We review Tomb Raider first in this podcast. Our Annihilation review starts at 18:43.
First up we review Roar Uthaug's adaptation of the reboot of the classic game. With Alicia Vikander taking on the iconic role, we look at how Tomb Raider updates this franchise, whether it breaks out of the tropes associated with adapting video games, and we wonder if Lara Croft has got any smarter. Secondly we review the "too smart for the cinema" Netflix exclusive Annihilation, directed by Alex Garland and based on the novel by James VanderMeer. Starring Natalie Portman as a wife whose long dead husband turns up alive, she has to delve in a mysterious alien "shimmer" to find out what happened to him. With beautiful and terrifying visuals, we look into the themes and layers of this dream-like thriller.
Directed by Nash Edgerton, Gringo sees David Oyelowo play a naive business man whose life falls apart on a work trip to Mexico, and who decides that the best way to start a new life is to fake is own kidnapping. Mix in that a drug cartel and a young couple who are drug mules, then you have a film that... well, we've all kind of seen before. Co-starring Charlize Theron, Joel Edgerton, and Sharlto Copley, Gringo is a watchable comedy that's light on the laughs, but how much can you truly enjoy a movie that preaches the upside of being an arsehole?
Based on the 1972 manga by Go Nagai, Netflix delivers us a truly mesmerising original anime series. Directed by Masaaki Yuasa, Devilman Crybaby focuses on the meek little Akira Fudo who is transformed into a devil after his long lost friend Ryo turns up. While he can control the demon Amon, as Akira is a kind hearted sole, he cannot control what the other demons do nor how the rest of the world reacts to the news. With some wonderful animation choices, Devilman Crybaby watches like a Nicolas Winding Refn film with a lot more emotion, and the finale is truly something special and satisfying.
Directed by Duncan Jones, Netflix exclusive Mute has garnered a lot of negative responses since its release on the weekend. Staring Alexander Skarsgård as Leo, an Amish mute in a futuristic Berlin, he has to traverse the underground world of AWOL US military surgeons to find out what happened to his missing girlfriend Naadirah (Seyneb Saleh). Co-starring Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux, Mute has some troubling aspects to it, including a paedophile side character, but is it as bad as everyone says? Listen on to find out.
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Special thanks to Leigh for composing the end music played in the middle of this podcast. Check out their posts for this blog here and their own blog Dancing with the Gatekeepers.
We review Black Panther first in this review, and our The Shape of Water review starts at 21:11.
What luck did we have with two of our most anticipated films of the year being released in the same week. First up we review Marvel's Black Panther, directed by Ryan Coogler, which sees T'Challa become king of the advanced but secretive nation of Wakanda, whose privacy is threatened by old and new enemies alike. Starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o and Danai Gurira. Secondly we review Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water, a love story story between a mute woman and an amphibious man whose romance is caught up in secretive and violent government plots. Stars Sally Hawkins, Doug Jones, Octavia Spencer and Michael Shannon.
Based on the book by Richard Morgan, Netflix's Altered Carbon sees cyber-punk mix with film noir in a transhumanist world. Advanced technology means that humans can now download their memories onto disks called "stacks" that implanted in your neck, meaning that your physical body, or your "sleeve", can be easily replaced or cloned. Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman) is released from prison after 250 years with a brand new sleeve under the condition that he finds out who tried to kill god-like super-rich Laurens Bancroft (James Purefoy). With its interesting ideas and high production value, Altered Carbon certainly looks the part, but how well does its convoluted story hold up over its ten episodes? Also starring Will Yun Lee, Martha Higareda and Chris Conner.
With its surprise release on Sunday night, The Cloverfield Paradox carries on with the franchises unique take on advertising, this time arriving with aplomb onto Netflix. Directed by Julius Onah, we are treated to another genre take on the mcguffin that is Cloverfield's own Lovecraftian monster, this time featuring a crew of astronauts who want to start up a particle accelerator in space to solve the worlds energy crisis, but end up ripping a hole in space-time. Radically different from the franchises previous films, how different is Paradox to other movies though? And was it a good move to release it straight to Netflix? Starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, Daniel Brühl and Chris O'Dowd.
Based on the graphic novel from 1989, and directed by Sam Liu, Batman: Gotham by Gaslight sees the Dark Knight fight off against the mysterious killer Jack the Ripper as part of DC's Elseworld series. With a bunch of familiar characters playing unfamiliar parts, Gotham by Gaslight mixes Victoriana references into a semi-steampunk world and puts Bruce Wayne's detective skills to the test, but how can he seriously expect to succeed against the notoriously anonymous Ripper? And how many heavy handed references can you force into 78 minutes. Starring Bruce Greenwood, Jennifer Carpenter and Anthony Head.
