loose with its goofiness, and the extreme variable quality of the acting, that most of it fails to land anything. With some truly awful dialogue as well, the whole thing runs out of steam after about 30 minutes, and then flails badly around, trying to find a narrative path that doesn't head to hell.
Grohl plays goofy (as he demonstrated years ago in the Learn to Fly video) but the level of his acting is questionable, though not as questionable as others in the group as they try to act, and fail miserably. While the whole film does feel like a hangout movie steeped in gore in some ways, the project just doesn't have enough goodwill to see it through - even with the inclusion of the likes of John Carpenter and an utterly out there Lionel Richie cameo.
There are some impressive moments - the demons of the house are wondrously realised, and a dream sequence where Grohl is haunted by the spirits is cleverly and concisely executed. But hints of Freddy Kreuger and overblown soundtracks to lame jump scares just drag the goodwill into the mire and executes them mercilessly.
Studio 666 isn't a movie for anyone who's not a Foo Fighter fan or has lost control of their senses. For everyone else it's an utter exercise in tedium and endurance - for the record, it should be dispatched to hell as soon as possible.
Cyrano: Movie Review
Cast: Peter Dinklage, Haley Bennett, Ben Mendelsohn, Kelvin Harrison Jr,
Director: Joe Wright
Adapted from the 2019 off Broadway play of the same name, Game of Thrones' star Peter Dinklage takes the lead in this latest take on the tale of doomed love and Cyrano de Bergerac.
Under the helm of Atonement's Joe Wright, and making a magnificent fist of some of the Italian scenery around, Cyrano constructs some truly beautiful and tragic moments as this musical spins its tale of the fate of two long term friends, unaware of how each other feels.
Dinklage is Cyrano, a brilliant wordsmith and wit, but whose words fail him when it comes to matters of the heart concerning his long term friend Roxanne (Bennett). When Roxanne falls in love at first sight with Kelvin Harrison Jr's Christian, Cyrano must help Christian woo the woman he loves - and put aside his own feelings.
But with De Guiche (Mendelsohn, all pantomime villain sans twirling moustache) insisting that Roxanne marry him, time is running out on all quarters.
Very much an old-fashioned musical with little wizardry to update it, Joe Wright's Cyrano will wow you with spectacle.
While Dinklage doesn't hit the right notes with his singing voice, the almost street-poet beats that he employs gives his diminutive lovestruck wordsmith an almost punkish appeal from the beginning. With some wry oneliners and some whimsical edges, Cyrano begins to cast a spell over audiences with some bravura touches here and there.
Despite music from The National, not every song lands - but when they do, they pack a powerful emotional wallop.
A final act song Wherever I Fall, sung from the viewpoint of soldiers about to be deployed into their last battle is poignant, magnificent and utterly spinetinglingly heartbreaking. It's moments like these that Cyrano could have done more with - rather than some almost comical interludes where Cyrano dispatches a clutch of assassins, a moment which seems out of place and hardly ever mentioned again.
There's plenty of originality from this film, and even though cinema has spun countless versions of it, parts of the two hour run time feel fresh, enticing and enthralling. Beautiful production design helps to build a mood, and while not all the songs can capitalise on this, some moments hang together with yearning and heart.
Cyrano will melt your heart in ways you'd least expect, and while not every moment soars, the majority of this does when you least expect it to.
Wednesday, 23 February 2022
Sony reveals first look at PlayStation VR2, its new Virtual reality tool
Sony has revealed its first look at PlayStation VR2, its new Virtual reality tool which will work with the PS5.
Speaking on PlayStation blog, Hideaki Nishino, the Senior Vice President, Platform Experience unveiled the look as well as the first glimpse of the newly redesigned Sense controllers.
"You’ll notice the PS VR2 headset has a similar shape as the PS VR2 Sense controller, taking on a matching “orb” look. The circular orb shape represents the 360-degree view that players feel when they enter the virtual reality world, so this shape captures it nicely.
"The design of the PS VR2 headset was also inspired by the look of the PS5 family of products. When our design team created the PS5 console, they also had the next generation VR headset in mind so you’ll notice some similarities in the look and feel. The PS5 console has flat edges as it is meant to be displayed on a flat surface, while there was more emphasis on adding roundness to the design of PS VR2 headset since it is meant to have constant human contact, similar to the rounded edges of the DualSense controller and Pulse 3D headset.
"Our goal is to create a headset that will not only become an attractive part of your living room decor, but will also keep you immersed in your game world, to the point where you almost forget you are using a headset or controller. That’s why we paid very close attention to the ergonomics of the headset and conducted extensive testing to ensure a comfortable feel for a variety of head sizes."
Read the full update on the PlayStation blog.
Flee: Movie Review
Tuesday, 22 February 2022
What's on Amazon Prime Video in March
STAR TREK: PICARD S2
From acclaimed director Adrian Lyne (Indecent Proposal, Unfaithful and Fatal Attraction) comes a tense erotic thriller about Vic and Melinda Van Allen, an affluent New Orleans couple whose marriage is crumbling under the weight of resentment, jealousy, and mistrust.
LIZZO’S WATCH OUT FOR THE BIG GRRRLS
THE BOYS PRESENTS: DIABOLICAL
The Boys Presents: Diabolical reveals unseen stories within The Boys universe, brought to life by some of the most creative minds and bloody brilliant minds in entertainment today, including Awkwafina, Michael Cera, Don Cheadle, Chace Crawford, Kieran Culkin, Giancarlo Esposito, Eliot Glazer, Jason Isaacs, Kumail Nanjiani, Justin Roiland, Seth Rogen, Andy Samberg, Ben Schwartz, Elisabeth Shue, Christian Slater, Kevin Smith, Antony Starr, Nasim Pedrad, Simon Pegg, Kenan Thompson, Aisha Tyler, and Oscar-winner Youn Yuh Jung.
NO TIME TO DIE
MARCH 2022 FULL TITLES (IN DATE ORDER)
Monday, 21 February 2022
The King's Man: Disney+ Review
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