Captain Marvel Review

Ok Daniel, you can do this, it’s only 9 months until the proper films with more on their mind than selling merchandise and reminding us that dull, bloated, overfunded franchises exist….

Oh hello Dunkers! Didn’t realise I’d started typing my review for the latest offering from the MCU Captain Marvel!

Which I understand has gotten certain dark, grubby corners of the internet very upset and who can blame them? I mean Marvel has created arguably the greatest opportunity for storytelling in cinematic history at the end of Infinity Bore and they do nothing with it? Not to speak I’ll of the cancelled but how cool would it have been to have been to, midway through any of the non Iron Fist Netflix series for the snap to happen? Daredevil doing his thing and then boom! Everyone fades away and the rest of the series is him trying to work out what happened?

Or would that be too similar to terrible Nicolas Cage rapture movies? Cause don’t nobody want that.

Oh, that’s not what the dirty, grubby corners are upset about? It’s because she’s a girl?


Back to Captain Marvel and we find that it’s set in the 1990s which makes a nice change from the 80s but doesn’t really seem to do anything with it aside from the whole Guardians of the galaxy thing with the soundtrack. (No smells like Teen Spirit though? Bad Marvel! If ever a song needed to be in a non Peter pan film it’s that one.)

Yeah, allegedly they were trying to pay homage to 90s movies and first of all, why? 90s action movies were so upside down that Michael Bay films are good and Nicholas Cage was taken seriously as an actor. Second, the 90s were the last gasp for practial special effects and I didn’t see hardly any. I think there was supposed to be a suspenseful chase the train car chase scene but it was terrible and the rest of the time it just looked like any other Marvel movie. Too much CGI, too much qupping, Ronan is still the worst villain I’ve seen since… I don’t know when and it has the usual problems that all prequels have. There’s no suspense in any way shape or form about who will survive and who won’t and I know damn well that the Earth will survive just fine thank you.

Speaking of the omnipresent and overwhelming CGI, deaged Coulson and fury look awesome. Captain Marvel veers between looking like a character from Injustice: Gods Among Us to pretty real and then almost back to the PS2 level of graphics.

I do want to say that I like the fact that Marvel starts off with all her powers but with that good old standby of amnesia. Which is a pretty cool twist on the standard formula. I like Brie Larson as well and the human supporting cast are solid. I couldn’t tell you the names of any of the new aliens to save my life but that’s just par for the course in a film that moves very quickly but still needed another trip to the editing suite in my book. 20 minutes should do.

Now onto the big issue… Marvel is just too powerful. I have no issues with a hero being in control of a situation but there’s being in control of a situation and just being so overpowered that I never believed the hero was in danger of so much as a split end. It’s like the difference between Taken and Taken 3. In one, our hero is capable of failure and therefore we are invested in their quest. In the other there’s no danger and therefore no suspense. After a while it just gets boring.

Also, I have an issue with the cat. It was my wife’s favourite thing in the movie but could Marvel not have kept the damn thing under wraps? It would have been a cool surprise in the cinema.

But, around the time that Gwen Stefanis just a girl came on, I knew this film wasn’t aimed at me. Based on the look on my wife’s face it wasn’t for her either. So in the pub afterwards we conducted a thought experiment. Would we rather our hypothetical 9 year old grew up idolising Captain Marvel or Wonder Woman? ( Assuming I can distract the wife for long enough you can add Ripley and Sarah Conner to that list as well but shhh.) And we both decided on Wonder Woman. Neithers a bad choice but we just found that Wonder Woman was more believable, inspirational, relatable and also had the better movie.

Captain Marvel is your bog standard Marvel film. Released to keep the money coming in and act as a placeholder until the deus ex machina… I mean title character can defeat Thanos is a few weeks. It has too much CGI, quipping an invulnerable hero and a completely unthreatening villain. It has a few interesting twists but I doubt it will be the game changer people clearly want it to be.

My Score If Nothing Else.


The Aftermath Review

Keira Knightly has gone on record stating that says she doesn’t like modern-day movies for the way they portray women and for regularly featuring themes of sexual abuse.

The actress has revealed she much prefers period pieces when selecting her roles because the women are treated much better.

