Reviews

‘Ad Astra’ Review

Brad Pitt reminds us once again that he is indeed our greatest movie star. Ad Astra is a thing of beauty that literally shines under every colour of the rainbow.

Space, a vast emptiness that consumes you the further you explore it. The deeper you voyage into space, the darker it becomes. You are diving into darkness, and at some point, there’s no turning back. Space can very much be compared to loneliness and feeling vulnerable. When we are alone darkness can consume us, whether it’s because we are afraid to love or to be loved. For Brad Pitts Roy McBride his darkness stems from becoming his father and the fear and emptiness he feels inside. H. Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones) once heralded has the pioneer in deep space travel is now at the centre of a controversy that could threaten our entire existence. Here’s the kicker, Roy has thought his father has been dead for nearly two decades, so when he’s recruited to go on one of the most dangerous space expeditions ever attempted by man, Roy, who usually is calm as a cucumber, feels for the first time in his life, emotion.

Isolation, it’s at the forefront of this epic science fiction tale. When you spend the majority of your time, miles above the earth surface, you tend to become isolated, just not from others, but from your own self-being. Roy is a man of peace, he enjoys his solitude, he is known for having a historic heart-rate, which basically means that this man doesn’t crack. Enter the opening of the film, as we watch Roy on a space station, high above the earth, doing some low key maintenance, when suddenly all hell breaks loose, and he is free-falling towards the surface, spinning out of control, and still nothing, no beats higher than 88 per minute. One thing director James Gray explores so well, is the meaning of fear. Roy is petrified to open himself to anyone else than fall from his death aboard a space station. Even when staring death in the face, during a sequence that felt much like Mad Max on the Moon, which was one of the highlights of the movie. Who knew that in the near future we would have space pirates on the Moon, chasing down a landrover for spare parts.

Here begins our mesmerizing journey to the far reaches out outer space. It’s a long trip, Earth to the Moon, to Mars and finally to Neptune. I say this because, the thing that stuck out the most from my experience while watching Ad Astra, was the rich colors each unique destination had to offer. Like each stop along this hypnotic trip was a character of their own. The Earth, so full of life, light and rich and chock-full of energy. The Moon dark and gloomy, full of grey and never-ending darkness. Mars, the Red Sun, so much orange and red, a place of pent up anger, mystery, a new beginning. Finally the last stop, Neptune, so much blue, like a vast open ocean, that seems all incasing.

Living in one’s shadow can always be intimidating and sometimes overbearing. Especially when that shadow happens to belong to the greatest living astronaut the world as ever seen. Roy McBride certainly has big shoes to fill, until he realizes that maybe everything he knew about his father wasn’t as clear and cut. Much like his father Roy enjoys solitude, he doesn’t want to show any emotion, he believes that letting people in can only make his job murkier. Ad Astra doesn’t lack emotion, even if there are long stretches of silence or lack of dialogue. For a movie that spans just shy of 2 hours and 20 minutes, the script, on the other hand, is pretty short. One of the main theme’s of this movie is about isolation, and how it can affect those around you. Pitts character might not showcase every single little emotion that runs through his body, but in a scene, that deals with him and a microphone, that’s all the emotion you need to see. Or the subtle facial expression, or single tear shed, speaks a thousand words. Something that no amount of dialogue could produce and that is simply the beauty of this film.

A movie like Ad Astra doesn’t get made unless it has a rockstar like Pitt in the driver’s seat. I feel like this has been a giant year for the actor, and I feel uneasy calling it a “come back.” Because Brad Pitt hasn’t really ever gone anyway, he just has had his focus elsewhere. Being at the forefront of two ginormous movies this year has propelled him back into the limelight and reminded us all why he is our greatest living movie star. The world has been watching Pitt in movies for nearly four decades now, and he is doing things in this movie, that he’s never done before. There in itself is the reason why you go sit in a theatre and watch Ad Astra, he’s been in our lives long enough, that every time you get a chance to see him act, you go. When it’s in a space epic, by a great film-maker, even better.

I really enjoyed this film, because I love watching masters of their craft, perform at the highest level, like LeBron James in a Game 7, or Tiger on the 18th hole at The Masters. These are events that shouldn’t be missed because once they are gone, there’s no replacing such things.

