Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018) Review

[This review contains spoilers]

This film is both a squeal and prequel of the original. It’s literally a cerebration Donna’s life. She died in the sequel, but the prequel is all about her journey to Greece and the three men she slept with.

I found the modern day, surrounded by Sophie’s mourning for the mother, Donna, to be rather touching. I enjoyed that life went on, she wanted to continue with her mothers hotel, she wanted to make her proud.

However her relationship with Sky is strained. He wants to remain in New York for career opportunities, she wants to stay on the island. The line is brought up, she should tell him that she loves him more than this fight.

Donna in her youth is wild, fun and is looking for something in life. Honestly, the prequel had the type of youthful energy this movie needed.

The shifts between the present and the past were a little sloppy and not always a smooth transition, but at least the film tried to be different. I’ll give it credit there.

The musical numbers are well done, and shot nicely. No as good as West Side Story, but that isn’t a fair comparison.

This film is sappy, made to make you cry and kick back and forget about life for a few hours. The acting is fine, the singing is good, with a few standout moments. It was nice listening to Abba songs that weren’t as popular.

The tensions happened naturally enough. The ending had a nice poignant moment where Sophie baptises her child, while Donna does the same for her. In that same small church on that lonely Greek island.

Yet that’s the main crux of the film, you’re never really alone. Yes, drama will happen, you won’t always get along with people. Maybe those boys you left, would come back, and decide that all three of them will be your daughters father.

You never know. Life is odd and mysterious, but there will always be people there to take care of you. That’s the overall message of the film, and I approve.

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Cliffhanger (1993) Review

[Disclaimer: This review contains spoilers.]

If any film lives up to its name, it’s this one. I can’t count the times people were literally hanging from cliffs, falling from cliffs, the tension from clinging to cliffs. There are a lot of cliffs in this movie.

I actually quite enjoyed this movie, it had me on edge.

Sylvester Stallone plays Gabe Walker, a man suffering from PTSD after a rescue went wrong. Later an eight month subtitle comes on screen, and in that same day he’s been tricked into helping international thieves. It’s either the money or his life.

Money that they lost, you guessed it, on a mountain, near many, many, cliffs.

The action surrounding this set piece was really good, and I did quite like the special effects.

Yet this film isn’t really what the trailer implies. It isn’t a non-stop action film, it’s much slower and deliberate. It’s a tension filled movie between some gun wielding maniacs and a group of rangers. There is some suspension of disbelief in this movie, you have to buy that Gabe has perfect memory and knows exactly where every case of money is.

That he can outsmart this world class villain. That he can not only struggle against, but survives the odds multiple times. That everyone dies, but our main heroes, and a woman that might as well be a damsel in distress.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I liked this film, I thought it was good, but don’t go into it expecting anything more than a beautifully shot, silly, thriller.

West Side Story (1961) Review

[This review contains spoilers]

I didn’t expect what I got out of this film. I thought it’d be a fun romance, what I got was far more. It’s a very nuanced and mature film. The way it was shot is almost poetic. I didn’t expect for it to start with an aerial view of the city. Something that almost every TV show and movie does now, but something I almost never see from movies of that era.

It was lovely seeing New York in the 1960s, it really drew me into that time period, firmly establishing the mood of the film.

The dancing was excellent and very masculine, not something I can often say about a musical. The way the camera moved with the dancers, as if it was apart of the choreography, it reminded me of Gene Kelly.

This film is definitely a really good version of Romeo and Juliet, even better than the original in my mind. There are things that are done that I just think overall makes the story stronger. For example, Maria and Tony never marry like Romeo and Juliet, but they imagine what it would be like; saying their vows. It’s more realistic, but shows their commitment to each other, yes they basically just met yesterday, but they are madly in love.

The thing that really sets this film apart, besides the great music and dancing (and I don’t say that flippantly, the music really is great). It’s the racial tensions. Maria is Puerto Rican, and so is her friends and family. Her brother is in a Puerto Rican gang, that fight an American gang.

Both sides are young, and both are stupid. The film doesn’t take sides, it shows that the Puerto Rican gang feel alienated by American society and, to some extent, feel the weigh of racism on their backs. Yet the Puerto Rican immigrants argue amongst themselves, stating how America is a land of opportunity, yet they some of them spit back, sure if you’re ‘white’.

