We wished to start this as cinemas open and lockdown lessened but as we are still not having many opened cinemas we are going to give suggestions on streaming films and new release physical media, as well as the cinema releases.
Our fun movie page
Some more recommendations for you, coming from beyond the heatwave.
Bullet Train is the new Brad Pitt film, from the director of John Wick and Deadpool 2. The film is mainly set on the Japanese Bullet Train, a high-speed train going from Tokyo to Kyoto. Pitt has to steal a package and get off the train but craziness ensures, with many vendettas and crazy characters involved in retrieving the package. The film is enjoyable if too long. You won’t see anything new but it is a fun time.
Day Shift is a new vampire hunting film on Netflix, starring Jamie Foxx. It’s fun trash essentially, as Foxx has to re-join the union that he was banned from to make money from hunting vampires to keep his family together. He is joined by Dave Franco as a prissy evaluator as the situation spins out of control. It’s another film where there is little new in the story but it’s put together well and is fun for its running time. It’s a Saturday night flick.
Love And Monsters is another Netflix film. Dylan O’Brien stars as the useless guy in a post-apocalyptic bunker, where the Earth is now filled with crazy dangerous mutations. He finds that his girlfriend is alive and in another bunker 85 miles away. He sets out on a quest to reach her bunker and has to deal with the mutations and other humans on the way. This is a very enjoyable adventure film. The lead character learns slowly from a variety of people he meets how to survive on the surface and slowly becomes a useful person. Give this one a shot. It’s worth your time.
Carter is the final Netflix film being covered and it is insane. Its full of old cliches like a spy having lost his memories and being on the run from many governments and their disposable thugs but throws in zombies and non-stop insane action. The dialogue scenes are very clunky but don’t worry, there’s not many of them. What the film focuses on is crazy, cartoonish action that gets increasingly out of control, with crashing planes, fist-fights that jump van to van and inventive use of pigs. Give it a shot if you like action and have a sense of humour.
Thirteen Lives is on Amazon and is a dramatic film covering the true-life events of the Thailand teenage football team trapped deep within a long and winding flooded cave. Viggo Mortensen and Colin Farrell lead the cast as the dedicated rescuers who have to repeatedly go through the dangerous cave and find a way to bring out the kids safely, when there seems to be no logical way out. This is a very solid film on the event and worth your time.
There was a delay to this page due to the warm summer but I am back.
Thor: Love And Thunder is the new Thor film. Many of you will have seen it and made you mind up about it. Essentially its not as strong as Ragnorok but has many terrific moments in it. You should have a good time unless you are going in to be grumpy. Christian Bale makes a good, understandable villain and the film has a good-natured vibe as Thor tries to sort himself out in life and save all of the gods despite being a bit thick. Good supporting cast and crazy jokes abound.
The Gray Man is the new mega-budget film on Netflix. Its from the Russo brothers, who direct the final two Avengers films and stars Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans. Its an American spy on the run from his own government movie, which we have all seen a million times but it has decent actors and some fun action. Nothing here is top-level. It’s just okay but its fun nonsense. If you go in knowing that you should have a good time.
Brigsby Bear is a beautiful little film that is available on streaming on various platforms. This film is about a boy who grows up knowing about a fictional character called Brigsby Bear, a bear who is a superhero, fighting in a land of crazy cheap looking effects. When his world is turned upside down the now young man cannot let go of this character and uses it to find a way through his changing circumstances. I am trying not to give away certain areas of the plot here. It’s a charming film that you should make the effort to see. It’s worth it.
Mad God is a stop-motion art film that took decades to make. It was directed by Phil Tippet, who did a lot of the effects on the original Star Wars trilogy, Jurassic Park, Robocop and Starship Troopers. He began this in 1990 and kept adding to it, ending up with a feature length crazy science fiction horror film that is light on plot but heavy on invention and atmosphere. Give it a go. Its great and is one of my films of the year so far.
Return To Oz is another film with great stop motion but it’s a live action sequel to The Wizard Of Oz and it is pure nightmare fuel. This is dark. Dorothy returns to Oz (hence the title) to find the yellow brick road destroyed, the Emerald city in ruins and the Gnome King ruling all. She has to find new companions to save Oz from him. I saw this in the cinema when it was released and it was scary. Watching it now I can see why I was scared. This is a dark film. But its also beautiful and imaginative and worth your time. Go see it.
Another fortnight so that means movie page.