Ad Astra = 90/100

Reviews

‘IT: Chapter 2’ Review

Get in losers, we’re going to kill a psychotic clown

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Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back.


Everyone knows that growing up sucks. You have bills to pay, a job to go to and a shit ton of responsibilities. If being stressed from all of that wasn’t enough, tack on having to deal with all of your worst fears, and reliving your childhood drama all over again, in the form of a creepy clown that just wants to eat you alive. Well, truer words could not be spoken for the Losers Club. IT: Chapter 2 has finally arrived and our fellow losers are all grown up. It’s been 27 years, and Pennywise is back and terrorizing the town of Derry. No one can stop him except our heroes and after moving away and forgetting all about their eventful and traumatizing childhood, it’s not until a phone call from Mike Halon do they realize the oath that they made, and it’s time to finish IT once and for all.

IT: Chapter 1 was a bonafide success, a box-office juggernaut and helped launch the careers of some very talented young child actors. One of my personal favorite movies of 2017, I couldn’t wait for the next chapter. Growing up the TV Mini-Series really shook me to my core, and I became fascinated with the character of Pennywise. He truly is one of horrors best villains and such a unique and creepy character. When they tapped Bill Skarsgard to portray him I was intrigued. After he blew everyone away with his performance I couldn’t wait to see what he had in store next. With a runtime of just shy of 3 hours, we get plenty of Pennywise terrorizing not only the losers but the people of Derry as well. The body count is higher, the bloodshed has increased and the amount of scares goes through the roof, all things one would expect with the sequel. The sequel is bigger, bloodier and gets at times very weird. Remember, the book is insane, and sometimes that can be hard to translate onto the big screen, but what they managed to achieve and accomplish, with adding in their own little wrinkles, I felted that it worked to perfection. Yes, this movie is long, but I found myself invested the entire time, and it’s mainly due to the perfect casting choices used by director Andy Muschietti. It’s like the man built a time machine and went into the future and pluck the best possible candidates for our adult losers. Not just how they look, but how the act and interact with one another. I was blown away with how well the adult losers came across on the screen, and it’s the driving force.

So the losers are back in town, and this time around their goal is to stop IT for good. This is where things get a little complicated and a tad messy. The book is a mixed bag and has a ton of insane and weird elements, one of which involves a giant cosmic turtle. Thankfully, because it just wouldn’t have translated well onto the big screen, they bench the turtle. In order to defeat IT, the losers must perform the “Ritual of Chud” something that is powerful enough to defeat Pennywise. If the audience can get around this part of the movie because it’s never mentioned in Chapter 1, I do believe everyone will love this movie just as much. For me, it’s the only potential stumbling block for the entire movie.

What worked so well the last time? The camaraderie and chemistry between our seven losers. They felt like real-life best friends, it work so well, and the bond they shared on the screen made it truly special. It’s easier for kids to do that rather than a bunch of adults, but the way the adult losers are handled was so well crafted that you just have to respect everyone involved. Not only do these people look like their younger counterparts, but how they managed to learn and reenact their mannerisms was astonishing. What I like about the film is that we don’t need to build the chemistry between them, these people have an unbreakable bond, and when they are reunited, they are all transported spiritually back 27 years. They are all acting and behaving like they did when they were kids, and I think that’s what so endearing about the film. The second they are all in the same room together during the iconic Chinese restaurant scene, everything just clicks and goes from there.

Most notably James Ransone who plays adult Eddie Kaspbrak, who is arguably the least known adult cast member, but might have a done the best overall job at capturing his younger self. Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Isaiah Mustafa, and Jay Ryan are all great. Again the casting is so impeccable, read any review and that’s one thing every single reviewer will agree on. But the king, the man who steals the show, I’m sorry Pennywise, but this movie clearly belongs to Bill Hader. The amount of acting this man is doing is breathtaking. All the different things he’s doing, this is a horror movie, but my god, he’s so damn good. Even just the amount of acting he’s doing with his facial expressions alone. People online are going to start the Oscar push, but honestly, I think this is just another notch on his impressive belt already. Bill Hader blew me the fuck away in this movie. Especially in the third and final act of this movie.

Mike Halon towards the end of the film says that “Nothing lasts forever,” well, for me and I think countless others, these two movies will.

IT: Chapter 2 = 91/100 – even better the second time around

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‘Just Mercy’ Trailer

This is either going to storm through the awards season, or fall flat on its face.