Yet, to counter these arguments is the American gang, this ‘land of opportunity’ produced them. Kids that are on the bad side of the law, from broken homes, that only feel at home on the streets fighting for their one bit of road. They only have each other as family, and they’re not going to give that up for anything.

These racial tensions in the film aren’t just between the Americans and the Puerto Ricans, it’s amongst the immigrants themselves. That’s what makes this film so nuanced, and just poignant.

Both sides are idiotic in the end, because that violence ends up with death on both sides. It shows that if you allow for that kind of hate and anger fill you up, nothing good will come if it. There is no winning in a war they literally created.

I did think there were some weaknesses in the film, like Maria just forgiving Tony after killing her brother almost instantly, but moments like that were few and far in-between. The film mostly overcomes them with just how good everything else is.

This film is easily recommended for anyone. Check it out, if you want a serious film that actually means something.

Demolition Man (1993) Review

[This review contains spoilers]

Fun is the definition of this film.

If you want cheesy one liners, a dumb plot, silliness with every breath. Then this is the film for you. It was exactly what I wanted from it.

Hell I even got more. It was surprisingly prescient, I mean, it obviously ripped off better Sci-Fi, with implants and the type of fascism that it entails. I liked that it mentioned thought provoking things like that. I mean there were people that were known as the ‘leftovers’ that lived underground. They resisted those that were both metaphorically and literally above them.

I loved that it wasn’t afraid to even mention how a utopia of peace, can be twisted.

Please keep in mind, this film isn’t deep. There isn’t a problem in this film that can’t be punched better, yet it is deceptively complex.

Is it okay to have peace when it’s against the law to have salt, or to swear? Where words like fuck are banned?

Where people make up dumb words to ‘curse’ appropriately within the law?

The underground people are literally starving, because they choose not to be apart of the ‘utopia’, but as a result have to fight for food. There is a social commentary there. Is freedom worth it?

Again, the film doesn’t ask too many hard questions, but the context of the film’s setting is surprisingly interesting and comedic.

The main character John Spartan (a great name) is played wonderfully straight by Sylvester Stallone. Yet Wesley Snipes is the real star of the film, he has the best delivery of perfectly cheesy dialogue. He added so much to what could’ve been a boring villain. He was charismatic, goofy, and just plain evil.

I mean, he stole guns from a museum.

If that doesn’t explain what kind of film this is, then this film definitely isn’t for you.

Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982) Review:

[This review contains spoilers]

I didn’t enjoy this film. There, I said it.

It’s far too slow, it doesn’t really go anywhere and Nazis appear randomly at the end. That probably sounds funny, depending on your sense of humour. At least, it’s supposed to be. Noir and Comedy are rarely two genres that cross paths. Yet that’s the very crux of this film.

Steve Martin plays Rigby Reardonm whose very motto is to stay away from women. He can screw them, but heaven forbid he cares for one. Then walks in Juliet Forrest (played by Rachel Ward), a beautiful woman that happens to faint in their first meeting.

Rigby catches her, but don’t mistake him for a gentleman, he is anything but. Kissing a woman whilst she’s unconscious is hardly romantic, but this film plays it off as a gag.

Everything is too serious in this film. They try to be funny, but without ever winking at the camera. The plot is a mess, jumping from one story to the next. Rigby gets shot several times, only to have Juliet pull a bullet out with her teeth like some sort of magician.

This happens several times throughout the film. Rigby gets drugged by women, several times as well. The romantic aspect is stale. There is very little truly exciting that ever gets this film going. Even the climax is underwhelming, with a halfhearted chase scene.

Only thing that saves this film is the way they integrate a whole bunch of older films throughout its run. It cuts back and forth between actors that today are long since dead in an interesting and sometimes funny way. I get the feeling if you’ve seen all those other older films, this one might be funnier. Without those references, it’s hard to say. I haven’t watched the majority of those 1940s and 50s films shown to know.

I think it’s an interesting gimmick that this film does, but it’s too bad it isn’t enough.

The thing is, Steve Martin is a good actor and in other roles, has been very funny. Just not in this film.

This is one you can miss, it’s stale, and with a barely noteworthy trick.