“I always find something distasteful in the way women are portrayed, whereas I’ve always found very inspiring characters offered to me in historical pieces,” she continued, before adding that she’d only recently started to see some progress in the portrayal of present-day women in upcoming film projects.

“There’s been some improvement. I’m suddenly being sent scripts with present-day women who aren’t raped in the first five pages and aren’t simply there to be the loving girlfriend or wife.”

I would also add that when Keira does venture into the present day, we tend to either end up with Domino which is still one of the worst films I’ve  ever seen or Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit which… well… basically boils down to a ‘charisma contest’ between Chris Pine and Kevin Costner. The audience lost.

Back to The Aftermath and we find… well… stop me if you’ve heard this before. A woman trapped in a marriage so dead that if it appeared on  screen you would instinctively aim for the brain, falls for the lodger who is the most perfect man alive, single handily raising a daughter in a pretty tough environment and then she has to chose between THE MOST PERFECT MAN ALIVE and her dutiful husband who’s never home because of his job and the distance between them of their sadly deceased child which they haven’t even begun to process.

It’s mostly shot in this big, beautiful house (due to having that can barely stretch to a ham sandwich) and it looks gorgeous- in fact, it looks a little too gorgeous, cut out any thirty seconds of Knightley and BOOM, there’s your perfume ad.

The musics amazing as well, pretty much played on a single piano it’s affecting and heartbreaking and I seriously hope that it wins an award or a nomination for something except it won’t because this film is that most tragic of films, an awards bait film which missed awards season.

A moment of silence.

Moving on.

The leads are all fantastic, the film looks amazing, great soundtrack… I mean love triangle films aren’t really my thing but I really enjoyed that aspect of the film. But there was something that I didn’t fall in love with… Something to do with the husbands job… I mean it’s only the B plot, which the film gives so little attention to it may as well be the E plot… What was it now…

Oh yeah, he’s the colonel of the British Forces Germany charged with rebuilding Hamburg because this film is set in Germany in 1946. Which means that whilst Knightley is deciding whether she wants to ‘make sequels’ with a guy who was in Terminator Genysis  or the guy who was in that Tarzan movie maybe 4 people saw he’s off rebuilding a country which was literally ground to dust and has a population surviving off of 900 calories a day if their lucky, not only does he have to deal with that task, playing nicely with the Americans and Russians (and their quickly cooling relationships) he’s also dealing with the 88’s – a group of fanatical Nazi’s who don’t quite seem to have twigged that the war is over and that they lost.

Not only that, but when he get’s home he has to deal with the gentleman who’s house he ‘borrowed.’ Was he just an architect as he claims? Or was he something more? Does he hold a grudge against the killing of his wife in the utterly horrific bombing that the city sustained? What about the daughter? Is he a spy for one of the other factions? So many questions that the movie simply isn’t interested in.

Seriously, this film, set in a period of history that I’ve literally seen so much as referenced before has no interest at all in exploiting or even delving into the questions that it’s setting raises or the opportunities it creates. Strip out the whole ‘rebuilding of a nation subplot’ and make the guy a banker who’s wife is lusting after the gardener in London in the `920’s and nothing changes. The daughter being seduced by an 88 and potentially being recruited into spying on arguably the most important man in 500 miles? Barely a whisper of a mention in the main plot which is so glossy and beautifully shot that it seems to be in a different film completely to the gritty shades of grey drama that one of it’s main characters is going through. Forget a cohesive narrative, this film plays like the wife and I are fighting over the remote when she wants to watch some terrible romantic drama and I want to watch an awesome gritty spy drama.

The Aftermath is a surprisingly racy, beautifully shot and scored bog standard love triangle film awkwardly sharing screen space with a gritty look at a relatively neglected area of history. The main actors are good, the support cast is missing Rachel McAdams but works well enough. It sounds and looks amazing but it just doesn’t work as a whole film. The love triangle works in it’s own fairly bland way but it doesn’t mash at all with it’s far more interesting sub-plot about rebuilding Germany after World War 2.

Talk about a missed opportunity.

My Score- If Nothing Else



Serenity (2019) Review

So there I am trying to pick a film for date night in the Miles household and what should come up but Serenity on the Sky store? Perfect thought I, not only is it my wife’s favorite film, but it’s a damn good Sci-Fi film, a glimpse into an alternate universe where Firefly was allowed to have multiple seasons and since this is the 5… 10…. 14!?!? (Roger Moores Eyebrow I’m getting old) year anniversary I bet it’ll be all 4k Blu-Ray graphics.