Jurassic World Dominion is released but I have yet to see it. That dubious pleasure comes on the weekend so you’ll have to wait on my thoughts on the film. The current critical standing on the film is… well it’s taken a pounding. The casts of the original Jurassic Park trilogy are back, joining up with the cast of this new Jurassic World trilogy. In theory that should cause excitement so we shall see. From what I have heard going to see this film is a case of good luck.
A Canterbury Tale & I Know Where I’m Going is next up. These are classic 1940’s films from the Archers, made up of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressberger. The first is set during the war and deals with a land girl and two soldiers on leave (one British, one American) trying to track down a local who is dropping glue on local women’s hair. The second is post-war and is a romance as a woman played by Wendy Hiller is tyring to get to her wedding on an isolated Scottish island and starts falling for another man. Both of these films are charming, having great characters, a wonderful sense of the community that they exist in, a sense of what the war means to the participants at the time, and are not tied down to their main stories. Both are a delight.
Encounters Of A Spooky Kind is a ridiculous kung-fu comedy/horror from Sammo Hung. It is basically a series of horror comedy set-pieces where Hung is terrorised by spooks of various kinds, all because the local man in power wants Hung’s wife as his own. This is a wonderfully silly film that embraces its own ridiculous nature. It has a naïve hero, a wise mentor figure for him, devious villains and a sense that everyone knows what the film is and don’t have to wink to the camera. It is worth tracking down.
The Witch Subversion is a more serious film from Asia, this one made in the recent past. A teenager is having headaches and is soon being hunted down by government agents, as she begins to show supernatural and self-defence gifts that identifies her as what the government identifies as a witch from one of their old programmes. While we’ve seen the plot before the execution is wonderful, from the ten dealing with family and friends, to the crazy government agents, to the crazy action. While unoriginal this is a wonderful film. It’s a great example of a genre film done right.
Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place is our final recommendation, this from the scary land of TV. Garth Marenghi is a pretentious and limited horror writer who in the past has created his own TV show, Dark Place, written, directed and starring himself as a hero doctor in a haunted hospital. This series has 6 wonderfully insane episodes that sends up horror, science fiction and British drama, with all its hideous cliches, as well as spoofing insane vanity projects (as the show is hilariously and intentionally anything but competent). We also get talking heads from the deluded actor/director/writer and his workmates, all of which adds to the insanity. It’s a must see, with an early part for Matt Berry.
Welcome back to another movie page.
I am going to start with the obvious. Top Gun Maverick was released over the weekend to much acclaim and excitement. It’s the sequel to Top Gun, that 80’s homo-erotic cheesefest starring Tom Cruise. This new film is less homo-erotic but still stars Tom Cruise as the older but not wiser Maverick. The film looks at the character 30 years after the original, who is still an ace pilot but is getting in trouble with his superiors for thinking that he knows better. The story is about him recognising age and regret, and is about his painful transition into being a teacher to the next generation of ace pilots. This is a fun film with terrific plane sequences, some decent character moments and a sense of humour. It’s not amazing but is enjoyable.
Everything Everywhere All At Once is a new independent much-praised film about multiple universes and the various paths life can take. This is an inventive film that starts with a mundane, frustrating life of a Chinese-American family who seem to be headed for implosion and disaster. Into that set-up we get science fiction absurdity, with a variety of different versions of these characters from different universes, who made different choices in their lives. This is a fun film as long as you understand its more of a drama/comedy than a hard science fiction film. The science fiction element gets very gimmicky and there are various ignored plot-holes but go along for the ride.
Morbius is from the Spiderman multiverse which means its not part of the MCU. Basically it’s a tacky film based on a Marvel character without the MCU over-sight. If you like cheesy b-movies with moronic plots you might enjoy this one. It’s got some good moments, mostly from Matt Smith as the villain, who is chewing every bit of scenery he can get hold of but you have to wait a while and get through some pseudo-science to get to this. Jared Leto is fine as Morbius but is not as crazy as you would want from him. But its okay as Smith brings that crazy later. It has some really dodgy CGI, which is a comedy highlight in itself. So you may enjoy it but not respect yourself in the morning.
Finally we have a throwback with Harry Palmer. The Ipcress File & Funeral In Berlin are two 60’s films that were counter-programs to Bond, even though they had the same producer, one of the same directors and many of the same behind the scenes people. Michael Caine’s Palmer is a working-class spy with thick glasses and an accent, but like Bond he’s sarcastic to his superiors and smarter than everyone else in the plot. These films are a bit more realistic than Bond, especially Funeral In Berlin, but not as different as they would like to think. That doesn’t matter as they are great fun, with some very vicious put-downs and a general contempt for the spy game.