Reviews

My Most Anticipated Movies of 2020

As we enter into a new decade of cinema, the landscape of it is vastly different from when we entered into it. 2019 was a great reminder of how speical movies can be and lets just hope 2020 follows suit.


Seeing how last year I did so many movies, and some of them weren’t even released, I’m scaling it back this year and not even going in any real order. 2020 is going to be an odd year, with no real giant “event” movies happening, like Endgame or Star Wars, but yet we have a Christopher Nolan film, Edgar Wright and Denis Villeneuve to keep us afloat. Here are the movies, that I know of coming out in 2020 that I’m most looking forward to seeing!

Underwater: Director; William Eubank. Release Date; 1/10/20 

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One, this lowkey could be a new Cloverfield movie. It’s about monsters and it’s been under hush-hush the moment the first trailer arrived. Alien but underwater instead of space? Sign me up! Kristen Stewart replacing Sigourney Weaver as the new female action star badass? Sign me up again! This has all the signs to be a major let down, January release dates are never really a great sign for a movie, and the fact that it’s not really being talked about is another troubling sign. But if we get a cool new monster movie that explores new territory and feels original even in a tiny way, this could be a hit. It just feels like one of those movies you have to see in because you know at some point a curveball will be thrown our way and you’ll want to be apart of that discussion.

Birds of Prey: Director; Cathy Yan. Release Date; 2/7/20

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Margot Robbie legit put the world on notice when she arrived in The Wolf of Wall Street. Not long after that, she turned every nerd’s head when she suited up as everyone’s favorite sideshow clown sidekick with Harley Quinn. Now she’s ditching Mr. J and even Jared Leto himself and getting her own solo flick with Birds of Prey. No Batman, no Joker, no one to bring her down. But she’s not alone, she’s bringing some serious girl power with her, and DC is about to unload a ton of terrific female characters onto the world. Also starring Ewen McGregor as Black Mask, which has a chance to be really special, considering one, how talented he is and how unique and awesome the villain he is portraying is. With a rating of R, this movie is certainly going to pack a punch and will no doubt be a box-office success. DC is about to have a wonderful start to the 2020 campaign. Look out for Mary-Elizabeth Winstead, who will be the standout of the movie, calling it now.

Sonic The Hedgehog: Director; Jeff Fowler. Release Date; 2/14/20

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I know what you’re thinking. Nate, this is a video game adaptation, there’s almost a zero percent chance this is going to be good. Considering how things started off with this movie. They release the trailer, the entire world freaks out about the design of Sonic, so the studio goes back and changes the entire thing. Sometimes internet cry babies can be useful. If you are going to make a Sonic movie, rule number one, make him look like Sonic, please. So now we are back in business and this movie just looks like a lot of fun. There’s no better pairing than Jim Carrey and him portraying Dr. Robotnik and even Ben Schwartz voicing the little blue speedster seems like a home run. I grew up playing these games for countless hours, just for the love of everything that is holy, please make this guy go super-sonic in the movie, that’s all I ask. Actually, have him fight a giant robot, but that’s it I promise.

The Way Back: Director; Gavin O’Connor. Release Date; 3/6/20

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I already know, this movie is going to break me. Basketball, booze, and Ben, now that’s a triple B I can get behind and support. An alcoholic whos finds new life when he starts coaching the basketball team at his old high school. The catch, he used to be a star there. His life has become mirky ever since, with his battle with booze and personal issues. Gavin O’Connor loves to tell emotional redemption stories and I’m sure this won’t be any different. It also touches home for Affleck who has battled these problems in his own journey in life. Affleck is going to have a monster 2020.

A Quiet Place 2: Director; John Krasinski. Release Date; 3/20/20

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Gotta get this out of the way now. I have ZERO ideas on how you keep a baby quiet in a world where, if you make a sound, you die. They better not skip over this giant detail in the movie, because other than that, I’m pretty excited for this world to be explored more and it to be opened up into a vast universe. When A Quiet Place dropped two years ago, it really blew audiences away. Original, great cast, well-made, and now a sequel only 2 years later. Sometimes rushing into something is a bad idea, but hopefully, this can stand out like its predecessor and knock us off our asses yet again. This time Cillian Murphy joins the fight and we get to learn more about what caused this disaster and more about our alien friends.