So, with homemade popcorn in hand (no microwaved popcorn in my house), we settled in to watch….


Okay… not a celebration of one of the greatest one season wonders in history, instead we appear to be watching a film noir.

Ok, I like film Noir, she doesn’t seem to mind thank to the fact that Matthew McConaughey appears to be suffering from some sort of allergy to his clothing and therefore has more bum shots than I’ve had hot dinners.

He’s a drifter with a past, eking out a living as the captain of a fishing boat who’s fixated upon catching a Tuna that he’s called Justice for… reasons.

Then one day his ex wife turns up, offering ten million dollars to ensure that her wife beating husband (who still hasn’t atoned for Terminator Genisis) winds up sleeping with the fishes in exchange for ten million dollars.

Seems fairly standard and the cast appear to be going for it so this ooks like a nice little timewaster of a film playing a game of ‘guess the twist.’ Which your not going to do. Seriously, don’t even try.

On paper it’s a good twist. The subtle clues are there indicating that THE TWIST is possible within the world of the film but My God, this is a twist that… well, its defiantly going to get some conversations going, mostly along the lines of “What were you people smoking and can I have some?”

I mean it’s the kind of twist that should be kept ambiguous, is it a real twist or is the sun gotten to Baker Dill’s head?  But it’s not ambiguous in the slightest! It’s simply blurted out, threw both of us for a loop and then carries on, taking what had been a fairly grounded, traditional Film Noir into… well, words not make good description.

But aside from THE TWIST, there must be something else to talk about? Well, some of my Colonial colleagues (it was released over there a month before it reached us for no reason that I can fathom #globalreleasedatesnow) have stated that this could become a so bad it’s good cult classic.

It Wont.

“Dunkers,” he said, “I served with cult films I know cult films. Cult films are a friend of mine. Serenity, you are no cult film.”

Strip out THE TWIST and it’s still a very conventional film. All the cast seem to think that their in a proper film and as a result are playing it straight, no-ones got their tongue in their cheek, there’s none of the sense of fun or watching of a car crash that’s needed for the so bad it’s good label. And I know that you can have cult so bad their good films that tricked the actors into thinking that their in proper films but I didn’t get that sort of vibe.

If this film is remembered for anything it’s going to be on one of those infernal ‘top ten weirdest/worst twists ever lists.’ As a film Noir it could have been interesting, as a film about a man deciding whether or not to defend the wife who left him and their child that could also have worked.

I mean there’s a lot here that works- that cast is amazing- Did I mention that Djimon Hounsou is in this as well? Most directors would kill for this level of star power, on paper it all makes sense, it looks great, but it’s all a bit traditionally shot and paced with one of the most random twists ever and I know I’ve banged on about it without actually saying anything but it just sucks all the air out of the film, leaving no space or inclination to talk or think about anything else. Which is a shame as there’s a really good moral film in here somewhere.

But, what do you expect when the directors last trip to the directors chair film was all the way back in 2013! And what flop did he direct? LOCKE!?!!? I love Locke! It’s a one scene (not take) film whereupon Tom Hardy (showing his complete face for once) drives down the M1 making and taking phone calls. (It’s better than it sounds I promise you. You WILL care more than you ever knew you were capable of about concrete).

So watch this until THE TWIST, then turn it off and go watch Locke instead.

My Score- Skip It 


The Grinch Review

It was with some trepidation

that I approached the latest offering from Illumination

(Those who unleashed those infernal minions upon every poor, blighted nation)

mediocrity is their stock in trade

so, through that is what I expected to wade.

“But”, said a voice inside my head

Your optimism should not need to be be dead.

After all, this film should be a sinch

pretty much everyone knows the story of The Grinch

It’s been made as a film twice before

and only one of those was a colossal bore

starring an unleashed Jim Carrey

and Who’s that veered between creepy and scary.

It was dull and grimy, padded to no end

and watching it again almost sent me around the bend.

But this is new and shiny and nice.

It’s also in 3d which for someone, somewhere is nice.

It stars Sherlock Holmes, Angela Lansbury and more.

wanting trained voice actors? What a bore!