I can’t decide if this is going to be 2019’s Green Book or not. Big name actors, terrible accents, a period piece, it truly has all the makings of an Oscar contender. If this was made in the 90s, boy it would be considered one of the best movies of all time probably. But like Michael B Jordan, Jamie Foxx and Brie Larson, how can you not be at least a little bit intrigued. If the trailer didn’t turn you off at least.

I don’t think the trailer is very good, I’m so tired of these kinds of movies being over shadowed by a sappy song in their trailers. Show me some heart. If you have these three talented people in your movie, show them off a little bit. Not saying some classic dialogue from a movie like this. The accents are terrible, that’s one thing that could be unforgivable about Just Mercy, but it’s hard to tell what kind of movie this is going to be because of the messy trailer. My gut says this will be a contender for all sorts of awards come Oscar season. I also know that I will go see anything with Michael B Jordan. His streak of movies without taking his shirt off is officially over.

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New ‘Joker’ Trailer

I guess it’s time we start taking this movie very seriously. This is Taxi Driver meets well The Joker

Who knew the guy behind Road Trip and The Hangover trilogy would deliver perhaps one of the best movies of 2019. This looks like an early Martin Scorsese film, and it all just looks so glorious. When you think about a comic book movie, you think big and eventful. One of the main attractions of this film is how authentic and real everything feels. There are no green screens, no special effects, they hit the streets of New York and truly made something beautiful.

Joaquin Phoenix really is going for it all. Between him, Pitt and Leo we might have a serious 3 man race for best performance come Oscar season. Just three individuals at the top of their respected game, giving us some memorable performances. Phoenix transformed not just his mind for this role but his body. It’s eerie how skinny he looks in some of these shots and how healthy he looks in others.

Joker appears to perhaps be a revenge flick, with Joker going after a man he idolized in Murray Franklin (Robert DeNiro). This could have serious Dark Knight Returns vibes where the Joker goes on a talk show only to wreck havoc and cause utter chaos. Time well tell, but one thing is certain, we have a new Clown Prince of Crime on our hands, it he is to die for.

Joker hits theatres in October!

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New ‘Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker’ Trailer

You know what’s better than one lightsaber – two lightsabers.

So this movie is going to be off the chain. Say what you want about the last outing, which was awesome. The finale to one of the greatest stories ever told is about to go down. It’s been a hectic summer, full of forgettable summer blockbusters, but just when you think all hope is lost, Disney drops the final trailer for their ace up their sleeve.

The trailer doesn’t even show much, again it’s just a little voice over work, nothing really about the plot is mentioned and we are only getting small fragments and quick shots from throughout the movie. That’s all they need to do to market this bad boy. That ending alone is worth the price of admission. Now for the next 4 months the world can speculate whether or not Rey will turn to the dark side. Either way it doesn’t really matter because she looks so badass. Between that and the water battle between her and Kylo make this all worth while.

We really don’t need to see anything else until this drops. Carrie Fisher finishing enough work to be apart of this finale is touching and it’s heart warming that was the case. It just wouldn’t have had that emotional weight behind it if she wants apart of it.

The countdown is officially on until another Disney property destroys the box-office.

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‘The Irishman’ Trailer

This legendary trio is back together, but could it be to little to late, or can they all muster up some movie magic one last time?

Once at the top of their respect games, three Oscar winners, now starring in a movie together, all under the tutelage of the great Martin Scorsese. The Irishman a biographical crime drama that follows an alleged hitman Frank Sheeran (DeNiro) and the possible slaying of Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino). The trailer can’t help but make you feel nostalgic, about all the wonderful times you’ve had watching these actors perform their craft, and when they are at their best, it’s usually in a Scorsese film. Weird thing is, this is going straight to Netflix, no big theatrical release, just on September 27th, it will pop up worldwide on everyone’s Netflix. Strange that a movie with this much star power won’t be getting that sort of treatment, but then again, Netflix is turning into a beast of its own.