Disney and Pixar have come out with another stellar, and emotional, family film in Coco, directed by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina. Focusing on young Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), he has to travel through the land of the dead on Dia de Muertos to find his great-great-grandfather and gain his families blessing to take up music, which has been banned within his family for generations. With gorgeous visuals and wonderful songs, and with some added catharsis, Coco does all the things you expect from a Pixar film, but is that enough. Also starring Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt and Alanna Ubach.
Martin McDonagh returns with Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, a film that weaves themes of rape, racism and police brutality into a surprising funny flick, if darkly so. Starring Frances McDormand as a mother who loss her daughter under horrendous circumstances seven months previous, she decides the best way to get the police's and public's attention back on the case is by installing three billboards accusing the police of not caring about the case. This, of course, gets the community riled up. With a brilliant script and excellent characterisation, Three Billboards is a enjoyable movie about dark themes that doesn't attempt to emotionally manipulate.
We are easing ourselves in 2018 by chilling out and watching some Netflix (plus, we're both ill). The Vault, directed by Dan Bush, sees a city bank robbed by feuding sisters Francesca Eastwood and Taryn Manning. However, the bank has less then expected money. Cue James Franco, the banks assistant manager, who tells them the real money is in the vault in the basement, but the only problem is that the basement is haunted! A interesting premise, but how many horror cliche's should you include in your movie?
Apologies for the minor amount of coughing in this podcast. As I stated, we're both ill.
We've had our 10 Worst Films of 2017 podcast out, and now its time to looks at our favourites. This list is made up of films that we have reviewed on the podcast through 2017, and I'm happy to say that this list is made up of movies that I know we'll be raving about for years to come. Let us know what your favourite film of 2017 is in the comments below.
It's that time of year again where we want to take a reflective look back at the year past, and today we take a look back at the ten worst films of 2017. This list is made up of films that we've reviewed on the podcast through the year, so excludes obvious duds like The Emoji Movie, Transformers: The Last Night and King Arthur, as we just couldn't justify giving money to films we knew we were going to hate, so consider this an alternative list.
Twenty-two years after the original film, Jake Kasdan's sequel Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle has come out and is updated for the video game generation. With an onslaught of stars including Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan, we see four cliched teenagers transformed into digital avatars who have to save the world of Jumanji and themselves. With some lazy writing, inconsistencies and bad jokes, Welcome to the Jungle makes up for it with its charismatic cast, but how does it fare when compared to the Robin Williams classic?
The Star Wars franchise is back and Rian Johnson is at the helm. The Last Jedi sees Rey try to get long lost Jedi master Luke Skywalker to help the Rebellion, but she also has to contend with Kylo Ren invading her consciousness. Meanwhile, Poe is trying to save the Rebel's fleet from the First Order, and Finn tries to locate the First Order's tracking device and a master code breaker. But with 40 years of distance between the first film and this one, is the franchise starting to disappoint its fans? We run down the good and the bad of The Last Jedi and wonder if the vitriol is warranted. Starring Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega and Oscar Issac.
Check out guest blogger Steven's brutal review of The Last Jedi in their post here.
The best worst movie ever made? James Franco plays the lead and directs in The Disaster Artist, the story behind the notoriously bad Tommy Wiseau film The Room. Also starring Dave Franco, Alison Brie and Seth Rogan, The Disaster Artist is a loving portrait of a ridiculous and mysterious man trying to live out his dream of being an actor in Hollywood with his best friend Greg Sestero. We also have our Virgin Viewings of 2003's The Room, and wonder if it possibly the worst of the worst films we have ever reviewed on the podcast.
Due to the massive success of the first movie, the little bear from darkest Peru more then deserved a sequel. Directed by Paul King, Paddington 2 sees our young bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) be convicted of a crime he didn't commit, all because he wants to get an extra special gift for his Aunt Lucy's 100th birthday. Starring Hugh Grant as one of the most dastardly villains in cinema this year, Paddington 2 is a pure delight to watch, a visual wonderland and a masterclass in storytelling. Also starring Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins and Brendon Gleeson.
You can listen to our review of The Sinner, the show we watched instead of Paddington 2 on its first week of release, and of which we greatly lament, right here.
