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nicky

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nicky last won the day on March 5

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  1. BARBARIAN (2022) 4/5 (No Spoilers) The less you know about this film, the better - I didn't watch the trailer, I just knew it was about an Airbnb house where one tenant (Georgina Campbell) arrives to find someone else (Bill Skarsgard) already in it. It's very original, surprising, tense, scary and filled with suspense - it's what every horror film should be without relying on gore, cheap shocks or a nasty villain to do the work. It's solid horror ruined only by its plot-holes and an annoyingly unsatisfying ending. Director Zach Cregger does an excellent job keeping you on edge and maintaining mystery through-out but the writing suffers not only due to plot-holes but also redundant character backstories. It's fine to have backstories but it often feels like they're only there to pad-out the 100 mins runtime despite how great Justin Long is in the film. I really wanted to know more about the antagonists and their backstories and why this s*** was going on because what we are told is just a bit weak. Also as ever with mystery-suspense thrillers, once you know everything it takes the enjoyment out of future viewings and gets boring very quickly with each watch. DON'T BREATHE (2016), THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS (1991) and even RESIDENT EVIL VII (the game) are other trapped-in-a creepy-house stories that reminded me of BARBARIAN but unlike them this film puts much more emphasis on mystery which it excels at - it had me guessing all the way through just who was the villain (is it Bill Skarsgard or not?) and what was happening. I'm hoping for a prequel.
  2. WEIRD: THE AL YANKOVIC STORY (2022) 2.5/5 (No spoilers) Who asked for a movie about this guy?! OK maybe he was huge in the USA but in the UK I seem to recall only 3 one-off novelty music videos and his cameo in THE NAKED GUN 33/3rd (1994). Of course I wouldn't mind if the movie was good but it sucked, never-mind weird. The core message of the film is, "just be yourself and do what makes you happy - even if you're weird" but it's not done very well - there isn't even an interesting story here let alone one of struggle like other biopics. There's heavy emphasis on Weird Al's longing for his dad's acceptance but its hard to take seriously when the film is a comedy - what's worse though is it isn't even funny. The film isn't really a biopic because it shoots off on massive tangents with so many events that you know obviously DIDN'T happen (Eg. the origins of 'Eat It', the Pablo Escabar incident). Evan Rachel Wood is good as Madonna and Jack Black makes a great appearance as Wolfman Jack. Radcliff is fine but does he have to be ripped to play Weird Al??!! I get that he chooses these low-key/lo-fi films and plays odd characters (like Johnny Depp does) to get away as far as possible from his Harry Potter image but in this one he just ends up looking like a Scouse - I just kept waiting for him to say, "Alriiight, alriight, cam down, cam down!!"
  3. HALLOWEEN ENDS (2022) 2.5/5 (No spoilers) This is the most unsatisfying conclusion to a trilogy since THE RISE OF SKYWALKER (2019) - HALLOWEEN ENDS isn't even a continuation of the previous instalments and had no connecting plot-points. It's as if the writer's desperately wanted to do something different so made-up this half-arsed rushed love story and tried to fuse it with a 'post-modern' slasher film. The first few minutes are surprisingly fresh but what follows is just clumsy, goofy and rushed (the radio station, dancing on the floor, the bullies, unrealistic romance, Laurie's line about her grand-daughter getting her titties out). It's also boring largely because so much time is focused on characters we don't care about - we want to see Laurie Vs Michael Myers and their big final showdown, THAT's what was promised in the last two films but what we get is something that just doesn't belong. This storyline would've been more suited to a stand-alone HALLOWEEN sequel and NOT the end to this particular trilogy...but even then it would still be crud. Micheal has a connection with the lead character much like Freddy and (sort of) Jason did in one of their films but they did it far better. Here its just stupid and compromises Micheal's whole existence in the film. Furthermore, Micheal's role is...I won't say but it's easy to see what the problem is and I think from this massive flaw it's evident that this trilogy wasn't fully mapped-out from the start and instead was just made-up as they went along. I can't believe they had this in mind for the end of the trilogy back in 2017.
  4. ELVIS (2022) 2.5/5 (No spoilers) I think I might've liked this film more if it wasn't directed by Baz Lurhmann - he brings to it his usual flamboyance and flashy editing like he did with MOULIN ROUGE! (2001) and ROMEO + JULIET (1996). I wanted ELVIS to be a serious, entertaining and dramatic bio-pic like BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (2018) but instead it was a disappointment that focused on the singer's relationship with his manager played by Tom Hanks. The most interesting scene to me was when he first sings to an audience and the girls go crazy - everything else was just fluff. I still don't know why Elvis started popping pills or how his marriage broke-down or why he was so devoted to the stage. And why the hell was modern hip-hop music used in the film???!! Even the title of the film was unimaginative and lazy. Baz isn't really a great story-teller, at least not when you have serious character-driven stuff at hand - he should stick to romantic musicals and other poncy films that your gay best friends love. I fell asleep briefly halfway.