As for the trailer, it looks solid. Very Goodfellas kind of vibe going on throughout it, which is never a bad sign. I can’t recall the last time we watched Joe Pesci in anything. That’s one thing this movie has going for it, star power. The list is too long, but whether or not this will add up to be a recipe for success remains uncertain at this point in time. One thing that is clear, we have several of the very best along side one of the best directors, in a mob movie, something they all excel at. The Irishman could end up being this years Roma, a Netflix film that becomes a serious contender come Oscar season. Something tells me this could be juggernaut and will have everyone talking the following week, because if this is as good as it could be, everyone and I mean everyone will be watching The Irishman.

Reviews

‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’ Review

If you feel like hanging out with Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt for 3 hours, then this movie will be for you. This is a classic “hang” movie, with Brad Pitts greatest performance.

A faded television actor and his stunt double strive to achieve fame and success in the film industry during the final years of Hollywood’s Golden Age


1969 Hollywood, a time and place of wonder. The air was cleaner, the sex was dirtier and Charles Manson was on the loose. Just an all-around magical time for Hollywood. At least that’s how Quentin Tarantino feels with his 9th film and an absolute masterpiece, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

It’s now been almost 30 years with Quentin Tarantino making movies for this world and he’s become one of the most discussed and polarizing directors we have ever seen. Before Tarantino came along, there was a certain mold and certain way that you crafted a film. Well, he literally tossed the rule book out the window and decided he would make his own rules and do things his own way. The rules in film making are what you make it, and that describes Quentin to a tee. That’s one of the best aspects of Tarantino. The fact that this guy loves cinema just as much as we do, in fact, he loves it more. When you have a filmmaker that’s this passionate about making movies, it’s a mixture for a fantastic product, and that’s why I love every single one of his films. They are so personal and so detailed that you can’t help but respect this guy so much. He reinvented how characters act and speak in movies. It’s like we are watching just a group of our friends hang out, and talk about whatever.

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is no different. As we sit and watch Rick Dalton (Leo) a struggling partially over the hill TV actor trying to deal with the fact that he might be washed up. Along side him, his best friend and his stunt man Cliff Booth (Pitt). Now both of these characters are made up, and they are placed in this alternative reality of 1969 Hollywood, where they become intertwined with one of the most notorious and shocking events in American history, the Charles Manson murders. Cliff and Rick do everything together, and we are along for the ride. We even get to watch them watch a television program that Rick is apart of. In a very interesting scene, where for about 3 minutes you’re watching a fake television program and in the background hearing DiCaprio and Pitt colour commentate the whole thing. That’s why, whether or not you’re a fan of his work, this movie won’t be for everyone. It’s slow like I mentioned this is a hangout movie. It’s a day in the life kind of movie with a bunch of different perspectives. You’re watching a behind the scenes look at how television shows were made back in the hey-day. But this is what’s so fascinating about it. Leonardo DiCaprio, one of the greatest actors, is playing this vulnerable and at times kind of pathetic actor, and it’s so weird to see this side of him. But here’s the thing, Leo is so good at what’s he’s being asked to do, a guy who is just trying to stay relevant and a guy who used to be at the top of his game, feels threatened by younger stars and at times reminds the world that he is a brilliant actor. It was quite interesting to watch unfold. As for Brad Pitt, I personally believe this is his greatest role and performance. He’s the definition of cool, and just some of the things he does in this movie will be a talking point for a long time among moviegoers. Both Leo and Brad should be nominated for Oscars and I would love to see one of them bring home the gold.

Going in I thought this would heavily lean on the Mason murders and Sharon Tate, but that’s not what this movie is about, like at all. It’s a sub-plot that comes to a whirlwind of a conclusion in the last 20 minutes, but this is a movie about two friends who happen to fall in the middle of something. Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate was great. She isn’t given a lot to do or say, but it doesn’t mean she’s not a force when she’s on-screen. She’s so full of life and joy and brings such a ray of sunshine in every scene she’s in, that at times you forget about the horrific fate that she received. I can’t say anymore because knowing what I know now, and what I thought this movie was going to be about, were two totally different things, and I’m so glad this movie was marketed the way it was.

You really do feel that you’re being transported back to 1969 because every last detail in this thing is spot on. Another crowning achievement from Quentin. The cinematography, the colours, costumes, even the radio ads that you hear while our characters drive were apparently the exact radio ads being played that day in Los Angeles. Now if that isn’t dedication to your craft I don’t know what is. All of that, plus this insane cast of people, giving classic Tarantino performances, where you have this 8-year-old girl explaining in the movie to Leo, about her craft and why she can’t eat lunch because it messes with the way she acts, is so damn good. Julia Butters, an 8-year-old, blows Leo off the screen for 5 minutes and then you realize it’s because Tarantino is better than anyone at getting the most out of his cast. He writes dialogue almost better than anyone.

