Category Archives: Reviews

Fast Five Review: Baby Driver

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Baby Driver
Action | 2017 | Reviewed by Michelle

Baby is a semi-charmed young getaway driver who uses music to drown out the constant ringing in his ears, a condition he’s suffered nearly all his life. Just when things are starting to look up for Baby – he’s met the love of his life and he’s finally earned enough money to walk away from crime for good – he’s dragged back behind the wheel for one final, doomed heist. There’s no song that can help Baby out of this one…

1) Did you like the film?

I was expecting this to be a big, dumb action movie along the lines of the Fast and the Furious franchise. What I got was something completely different…and to my surprise, I really enjoyed it!

2) Why?

For starters, Baby Driver probably has more personality in its first ten minutes than all the Fast and the Furious movies combined. From the dialogue to the characters to the soundtrack, this movie has so much going for it. It’s loaded with originality, and it doesn’t get too wrapped up in its own conceit (looking directly at you, Guardians of the Galaxy franchise) to be enjoyable. Twee? Maybe a little. But that’s okay. Baby Driver is proof that movies can be fun without having to switch your brain off for a couple of hours.

babydriver3) You’ll enjoy this movie if…

If you’ve ever wished you could live in a video clip (I know I have!) you’ll love Baby Driver.

4) This film made me think about…

What would the soundtrack to my life sound like? Probably much dorkier…

5) Overall rating?

4.5-stars

Fast Five Review: Churchill

churchillblogbannerfinalChurchill
Biography, Drama | 2017 | Reviewed by Michelle

It’s June, 1944, and with only a couple of days to go until the invasion of Normandy – a military operation that, one way or another, promises to turn the war in Europe around – Winston Churchill tries desperately to cancel the mission, fearing it will be a disaster.

1) Did you like the film?

I didn’t hate it. I was a bit meh about this film, to be brutally honest…

2) Why?

I’m sure the acting is good. The attention to detail is good too – expect a lot of shiny black cars and wide shots to show off lavish interiors. But really, Churchill is all a little dull. The Winston Churchill of this film is a complicated figure, bogged down in his own guilt over his role in the Gallipoli campaign back in the First World War (every Australian knows how that one played out…). He spends most of the film as a blustering, dundering old windbag, frail with age and completely shocked that no one will take him seriously. He’s petty, arrogant…need I go on? Yeah, I get that the film is trying to set him up as a flawed figure, and that this is a story of redemption. And it’s not that I’m averse to flawed characters – in fact, quite the opposite. But there’s just very little about this story that feels new or interesting or necessary in any way.

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3) You’ll enjoy this movie if…

You’d probably get more out of this if you were into biopics or history.

4) This film made me think about…

Okay, it did make me more interested in the actual history of World War II. So that’s something.

5) Overall rating?

2.5-stars

Fast Five Review: My Cousin Rachel

mycousinrachelbannerfinalMy Cousin Rachel
Drama | 2017 | Reviewed by Michelle

Philip is an orphan, raised by his slightly older cousin, Ambrose, who he came to regard as a father. But when Ambrose travels alone to Italy and falls in love with a woman named Rachel, Philip can’t help but feel neglected. Soon, word arrives that Ambrose and Rachel are married – and then, Ambrose’s letters home begin to take a worrying tone. Ambrose is sick, and blames Rachel for his illness. When Ambrose dies in Italy, Philip is furious, and is determined to confront Rachel, who he is convinced is directly responsible for Ambrose’s death. However, upon meeting Rachel – young, beautiful, mysterious Rachel – Philip is suddenly lost for words…

1) Did you like the film?

I really enjoyed My Cousin Rachel, and if literary adaptations, fancy costumes and repressed sexual tension are your jam, then I think you’ll love it too.

mycousinrachel2) Why?

What, fancy costumes and repressed sexual tension aren’t enough to convince you? Okay, fine – from the very first scene, My Cousin Rachel will grab you and won’t let go until its thrilling conclusion. If you’re looking for something romantic – say, along the lines of Pride and Prejudice, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. This isn’t a love story. My Cousin Rachel is dark and twisted and dripping with drama.

3) You’ll enjoy this movie if…

I’ll say it again – My Cousin Rachel is a literary adaptation (based on the book by Daphne du Maurier, the author of Rebecca), it has fancy costumes galore, the repressed sexual tension will fog up your television screen…and did I forgot to mention Game of Thrones’ Ser Jorah Mormont is in it?