  5. DAY SHIFT (2022) 1.5/5 (No Spoilers) Not much to say really. It was s***e. Wasn't funny at all; the jokes just fell flat and they were clearly desperate to make us laugh. It was pretty cringey. Dave Franco is pretty annoying and Jamie Foxx can do so much better than this whilst the villain was totally forgettable like a 'discount' Salma Hayek. And Snoop Dogg, OMG; he makes a total embarrassment of himself - it reminded me of Ice-T in the God-awful action flick 3000 MILES TO GRACELAND (2000) where he also played this super bad-ass cool loner mercenary but just ended up looking ridiculous. The vampires' fighting-style is very MCU-inspired and not what you expect of the undead and the whole 'secret underground vampire-slayers for hire' thing reminded me of JOHN WICK (2015) . I fell asleep briefly after the first 25 mins.
  6. I didn't like it - it seemed a slow start and the mystery surrounding the phenomenon was what kept it going but it wasn't enough. Daniel Kauuya seemed to be mumbling his lines and Keke Parker talked too fast while the Fry's sales tech guy was just annoying (no one is allowed to talk to customers like that while working). Micheal Wincott and Steven Yuen were wasted opportunities. I loved Jordan Peele's first film GET OUT (2017) and US (2019) was alriiight but NOPE was disappointing. I agree it was too long and tried to be too 'smart' (esp with Steven Yuen's unneeded chimpanzee backstory) and the climax just went on too long.
  7. PREY (2022) 3.5/5 (No spoilers) I was surprised this film was green-lit so soon after the disastrous reception THE PREDATOR (2018) got so as a fan I felt so lucky we didn't have to wait another decade. For me the Predator films are like my favorite football team; I want them to win (make good films), hate them to lose (make bad films) and I support them whenever I can buying merch and paying to see the films. After the great reception of PREY this new Predator film is like a tournament win! The new film's strengths are in the form of it's characters, their motivations, the beautiful cinematography and good balance of drama and action. The Predator itself is a great villain, more ferocious than we've ever seen before but the lack of practical effects for his face especially is very disappointing. Unfortunately, the Predator also looks too different here (more like something from PAN'S LABYRINTH) and even Alan Silvestri's famous theme isn't used so it doesn't feel like a Predator film. There's also a heavier emphasis on horror here and our protagonist isn't the seasoned tough action-hero we're used to. But the story is good even though the climatic battle was a bit underwhelming - I was hoping for a lengthy big showdown (with no dialogue) like the first two films. PREY undid the mess of the last film and made the series about HUNTING again and thankfully spared us of anymore stupid super/upgraded Preds - what we get here is the film we should have got or at least a definite step in the right direction. Now things are finally looking-up for the series, hopefully it will soon succeed in tempting Arnold back.
  8. It was pure bonkers. It was like if The Cohen Brothers took acid and made The Matrix.
  9. TOP GUN: MAVERICK (2022) 3/5 (No spoilers) Being a fan of the original I felt this was overrated. It missed a lot of what made the 1986 film great (machismo, homo-eroticism, music-video vibes) but even as a stand-alone film I thought it was just OK. It was very cheesy in places, the first film was too but it felt at home there but here in the sequel it doesn't fit. The plot is thin again, Maverick is back to train new pilots for a deadly mission and one of them is his dead best friend's son (Miles Teller) who has a beef with him. Its less about being a pilot and more about Maverick coming to terms with his past. But this is a slightly more mature boring version of his younger self, even the love story is non-existent. There's too many characters here to try and keep up; the new pilots hardly do anything and the team lacks camaraderie. Their introductory scene is just cringe, so is Jennifer Connelly's flirting. Even Miles Teller as Goose's son doesn't do much, he's just there cos you must have the cliche angry son give Maverick a hard time. This is why the film reminds me of HOT SHOTS! (1991); it becomes a lite parody of itself with all this "I flew with your old man" sentiment, something that Maverick already had with Viper (Tom Skerrit) in the original. The relationship between Cruise and Teller should've been the focal point giving more impact to the ending but it just fell a bit flat and predictable. There are many repeated beats from the first film drawing on nostalgia/homage, even as far as creating new younger versions of the same characters such as Hangman, another cocky rival like Ice-Man (Val Kilmer). Not subtle at all. The last 20 mins of action is very good though apart from the two cop-out moments that happen within 10 mins of each other. And another thing: The ending of the first film was inconsistent with the sequel. SPOILERS: Maverick had let go of Goose's death and was happy but here he's still haunted. If you watch both films back-to-back its especially distracting/jarring. I get feelings come back but the filmmakers could've at least acknowledged it, if not for the purpose of exposition then at least as a wink to the audience to say, "Yeah, we know it's different but we're changing it now". They basically retconned the first film's ending, at least Army of Darkness had a recap and narration to cover the inconsistency with Evil Dead 2 but here there's nothing. I also thought the scene showing archive footage of Goose playing piano was unnecessarily over-done and treating the audience as dumb, so was the archive footage dying in the sea - we get it, Maverick is haunted.