This is Quentin’s love letter to Hollywood, a place that he adores and admires, and it shows through his work. This is, without doubt, the most personal and compassionate thing he’s ever made. You never know what you’re getting when you walk into a Tarantino film, and you certainly don’t know how you’ll feel when you walk out. I was stunned and thrilled by what I watched, and this is certainly so far my favourite film of 2019.

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood = 94/100

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‘Zombieland 2: Double Tap’ Trailer

As a huge fan of the first, I’m actually so excited to see Woody kill so many zombies. We better see Bill Murray again.

Seriously. It’s been 10 years (I wrote that with the voice of the old woman on the Titanic voice) since we last saw everyones favourite zombie killing family. Seeing how this movie is coming out in October and they are just starting the marketing now has me a tad bit worried. With the success of the first and in the last ten years, it’s not like Emma Stone went on to win Oscars and Jesse Eisenberg became a massive household name. One would think they would seriously get ahead of this thing and market the shit out of this movie.

The comedic spin on the zombie apocalypse was a nice touch and the chemistry between the 4 main stars was palpable. Now we are tossing in Luke Wilson, Rosario Dawson, Dan Aykroyd, Zoey Deutch and Thomas Middleditch who are appearing as pseudo doppelgängers for the original 4 cast members. Will they be bad? Or will they add to this already fantastic family dynamic. I just know that the first left me wanting more and all we had to do was wait ten years.

The trailer is actually very well done, plays again to the humour aspect of the film, but showcases a ton of zombie killing. Can’t wait.

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‘A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood’ Trailer

Tom Hanks has had so many incredible performances in his life, but I think this is the role he was born to play.

After the documentary that broke everyone’s hearts; Won’t You Be My Neighbour? We getting another telling of one of the most beloved and famous children’s television host, Fred Rogers. So pull out your sneakers and cardigans, because I’m sure this will be another touching and emotional journey.

Who better to play one of the most kind and caring souls to ever grace this earth, than another kind and caring soul in Tom Hanks. Looking spot on to even the tiniest little mannerism, Hanks has gone bye-bye and totally immersed himself into the world that Mr. Rogers had built. Even if this doesn’t turn out to be a fantastic movie, just from watching this trailer, you can bet that Tom Hanks will be a shoe-in for an Oscar nomination. His last nomination came all the way back in 2001 with Castaway, and his last win was 24 years ago. That would be so achievement to win Oscars that far apart from one another.

Directed by Marielle Heller who is coming off Can You Ever Forgive Me? Where the star Melissa McCarthy was nominated for an Oscar. So you know that Marielle is capable of getting the most out of her stars.

Overall the trailer looks the part, from every little detail on the set of his show, and I’m sure they will capture the essence and the true character of Fred Rogers. This one could be special.

Hits theatres November 22nd.

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New ‘IT: Chapter 2’ Trailer

Bigger budget. Bigger stars. Bigger body count. Pennywise is back.

I can’t remember a franchise that has had this many incredible trailers for their movies. That’s 4 in a row dating back to IT: Chapter 1. This is one beautiful trailer, with some many visuals and imagery that will surely haunt your dreams.

It’s been 27 years and Pennywise is hungry. Bill Skarsgard is elevating his performance, we get a ton of new Pennywise footage in this trailer and he is on the hunt. What a re-imaging he has done with this iconic horror movie villain and turned it not only into something pretty iconic, but the level of acting he’s doing is worth noting.

I’m so happy they really put Isaiah Mustafa and his portrayal of adult Mike on display in this trailer. He’s such an important and vital role in the second half of this creepy story. Mike didn’t really get his due in Chapter 1 and it appears they are making up for that here. All the adult losers are involved in some sort of way, and the casting is just so perfect. Bill Hader looks like he’s going to be phenomenal as adult Richie. It’s so refreshing to see him in something like his after showcasing his terrific acting in his TV show Barry. But at the end of the day the trailer belongs to Pennywise and it looks like not only is the kill count going to sky-rocket but the amount of blood as well.

September 6th can’t get here fast enough!