Based on the book by Hillary Jordan, Dee Rees Netflix drama about two families sharing the same farm received a standing ovation when it debuted at the Cannes Film Festival. Looking at themes of racism in the Jim Crow era and the difficulties of reintegrating after serving in World War II, Mudbound is a story told in parallels, between the two families and between the late 1940's and our own present time. At times distressing to watch, the film ultimately remains optimistic, putting the emphasis on the strength of the victims then the terror of the oppressors. Starring Mary J. Blige, Carey Mulligan, Jason Mitchell, Garrett Hedlund, Rob Morgan, Jason Clarke and Jonathan Banks.
"Did you ever fight a hippo?" SPOILERS AHEAD! DC have been struggling to satisfy an audience as they attempt to establish their own cinematic universe, and now, five movies in, they release the big guns with Justice League, directed by Zack Snyder. With Superman dead (yeah, ignore the poster), Batman has to put together a team of meta-humans, including The Flash, Cyborg, Wonder Woman and Aquaman, to fight off against the big bad Steppenwolf. While definitely a step in the right director, Justice League suffers in the same old ways that the other movies did, resulting in something that is messy, but at least knows when to laugh at itself. Starring Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Mamoa, Ray Fisher and Henry Cavill.
We all make mistakes. Instead of watching Paddington 2, we stayed in and watched another highly rated Netflix crime series. The Sinner, based on the book by Petra Hammesfahr, sees Jessica Biel played a mother and wife who inexplicably murders a man on a beach. We all know she did it, but why did she do it? Co-starring Bill Pullman as detective Harry Ambrose, we break down the plot of this drama and wonder, is it as good as everybody says it is? Should we have watched Paddington 2 instead?
The Duffer Brothers are back on Netflix with the second season of their breakout hit Stranger Things. We are still in the quiet town of Hawkins one year after the gang discovered the Upside Down. However, Will is still suffering episodes, and the shadow monster, the Mind Flayer, wants to possess Will as its spy. With some new characters along with the ride, we break down each episode and look at what worked and what didn't in the sequel to one of last years most enjoyable shows. Starring Winona Ryder, Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard and David Harbour.
Listen to our review of the first season of Stranger Things here.
What do you do when your most critically paned films need a sequel? Well, you combine them of course. While the individual Thor and Hulk movies were never the most popular of the bunch, Marvel decided to go all out crazy on their new film and exploit the ludicrous and wonderfully bizarre worlds of the comics. Directed by Taika Waititi, Thor: Ragnarok develops the psychedelia of Doctor Strange and the humour of Guardians of the Galaxy to come up with a whole new beast, and all for the better. With fantastic effects, surreal and improvised humour, plus a great cast, we look into the success of Marvel's latest offering. Starring Chris Hemsworth, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hiddleston, Tessa Thompson and Mark Ruffalo.
We round up our Halloween special podcasts, dedicated to the late great George A. Romero's zombie films, with 2005's Land of the Dead. Starring John Leguizamo, Asia Argento, Simon Baker and Dennis Hopper, we witness people try and claw themselves back from the apocalypse and recreate society. Unfortunately though, they've gone for a feudal system, and people are not happy when the wealth is hoarded with the mix. Also, zombies continue to gain back their senses, and Big Daddy (Eugene Clark) is maybe our most "human" like zombie yet. While not the cinematic gold that Night, Dawn and Day were, as the film forgoes character development for intense gore, there is still some worth to Land of the Dead, and continues to prove that the creator the zombie film as we know it still had plenty of surprises to show us.
Ever wondered how a psychopath can persuade themselves that the deviant behaviours they perform are justified? Then Netflix's latest series Mindhunter is for you. Produced and with selected episodes directed by David Fincher, we follow Holden (Jonathan Groff) and Bill (Holt McCallany), two FBI agents who set out to discover the inner workings of some of America's worst killers, and cin the term "serial killer" in the process. Along with Anna Torv, Hannah Gross and Cameron Britton, the first series of Mindhunter takes the audience into some uncomfortable places, but never looses its sights on the key character developments and the twist and turns of the crimes reported.
We carry on with our appreciation of the late George A. Romero's Living Dead series, and this week we look into 1985's Day of the Dead. With the dead well and truly taking over America, we witness a small group of survivors try and understand their new landscape in an military bunker in Florida. The scientists of this bunker discover that zombies can tentatively be trained to not attack on sight, especially with the case of the docile Bub. However, the soldiers protecting them are having a hard time appreciating this fact, and start becoming more tyrannical within their confines. We discuss in this podcast what we love in Day of the Dead, including Tom Savini's brilliant make up effects, the way Romero writes human's, and how it develops the lore from the first films.