  10. MORBIUS (2022) 3.5/5 (No spoilers) Every now and then a critically panned film comes along and its always fun to see how bad it really is. But sometimes you watch it only to be 'disappointed' that you actually enjoyed it and end up feeling guilty or stupid for not sharing everyone else's opinion. For me, this year, that film is MORBIUS. There are FAR worse superhero films eg WW84 (2021), VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE (2021), the last two or three X-MEN films and both SUICIDE SQUAD films. I didn't think MORBIUS was great but it was a nice blend of superhero and horror although it really should've been rated R so more horror and gore could be brought in - its always gonna be tough trying to make a PG vampire action-horror movie especially when he's a goodie. There were quite a few plot-holes and WTF moments but they're relatively minor and for me weren't so bad that they spoiled the main plot - it just took a decent amount of acceptance. With comic-book films, things often don't make sense anyway since they're fantasy-based so it's easy to forgive imperfect writing. The ending felt a bit rushed though and was unsatisfying. It's obvious Sony really wants this to connect with Spider-Man and Venom so there are more than enough references which kind of get in the way - it almost feels like Sony didn't have that much faith in Morbius as a solo character in his own movie.
  11. It's been panned. I think it lost a lot of people by casting Zac Efron as a father. I've not seen it but it has encouraged me to seek out the Drew Barrymore version which I've not seen since the mid 80s.
  12. BENEDETTA (2021) 3.5/5 (No Spoilers) I love Paul Verhoeven films. ELLE (2016) was a disappointment to me and I feared this new film would be another with its lesbian nuns premise. Thankfully BENEDETTA is a surprising return to form and is filled with the director's trademarks - there's plenty sex, plenty Christianity and some violence. The film's medieval setting amidst the plague and Christian themes reminded me of Verhoeven's first Hollywood film, FLESH + BLOOD (1985). But sex isn't the main focus of the the story although it does seem to be the film's main marketing point - of course, sex sells. The story is more about Christianity and whether Benedetta herself (Virginie Efira) is what she claims to be. It takes a while before the two nuns start having sex and the seduction itself could've been fleshed-out more as there's very little justification as to why the frolicking begins other than just simple curiosity and experimentation. But I guess for some, experimentation and curiosity is a common impetus for engaging in homo-eroticism. There's a (sexual) torture/interrogation scene which is pretty hard to watch even though you don't see anything apart from the torture device itself but that alone and the screaming is enough to make you squirm. Equally memorable is a particular character's death and the reaction of another's. It's all powerful stuff and the story makes clever comparisons to Joan Of Arc and leaves you asking "was it or wasn't it real?" much like Verhoeven's TOTAL RECALL (1990).
  13. WEST SIDE STORY (2021) 2/5 (Spoilers!!) I've never seen the stage-show or the original film, all I knew was that it was loosely based on Romeo & Juliet. The musical sequences are good and the costumes and sets look great but I just found it a bit boring especially the first 20+ mins. I realize the two leads have to fall in love quickly as the film is "only" 2.5hrs long but the whole love-at-first-sight scene was just too unbelievable, they could have at least fallen in love over singing a song together (like in MOULIN ROUGE). But that was only the first thing that troubled me, next up was the fact Maria forgives Tony for killing her brother! Not only that but Anita then forgives Maria and allows her to run away with Tony, her husband's killer! And then for some reason, Anita tells everyone Maria has been killed.
  14. THE DIRT (2019) 4/5 (No spoilers) I had been listening to Motley Crue's Greatest Hits album a lot lately so I looked-up this rock biopic. I really enjoyed it... even though I know it didn't do well with critics but I do agree with their negativity in that it focuses too much on the rock-star party-lifestyle rather than the drama within the plot but I think that's what makes the film more fun to watch. Unlike other rock biopics THE DIRT is more light in tone and has even been classed by some as a comedy. It's no surprise to learn that the director is the same guy behind JACKASS so the crazy antics within the band are at the forefront. Of course sex and drugs play a heavy role in the film but they're presented in such a way as if to glorify the rock n' roll lifestyle and not treated with the same gravity as you'd expect in STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON (2015), BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (2018), WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT (1993) and ROCKETMAN (2019) etc. The serious issues in THE DIRT like addiction, illness and death could've been given more time to explore but it seems that the writers want to keep the focus on the band's unity so its not a serious heavy hard-hitting drama like those other biopics. There's no 'Pamela Anderson' in this unfortunately but 'Heather Locklear' is in it - I would have liked to have seen more of her and the band's relationships with their families but I guess if I want to see that I'll have to watch PAM & TOMMY.
  15. I like both in the role but you have to remember the Clarice you see in Silence Of The Lambs (1991) is a rookie and in Hannibal (2001) she is an experienced tough agent and a much more mature action-woman so they naturally don't feel like the same character. Hannibal himself on the other hand seems to have become more jovial since being on the run in the latter film, something Hopkins wanted to get away from in subsequent iterations.
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