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(…All the other actors are A+ too.)

4) This film made me think about…

I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t read the book. I need to fix that…where’s the nearest library?

5) Overall rating?

4.5-stars

 

Fast Five Review: Wonder Woman

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Wonder Woman
Action | 2017
Reviewed by Michelle

Diana is the daughter of the Queen of the Amazons. She grows up on a peaceful island of female warriors; a paradise hidden away from the rest of the world. With the arrival of an American pilot – the first man she’s ever seen – with the news of a terrible war, Diana decides she must act, and leaves her home for the first time, determined to bring peace to the world. Along the way, she discovers the truth about her identity, teams up with a group of unlikely heroes – and falls in love for the first time.

1) Did you like the film?

Confession: I usually avoid comic book movies. But after watching Wonder Woman, I decided to check out a few online reviews, and the general consensus is that, as far as comic book films go, this is one of the best around. However, as a viewer with not much to compare this film with, that seems like a really low bar. I liked this film, but I’d have loved it if its storytelling choices were anywhere near as bold and brave as its main character.

2) Why?

The best thing about this movie is Gal Gadot as Diana. In fact, she’s so compelling that she makes pretty much all the other characters in the film seem incidental. Yes, even Chris Pine (who co-stars as the spy who crashes on Diana’s island and later accompanies her on her quest to end the war) looks like a goofy caricature next to her sheer energy and charm.

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Another thing I liked about Wonder Woman? There’s also a plot twist that is the film’s smartest, most interesting moment. But I’m not going to say a thing about that – you’ll need to watch the film yourself to find out more. Sorry, not sorry…

3) You’ll enjoy this movie if…

You’re a fan of fast-paced action. The action sequences in Wonder Woman are many and frequent – and with the odd exception, not overly violent, which makes a nice change (yes you, Logan). They’re also very video-gamey, frequently slowing down to fully capture Diana’s gravity-defying flips and leaps. Personally, it’s a technique that drove me around the twist after the film’s first ten minutes, but if that’s your thing, you’re going to be in heaven watching this film.

4) This film made me think about…

Wonder Woman is the first blockbuster superhero film starring a woman since 2005. It’s also the first female-directed live action film to have a budget in excess of $100 million. While this particular movie mightn’t have been to my taste, it smashed records around the world. So can we all agree to make more female-led, female-directed and generally female-forward films? And not just action movies. Comedies, thrillers, animated films…anything goes. More women in film can only be a good thing.

5) Overall rating?

3.5-stars

Fast Five Review: Adult Life Skills

adultlifeskillsbannerAdult Life Skills
Comedy | 2016
Reviewed by Michelle

Whether she’s ready or not, Anna is about to turn thirty. She lives in her mum’s garden shed, works at a depressing adventure camp for kids and spends her free time making videos of her thumbs with faces drawn on them, providing the voices as they bicker about life, the universe and everything in a rocket ship hurtling through space. As her life spirals out of control, Anna’s mum issues her an ultimatum: she needs to get her act together and move out before her thirtieth birthday. Or else.

1) Did you like this film?

I most certainly did! I had no idea what to expect from Adult Life Skills and was pleasantly surprised. This British indie film completely won me over.

2) Why?

This is a delightfully warped film about grief that’s genuinely funny, and sad, and weird, and thought-provoking – and all at the same time. Jodie Whittaker is captivating in the lead role (it took me ages to work out why her name seemed vaguely familiar…) and the film’s soundtrack is just perfect. Sure, there are a few narrative loose threads, but as a whole, Adult Life Skills is a little film with a giant-sized heart.

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3) You’ll enjoy this movie if…

You don’t mind comedy that makes you laugh one moment and cry the next.

4) This film made me think about…

Last week, I reviewed (and loved!) a feminist film written and directed by a guy, and I had a bit of a rant about how we need more female film critics. But I think I got it wrong. It’s not that we need more female critics – there are heaps of them already out there, working away. What we do need is to place a greater value on the work of female critics, female producers, female writers…and female creators in general. Like Rachel Tunnard, the writer and director behind Adult Life Skills. I’m already looking forward to whatever she does next.

5) Overall rating?

Two thumbs up from me, as well as four stars.

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4-stars