And stepping into the role of narrator,

played by Boris karloff and Hannibal Lector, who could be greater

Than Pharrell Williams (who made that song happy)

Although as narator he’s really quite sappy.

Giving Danny Elfman the score is a decision I adore

but getting someone called Tyler, the Creator to make a Grinchy rap song?

Whoever decided that will have a career that’s not long.

And who the hell decided to put in the Christmas rap from Die Hard?

I have questions which I don’t know I want answered.

But leaving weird, random music choices aside,

there’s some stuff here of which illumination could almost feel pride.

At 86 minutes, the run-time is nearly perfect.

So that box is most defiantly checked.

It’s so bright and breezy,

that I don’t feel uneasy

about saying that a few times I chuckled

but at times my cheer buckled

because at points my own heart grew at least a half size!

The key stories still there

so please don’t despair

when the film takes a quick detour

Because what little this film adds means more

than the Carrey version did before.

And with a run-time far less than that 106 minute bore.

{Doing this review in rhyme

seemed like such a good idea at the time

still, it won’t be the first that a pub was the start point for a crime)

So i’m told anyway.

But if dragged to this film don’t pray.

There are far worse ways to spend part of the day.

It’s animation is fluid, no moment was bad,

The heart wringing moments made me feel sad.

I laughed at it’s jokes

and it never provokes

any rude or crude moments as it’s rating is U!

The perfect rating for a film by Dr Seuss it’s true.

So as I come to my end,

this film will not drive you round the bend.

On the 1966 original it’s not a patch.

but as a cash-grab it’s not that much of a snatch.

Illumination you’ve done it again!

90 minutes of beige to keep the kids quiet

so if you want to prevent a riot

There’s worse you could see

but take it from me

it has no plans to stay long in your head

And you’ll forget it’s small charms before you lay down in bed.

My Score – If Nothing Else

Cold Pursuit Review

Cold Pursuit is a slightly above average Liam Neeson thriller based on the Norwegian In Order of Disappearance (Norwegian: Kraftidioten) a 2014 black comedy action film directed by Hans Petter Moland and starring Stellan Skarsgård.

It’s pretty much what you would expect from a Liam Neeson thriller except the director has clearly watched a Tarntino film or two and has decided to try and incorporate that by having everyone who dies name and nickname pop up on screen when they die and erm…..

Hmmm… An Elephant? I don’t see any Elephants in the middle of this review.

Nope nope nope.

I see some ok action, some pretty flat characterization, a couple of wasted characters in the police officers who throw up a potential twist or two that the film merrily ignores on it’s way to a utterly conventional finale.

It’s a solid film. It’s no Taken (what is?) but it’s a hell of a lot better than Battleship. If it gets put on at DVD and beer nights then I won’t run screaming from the room but I may well pop open another beer because… well….

Liam, how could you?

Yeah, 189 words into this review and I have to talk about what anyone is talking about in relation to this film.- Liam Neesons ‘confession’ that his character’s “primal” anger to an interviewer by recounting an experience he had many years ago. A woman close to him said she had been raped by a stranger, and Neeson asked what color skin the attacker had; after learning the attacker was black, Neeson said that for about a week, he “went up and down areas with a cosh … hoping some ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go” so that Neeson “could kill him”. In the interview, Neeson also said he was “ashamed” to recount the experience and that it was “horrible” that he did what he did. “It’s awful … but I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, ‘What the fuck are you doing?'”

In an appearance on Good Morning America, Neeson elaborated on his experience while denying being a racist, saying the incident occurred nearly 40 years ago, that he asked for physical attributes of the rapist other than race, that he would have done the same if the rapist was “a Scot or a Brit or a Lithuanian”, that he had purposely gone into “black areas of the city”, and that he “did seek help” from a priest after coming to his senses. Neeson said that the lesson of his experience was “to open up, to talk about these things”, as there was still underlying “racism and bigotry” in both the United States and Northern Ireland. The controversy Neeson’s comments caused led to the cancellation of the red carpet event for the premiere of Cold Pursuit.

Now, as loathe as I am to comment on events that happened well over a decade before I was born, especially given that Neeson appears to have committed no crime, admitted that he was wrong, sought help for his actions and well, growing up in Norther Ireland during ‘The Troubles’ (Which I won’t go into here as I am in no way shape or for qualified to do so.) With violence lurking around every corner, then I can sort of understand where he’s coming from.