Atomic Blonde Review:

[This review contains spoilers]

This film has pacing issues. The thriller aspect lack intrigue and explains so little that it isn’t always clear who’s on whose side. That wouldn’t be a problem if was well written and not boring during the slow moments. But it was and as a result became a bit confusing. Especially since you’re not always sure why everyone is dying for the list to begin with.

They say it has important information that will prolong the cold war, but you have no idea why that is. So it leaves the struggle for it rather lacklustre.

It’s a good thing that this isn’t the only aspect of the film otherwise it’d be incredibly dull.

The action saves this film. It’s face paced, brilliantly choreographed and shot very well. It’s a thrill to watch and keeps you on your toes. The fights are unrealistic, but if you wanted that you wouldn’t be watching this film. They’re also fabulously brutal. The only criticism I have is that the hits didn’t quite land. When a punch was thrown, sometimes they didn’t connect, and thus impact wasn’t felt.

It’s a small complaint, but I think it would’ve made the action that much more hard to watch; and all the more exciting.

I also liked that Lorraine (played by Charlize Theron) was properly bruised up. It made her feel real and that much more of a badass. Also her outfits were great, very stylish.

Charlize Theron also did some nice acting, very believable as cool heroine with a gun.

The ending was the one bit of strong writing in the whole film. When all the plot threads come together very neatly with some great plot twists.

The music was good and very 80s; however I felt like this film wasn’t as much of a time piece as it tried to be. People’s hair were too normal and the fashion was too toned down for that time period.

It’s also just a good looking film, with thoughtful composition and great lighting choices.

Overall this was a fun and intriguing movie. It’s ashame that it had those pacing issues, because it was very close to being better than it was. I liked it, and it’s a recommendation from me.

A Star Is Born (1954) Review:

[This review contains spoilers]

There are three different versions of this film, soon to be four by next year. I think that’s interesting given the heavy nature of this picture. A Star Is Born is about a young woman that becomes a ‘somebody’, and even more so, it’s about her alcoholic husband.

Judy Garland plays Esther Blodgett, renamed as Vikki Lester. It’s what they did back then, to give you a more ‘Hollywood’ name. I find it interesting that this film in someways peels back the curtain. That the stars people idealise really are just like them, with their own flawed little lives. Norman Maine, her husband, is a drunk. He tries to go clean for her, but constantly makes a fool of himself.

He knows he has a problem, yet he can’t help himself. It leads to his wife, Esther, to wither. He inspired her to be a star, to really appreciate and share her talent, yet without him it isn’t worth anything to her.

It’s when he realises that he’s ruining her life as well as his own that he takes his life. The thing is, in this film we see him cry. I think that’s really interesting, because films now rarely show that. It also was in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

A Street Car Named Desire had a man wailing with raw emotion.

I find this fascinating, because I rarely find modern Hollywood films trying to hit these types of heavy emotions. Films like that are still being made, but you have to look elsewhere to find them and I think that’s ashame. Because these films are really trying to be about something, and they were mainstream.

They weren’t indie darling, these were intended for general audiences. I wonder why Hollywood doesn’t trust the average cinema goer with this type of art any more?

A Star is Born is flawed. It has too much time spent away from the main plot, making the pace inconsistent and the film far too long. There are parts that are just a bit boring. Yet Judy Garland acts splendidly in this film and sings beautifully with some real stand out songs. The Man That Got Away is a particular highlight.

You also believe their relationship. They really did fall in love and it shows. He worked hard to make her a star. She worked just as hard to save him…but some people can’t be.

When she’s grief stricken and still able to march on. You feel it.

Life is hard, but that doesn’t mean you have to be on your knees when it tries to cut you down.

I enjoyed this film, it isn’t the best of that era, All About Eve is better. Regardless this is still a good film, it’s just not perfect.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review:

[This review contains spoilers]

I liked this film more than Wonder Woman. I thought it was funnier, tighter written and had more personality; yet afterwards I was left feeling empty.

I thought a lot of this film was well written, in particular the jokes. It got a good amount of chuckles out of me. It’s a movie with a smart mouth. However Peter was less goofy than the previous film with a lot of his personality lost in the process. Star-Lord and Gamora’s romance went basically nowhere, is was the weakest aspect of the film to me. Baby Groot was funny, but basically a gag character on the level of an animal in a Disney cartoon. Rocket didn’t have much of an ark, even if he was meant to have grown, it didn’t really show.

