Catching up on some reviews. Sorry for the delay!
Brightburn (2019) – Dir David Yarovesky
Imagine if Superman wasn’t on our side. That’s the premise in this superhero/horror mashup starring Elizabeth Banks. It certainly sounds like a great idea and it is partially successful. On the good side, there is a palpable sense of dread to the film and I was surprised just how gory it was. However, it also feels a bit rushed and there is little in the way of character development. In the end, it felt a bit like an episode of the X-Files.
Rating – 6/10
Booksmart (2019) – Dir Olivia Wilde
This is a seriously impressive directorial debut from Olivia Wilde. Starring Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein as a couple of high school graduates desperate to have a wild last night before college. The two leads are brilliant in this tale of friendship between two girls. While the trailer may make this look like a female version of Superbad, it is much more than that. Great acting, soundtrack and characters you can believe in. Some times its wackiness fails to land and the comedy will not appeal to all. But it has stuck with me and grown on me! Also a refreshing approach to a gay character.
An impressive debut and worth a watch
Rating – 7.5
Godzilla King of Monsters (2019) – Dir Michael Dougherty
￼I loved the Gareth Edwards (Rogue One, Monsters) 2014 movie and disagree with anyone who said that it was too slow or didn’t have enough monsters. It was a great example of how to build a sense of awe. However, the studio did listen and a new director was brought in and they threw all the monsters in! As a consequence, this is an utter mess. The story makes no sense, the human characters are all annoying and the monsters appear almost straight away. The only saving grace is that they still look great but you just don’t care. The disappointment with King of Monsters is that it could have been so much better with a bit of care. Next up Godzilla vs Kong. Not too hopeful on that.
Rating – 5.5
High Life (2019) – Claire Denis
Claire Denis follows up Let the Sunshine in with this art-house Sci-fi story of a father and daughter on board a spaceship full of criminals on a mission to harvest the energy of a black hole. Led by Robert Pattinson (the soon to be new Batman). Given the director’s previous work it is no surprise that this is no mainstream science fiction movie. It concentrates on the struggles of the inmates rather than the bigger picture of space. There are some good performances and the film has attracted a lot of critical praise. There certainly is a memorable “sex scene”! However, I was rather underwhelmed. Robert Pattinson is the best thing in this but ultimately its bleak atmosphere was a bit much for me. I wonder, however, if this may improve on second viewing.
Rating – 6
Captive State (2019) – Dir Rupert Wyatt
Rupert Wyatt follows up Rise of the Planet of the Apes with this post-alien invasion movie. Starring John Goodman, Captive State takes the approach of showing the world years after a successful invasion where humans are now under rule and police the population on behalf of the aliens. It’s certainly an interesting approach and considering the low budget, the effects are impressive. However, I felt that the interesting premise was lost as the film moved on towards more cliche territory. The fact was, for most of the film I was bored. Not that a film like this has to be all action, just more interesting.
Rating – 6
Hotel Mumbai (2019) – Dir Anthony Maras
Chilling retelling of a real terrorist attack in Mumbai from director Anthony Maras and starring Dev Patel, Jason Issacs, Armie Hammer and Nazanin Bonialdi. This tells the story in a matter of fact way without preaching. The horror of the attacks and the bravery of the hotel staff is clear to see. Acting all round is great. I was concerned about a star like Armie Hammer being in it as it could have turned into an American hero role. This was not the case and he was superb. This film really puts you in the situation and pulls no punches.
Rating – 8
The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019) – Dir Chris Renaud and Jonathan del Val
I was a big fan of the first film and although the series does not have the emotion or intellect of the Pixar brand, they are great fun. Plenty of laughs and scene-stealing voice work from one Harrison Ford!
Rating – 7