Now, my respect for Liam Neeson as an actor is boundless – Schindlers List is one of the most affecting films I’ve ever seen, Taken is one of my favorite action films and even the Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe is a very solid kids film. But, how do I react to this admission?

I think that we should examine it, place it in context, and… then have the debate about rage, anger, vengeance and the way that we deal with that Neeson was trying to provoke. (Here’s the link to the interview to make up your own mind : )

As far as I can tell, Neeson isn’t a racist, he simply reacted badly to a situation almost 40 years ago, he sought help for it and his frankly baffling decision to tell this story has not only killed this slightly above average film but has probably ended his career as well (Although I thought he was going to stop doing these types of films after The Commuter.)

Side note: Can someone check on his PR person? I think they need a beer or ten.

Summing up, Cold Pursuit is a pretty good action film with some chuckle worthy moments, interesting if slightly flat characters, a missed twist or two that were just crying out to be made and some okay action. Also, thanks to an utterly baffling answer by it’s star it’s going to sink like a lead lined balloon.

My Score- If Nothing Else 




The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part Review

So I’ve just spent the last three hours trying to think of a clever, funny, witty way of saying “uhhhhhhhhh.”

Or, if my boss is reading, I’ve just spent the last three hours typing up my notes about the meeting we just had in time for the next meeting about the meeting to be held after that in which someone might possibly consider consider the possibility of maybe one day imagining a possibly moderately effective solution to suggest to out client which they will immediately ignore in favor of THEIR utterly useless solution which we rejected two meetings ago.

The sooner ‘society’ descends into Mad Max the happier i’m going to be.

And whilst I’ve been siting their taking notes that no-one will ever read, I’ve also been struggling to find a way to pad “The Lego Movie 2 is very funny, very well done film with a perfectly adequate cast but I just simply didn’t take to it very much.”

160 words…. all done… pub?

Maybe I should clarify my statement.

Did you ever watch Wall-E and think that it should have stopped at the half way point so we didn’t have to deal with  the slight downgrade in quality that was all that stuff on the spaceship? It’s the same deal here.

Set a few years after the events of the first film, we start off in a post apocalyptic world before becoming an outer-space musical with a ticking clock to the end of the universe, an absolutely, defiantly not evil queen (she sings about how she’s not evil and no-one ever lies in songs), there’s a marriage that probably should be stopped, Batman is still the best character and the whole things gone a bit meta.

Now, that sounds really cool, right?

Except it isn’t.

My wife slept through thirty minutes of it and she hasn’t done that since Fan4stic! It’s not that the film does anything wrong per se, it’s just that well… I hate the twist from the first film. There’s a reason that the Lego Batman movie is the best one of the franchise (and arguable the best Batman movie of all time- You. Heard. Me.) Not only is it fast moving and funny, but it ignored the whole ‘this is just taking place in some guys basement’ nonsense that limits the whole franchise.

It’s a twist that limits what can be done and also, it makes some of the things that happen later on in the film… well… they seem to break the rules of this universe unless this universe shares space with the Toy Story lot. Without the twist and ‘real word’ setting then I think this film could have done a lot more with the toy box of wonders that it has.

Aside from that, the film made me laugh a lot, it was very inventive, the plot had a few pretty cool twists and I was never bored but I wasn’t terribly engaged either. It reminded me of a story from back in the ’70’s  regarding Easy Rider. Basically the suits had no idea why it became this big cultural touchstone that made them loads of money, awards and critical acclaim so for the next movie they just gave him loads of money and let him get on with it because clearly this guy was didn’t need an adult watching over him and in exchange they got…. The Last Movie, widely regarded as one of the worst films of all time and a shoot so mad that the FBI had to go and keep an eye on the cast and crew. And this feels a lot like that except the Lego Movie 2 is still pretty good. And the FBI wasn’t called in to watch anyone  involved with this film.

As far as I know.

The fact o the matter is that when the Lego Movie was announced, people generally thought it was the worst thing to happen to pop culture since they cancelled Firefly but it turned out to be so good that people were legitimately annoyed when it wasn’t nominated for the Best Animated Oscar! And it made tons of money as well so, yeah, why wouldn’t the suits just leave the money in a bag and let the children play? Except they needed an adult in the background. There is such a thing as too may meta jokes you know.

