Alita: Battle Angel Movie Review

More like Bad-tle Angel; the new Robert Rodriguez is a classic case of style over substance as the impressive visuals fail to overshadow an over-ambitious, messy attempt at adapting the source material.

Rosa Salazar stars as the titular Alita, and the supporting cast includes Christoph Waltz and Mahershala Ali, and for the most part they do the best with the script they have been given; Rosa is great as Alita under all those CG effects on her face (those eyes never get any less distracting) and Mahershala is suitably menacing as the evil Vector.

The plot of Alita is very, very predictable, with Alita being ‘the last of her kind’ and slowly begins to recover her memories after she is awoken from a long sleep. You get the drill. There are some really beautiful scenes and a few touching moments as well as soe gritty action scenes but none of it really gripped me.

Once you get past the visuals, which again it must be said are really spectacular at times, the movie comes across as a bit like a grown up, less funny Spy Kids with a bit of Wall-E and Real Steel thrown in for good measure. Disappointing.

40%

 

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The Lego Movie 2 Review

The sequel to the surprisingly good Lego Movie builds (haha) on the original in every way; it’s still charming, funny and beautiful and feels like a proper sequel with a real story to tell rather than a money grab (Looking at you, Ralph.)

In The Lego Movie 2, we are shown a post-apocalyptic version of the city from the first film, now fittingly dubbed ‘Apocalypseburg’, where everything is decidedly not awesome after it was viciously attacked by Duplo creatures from the Sis-tar system.  Batman, alongside Lucy & the gang, is abducted so he can be married to Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi (brilliantly voiced by Tiffany Haddish), and it is up to Emmet to save him from the Sis-tar system. Along the way, Emmet meets Rex Dangervest (also voiced by Chris Pratt) who attempts to get Emmet to toughen up his act so he can take down the evil Queen.

The extended voice cast is brilliant again, with the likes of Richard Ayoade, Ralph Fiennes and Jason Momoa popping up throughout, and there are plenty of off-the-wall cameos too.

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have done it again with the story; the big twist in the plot actually got me, all of the new characters are great and likeable and the way they implement the real world into the narrative really works, and really plays with your emotions. This time the screen is not overloaded with pop-culture references but the ones that are here are genuinely, funny and have more impact.

80%

Green Book – Movie Review

Green Book is a movie about master pianist Don Shirley and how he negotiated a tour of the deep south of the U.S.A in 1962. Don is played by Mahershala Ali, and his newly recruited driver/road manager Viggo Mortensen. The two of them are simply brilliant on-screen together.

Green Book is nominated for several Oscars, and it’s clear to see why. It manages to be funny, charming and tackle the issue of segregation in the deep south without the movie ever becoming too preachy or patronising to the viewer. The titular Green Book is

Both Viggo and Mahershala shine in their respective roles and are fully believable as their characters. The surrounding cast are also brilliant, with none of the characters seeming one-dimensional or shoehorned in; you can believe everybody shown has their own story.

Throughout the film, you witness Tony Lip’s character development while seeing Dr Shirley slowly warm up to his ways, and this slow-burn friendship is genuinely heartwarming, and seeing the chemistry between the two characters grow is the real heart of Green Book.

A truly great movie.

95%

Vice – Movie Review

Christian Bale stars as Vice President Dick Cheney in a movie that manages to be genuinely funny, while still openly angry and dismayed at it’s main star.

The whole cast put in brilliant performances, with the central couple of Christian Bale and Amy Adams as Dick and Lynne Cheney being exceptional, alongside Sam Rockwell being perfect as George W Bush.

Vice is a very angry movie, (rightly so) but it funnels this anger at times through humour and light-heartedness, meaning some of the cuts between scenes almost give you whiplash; at one moment you’re laughing at witty text on the screen then suddenly you’re looking at graphic scenes of torture.

The way the story of Dick is told is very clever; I was gripped throughout – from his early alcohol troubled years all through his rise to become the most powerful Vice President in history, and it was very interesting and disheartening to see how he manipulated and took advantage of those around him to gain more power.

A must-see for anyone remotely interested in politics, and it might be even more important for those who aren’t.

85%

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Movie Review

‘Into The Spider-Verse’ is straight-up the best superhero movie I have seen in a long time; it’s a frantic, beautiful breath of fresh air.