Then there’s Yondu, he’s supposed to be Peter’s father, even though the film admits he lead to many children’s death. He isn’t a good person, yet the film tries to play him off as sympathetic, he isn’t. He’s just a guy that happened to be good once. I don’t think that there can be any redemption in that, even if the film is pushing it with it’s flimsy attempt to be philosophical.

The only relationship I really bought was between Gamora and Nebula. They both were abused as children and as a result resented each other. They blamed the other for the crimes dealt to them by their father. That is incredibly human and very genuine. I liked that they looked past all that and became stronger as a result. It was the best part of the film for me.

Family is a strong theme in this movie, but other than the sisters relationship, it came across as rather superficial to me. I get that they’re a family, but other than a few points in the film, there was rarely a weight put behind those words.

Drax was the funniest character to me, a real improvement over the first film. The action was good with music accompanying them appropriately. It was very well done.

Go into this one without thinking too much and you’ll probably have a fun time.

Bus Stop Review:

[This review contains spoilers]

Isn’t it wonderful when someone so horrible turns out to be so nice?

I’m paraphrasing, but Marilyn Monroe does utter a line remarkably similar to that. By the morals of this film, abduction is fine, stalking is acceptable and if you’re in love with a stranger, it justifies manhandling the hell out of them.

Marilyn plays the dumb blonde rather well, a woman without talent, that can’t sing but wants to make it in Hollywood. The scene where she sung went for too long and felt rather painful. Cherie, Marilyn’s character, is deemed an Angel by Bo, a man that seems to think you should treat a woman the same way you do a bull.

Tie them up and bring them home.

That’s not a joke, that’s how little respect and understanding he has for much of anyone. He’s brutish, and literally doesn’t behave until it’s literally beaten into him.

Then he’s sorry. Then he wants to play nice, and because Cherie is so dumb she believes him. Even though he proves moments later he had learned nothing, because he almost kidnapped his best friend.

Bo is a man child that doesn’t respect Cherie at all. He doesn’t even call her by name. Cherry, that’s her ‘new name’. One she doesn’t even want.

So, seeing a stranger and forcing them to marry you is romantic?

What a strange message. This isn’t a bad movie, the acting is good, but the plot is nonsensical. I mean, why would everyone just grin and wave while Cherie leaves with Bo? He’s crazy. She needs someone to take her aside and say: ‘Honey, you’re better than this.”

Which is really the message of the movie. It could’ve been better, instead we got this, a dumb mess.

Gunsmith Cats Review:

[This review contains spoilers]

This OVA left me wanting more, and that’s praise that isn’t just tossed around. I loved it. It isn’t my favourite anime, but I could easily see it being someone else’s. The action was great, the humour always got a chuckle out of me and I was transfixed to the screen.

This story follows the unlikely duo Rally and May. Rally is reasonable and knows her way around a gun, whereas saying May was a bomb enthusiast would be a drastic understatement. They work well together and have strong chemistry. You can really tell they’re old friends.

Bill Collins is a nuisance of sorts, but the kind that’ll get you both in and out of a jam. He plays great off Rally with his wit and easy humour. He’s the ultimate leading guy.

The action is where this mini-series really shines. They’re isn’t one ounce of fat in this series. It’s just paced really well, with moments to breathe. It does stuff that I love about anime. You see the main characters talk about take-out, arguing about it, the way friends do. Anime can have small moments like that, without it being a waste of time. It’s about adding to the characters. Getting to know them, so that you care about them.

This is something that I think is missing from a lot of Hollywood films, at least coming out now. They don’t ponder on the quiet moments and let the plot breathe. Deadpool did, and I think that’s a fantastic film.

Radinov, a former KGB agent is a great villain. She really is a terminator, something she’s even called during the dub.

I really enjoyed the English version of this OVA. I thought the script was funny, the characters played off each other well. I thought it was well done, definitely recommended.

This is an anime for people that like slick, stylish action with attitude. Hell it even has a Psycho reference, which is cool in my book. Check it out if you like fun!