At the end of the day, I get why people love this film, I WANT to love this film but I just can’t quite. I like the songs, I like the fast pace, 80% of the jokes, hell, even the celebrity voice cast were… tolerable, the plot was really good… but maybe if the team involved was even slightly restrained it would have been a better experience for me.

At the end of the day, (me tying myself in knots aside) this is a very good film, everyone else in my audience seemed to be having fun (although some of the smaller kids were getting a bit fidgety towards the end), this is the best kids film out now or in the not too distant future, hell, I’m looking forward to what they do with this universe (assuming they drop the humans completely). But, for me, it just didn’t quite click.

And I’ll be damned if I know why.

My Score- If Nothing Else 

Happy Death Day 2 You Review

Dunkers I’m used to having my heart broken on Valentines day but by Blumhouse? My favorite live-action studio in the whole, wide world? The studio that brought us the Venom film we all deserved in Upgrade? Who’s business model of making films on tiny million dollar budgets means that a wonderful, amazing break from CGI super-blockbusters is never too far away. Hell, their even allegedly bringing the DARK UNIVERSE back to life with an allegedly low budget, small focus, no stars 18 rated film in the pipeline. Aka EXACTLY WHAT THEY SHOULD HAVE DONE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

But back to today and I find myself being put through Happy Death Day 2U Death Harder which is a sequel to 2017’s Happy Death Day which is basically Groundhog day meeting a slasher film, a pretty solid film which needs about a sequel about as much as well…. Groundhog day.

Because where is there to go with a sequel? Either you retread old ground by either forcing the character to go through another looping day or you switch to another character and have them relive the same day over and over again.

Happily though this film decides to go for option three and completely flips genres on us. So instead of having to sit though a pointless sequel about another killer after our heroine, we get a pointless sequel that presents and then ignores a fascinating idea about how this time loop are destroying the universe and our cast should do something about it by killing themselves forever, instead opting to punt our heroine into a parallel universe where she has to relive the first film whilst debating whether she should return home or stay where fate has dumped her…

Except the killers different and all the people that we came to know over the first film have different relationships and personalities because different universe. Except we aren’t focusing on finding our new killer, we’re instead focusing on…erm….

Actually, what the hell are we focusing on?

I mean there is the thread about Tree (our alleged heroine)trying to get home by utilizing some wibbly, wobbly timey wimey device straight out of a middling episode of Doctor Who but where the first was a very tight, very simple film, this film is baggy and seems very plot light. I confess I did enjoy some some the death scenes but that’s very thin gruel when I can go to any Final Destination or Saw movie or even Death Day 1 and watch people die in interesting ways.

The dialogue isn’t as good, the characters aren’t as interesting, the film (even though it”s a mere 4 minutes longer) doesn’t really seem to have any idea what to do with itself. I get wanting to go back to the well but sometimes you should just leave be.

At the end of the day, Happy Death Day 2: Death Harder  is trying to do something more than simply retreading the first one but when you open with the idea of the universe decaying because of the events of the prior and current film and then do nothing beyond another time loop film without little hints that the universe is decaying and that time is therefore running out to fix this just seems maddening. Imagine the possibilities!

And yes, the thread that Trees body is retaining the damage it’s accumulating thanks to the repeated deaths and therefore she’s getting weaker every loop is continued but wasted. Put her in a wheelchair, a cast, have her wake up missing a leg, a hand, an eye – SOMETHING to show that she’s decaying but, instead it’s just one random trip to the hospital and then off we go. And yes, there is still the mystery of who the killer is (and they do do something slightly interesting with it) but it’s just off to the sideline and is solved pretty much by accident and very little fanfare.

If this was a CW show (which it seems to aspire to want to be,) this would be one of the episodes they throw together when the budgets running low, but this isn’t a TV episode, it’s a feature film made by one of the most innovate studios out there. A sequel with no reason to exist as it has very little to say. It’s not completely hopeless, but it’s the weakest film that I’ve seen Blumhouse put out and i’m not looking forward to the already in production part 3 in the slightest.

My Score- Skip It