The latest Marvel & Sony release is a fully animated affair that follows Miles Morales and his journey to become Spider-Man. However, it is immediately apparent that this is no ordinary origin story; this is by no means another movie you already feel you have seen time and time again.  This time, Spider-Man isn’t the only Spider-Person around to fight evil. 

Big baldy Kingpin sets off a large collider under the city, which messes with the fabric of the universe, bringing together a wild and varied bunch of Spideys together. When these iterations such as Spider-Gwen and Peni Parker interact on-screen, the writing really shines alongside the great voice acting from the likes of Hailee Steinfeld, Nicolas Cage and John Mulaney. Shameik Moore is great throughout as Miles, and a perfect pick.

I learnt that this movie came from the team behind The Lego Movie & Lego Batman after I had watched it, and it made complete sense, with the way everyone interacts and the self-referential humour really mirroring that of the blocky worlds, and that’s not a bad thing at all.  The screening I was in had the whole cinema laughing out loud at parts.

Seeing Miles gradually transform into a fully fledged Spider-Man, and his chemistry with the other spiders especially Gwen and Peter is a real joy and the movie does a brilliant job of getting you invested in the characters and making them believable in the space of one film, with every person in Peter’s family and inner circle seeming really fleshed out.

The animation in Spider-Verse is astounding, with every single scene being filled with detail and eye-popping colour, but at the same time it is never overwhelming, which is no mean feat considering the sheer amount of content crammed into locations like Miles’ bedroom and New York City. The visual style really makes it feel like you are watching a comic book come to life, with snappy, precise shots that all really flow into one another, but it never really feels like you are watching an animated movie due to the depth of world building that has been put into this project. There are more than one properly breath-taking shots here. 

This isn’t just the best animated movie of the year, it’s one of the best outright. Into the Spider-Verse is charming, visually stunning, genuinely funny and emotionally gripping is not something I would expect from a movie starring John Mulaney as ‘Spider-Ham’, but they really manage it, in a stunning way. 

99%

The Grinch Movie Review

When I heard that Illumination, the company behind the Minions, were rebooting the Grinch I immediately rolled my eyes and thought ‘Here we go again.’ However, my eye roll was very premature. Because the new Grinch movie isn’t bad.

The voice cast were all great, with Pharrell as the narrator working really well, Kenan Thompson is perfect as the bubbly Bricklebaum and Benedict Cumberbatch puts in a bright, playful performance as the titular Grinch.  

Matching the aesthetics of the world of Dr.Seuss pretty well, the detail in the animation here is stunning at times, with grand winter scenes shining brightly, and it being especially impressive when you see all the details like the tiny bits of snow clinging to the Grinch’s fur. Max the dog is almost guaranteed to make you smile, and his personality really shines through with his amazing facial expressions.

This is a different way of telling the story of the Grinch, with a lot more backstory shown giving reason as to why he hates Christmas so much, and it is a lot more lighthearted and kid-friendly than other version, and those expecting another Jim Carey will be disappointed, but this is not entirely a bad thing as for the most part it is really enjoyable.

Perfect heartwarming family Christmas movie this year.

77%

Slaughterhouse Rulez Movie Review

In Slaughterhouse Rulez, the private boarding school attended by ‘rough Yorkshire lad’ Donald Wallace, has been taken over by frackers, whose digging inadvertently cause a lot of trouble. The Headmaster, played by Michael Sheen leads a crew of military-esque prefects that will go to extreme lengths to follow his lead.

It’s a fun movie for the most part if not being really predictable and unoriginal in parts. When introducing the different houses within the school, they did the stereotypical Mean Girls esque pan around the room to show them all, but never reaching that level of humour.

There are a few great, funny scenes in the film, with the ensemble cast all working well together especially in the tenser moments with all of the kids putting in believable performances with Asa Butterfield being patricularly great alongside Pegg, Frost and Sheen all being on their usual great form. At some points the humour just doesn’t work and there are a few long stretches where the movie can’t decide what tone it wants to have and it just comes across a bit messy.

Slaughterhouse Rulez is enjoyable despite its flaws and still manages to be charming and funny in spots despite never quite living up to its cast.

Michael Sheen’s dog is good though.

65%