Mulan: Director; Niki Caro. Release Date; 3/27/20

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Mulan is one of the most important Disney properties ever created is now getting the live-action treatment. Here’s the thing, we have gotten a ton of these in recent years, but this one feels different, it looks different. They took this property and the altered it, they cut out some of the unrealistic parts, sorry to the Mushu fans, and there’s no singing. Disney is kind of going serious with Mulan and it seems to have paid off, because all of the trailers look great, and it seems to be pretty epic. This should be Disney’s biggest moneymaker of the year, and it could be the movie that makes the most money in 2020. Legit can’t wait for this.

No Time To Time: Director; Cary Fukunaga. Release Date; 4/8/20

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It’s time for the swan song for this beloved James Bond. Daniel Craig is suiting up one last time and it looks like a doozy. He’s been apart of some of the most memorable bond movies and moments and let us hope this is the proper send-off he deserves. This cast is stacked, and most notably entering the franchise is Lashana Lynch who is playing a ’00 agent herself and could be legitimately taking over the bond mantle once Craig hangs it up. Ana de Armas is a new bond girl and she looks fabulous doing so and fresh off his Oscar, Rami Malek is playing the film’s villain. Oh, and toss is Christoph Waltz and Jeffrey Wright just for fun. With Fukunaga behind the camera, a man known for his horror roots, and creepy imagery, you know this will be a different and eerie bond film. Something that is always welcomed, because seeing the same bond movies over and over again can become a bore. I know myself, that I will miss Craig, he has made for one hell of a 007.

Fast & Furious 9: Director; Justin Lin. Release Date 5/22/20

You think the team is heading to space? The team is clearly heading to space right? The only logical thing to do is push this franchise so far into the wacky. After Hobbs and Shaw this past summer, where it is now clear that these people are straight-up superheroes, why not strap them into a rocket ship. One of the biggest franchises this world has to offer right now, you never know who’s going to pop up and who’s going steal the show. From where this all started, to where it is now, honestly, no other franchise has grown quite like Fast & Furious. Love it or not, you have to give it some credit. This was about street racing, and now they might be racing on the moon, that’s remarkable. John Cena is coming into the mix, I put a photo of him above, you just can’t see it.

Wonder Woman 1984: Director; Patty Jenkins. Release Date 6/5/2020

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This is a female-led year for DC Comics. Wonder Woman is getting the sequel she rightfully deserves and it promises to be a banger. Ever since Gal Gadot showed up in BvS the world has fallen in love with her portrayal of Princess Diana. The Amazonian God who just wants to fit in. This is shaping up to be bigger, brighter and way more badass. Now, there are a few things that are going to certainly make or break this film. How they decide to bring back Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) and it all has to make sense as to why he is alive and well in this sequel. Pedro Pascal as Maxwell Lord looks fantastic and he’s going to be playing a much larger role than the trailer suggests. The biggie though is Kristin Wig and her role as Cheetah. The arch-nemesis to Wonder Woman, it’s a massive feat on its own and we haven’t even gotten a photo of her yet. If this works out, I truly believe this could be DC’s best movie because she’s such a unique and interesting villain. She’s getting all sorts of new suits and everything just seems more cheery and colorful from the previous installment. It’s a homerun already regardless, let’s see if it can reach grand slam territory.

Top Gun: Maverick: Director; Joseph Kosinski. Release Date; 6/26/20

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Biggest chill moment of cinema in 2020? When ‘Danger Zone’ starts playing in the new Top Gun movie. Perhaps one of the most unnecessary sequels to ever happen? With that being said, it doesn’t mean this movie can’t seriously rock and deliver another classic. Tom Cruise is back and this time the student has become the teacher. Teaching at Top Gun Academy, he will come across “Rooster” the son of his trusty sidekick Goose. I’m sure that is going to open up a serious can of worms. This cast is one dude short of the handsome Olympics with a ton of talent. Looking forward to seeing Jon Hamm and Tom Cruise on screen together. Don’t forget the iconic reunion of Maverick and Iceman!

Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Director; Jason Reitman. Release Date; 7/10/20

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“A gunner seat?” Sweeter words have never been spoken in the Ghostbusters universe. Since I’m not doing this list in any particular order, I’m not really ranking these movies in any sort of way. But If I had to only see 1 movie in the year 2020, Ghostbusters: Afterlife could be it. Building upon already rich soil, this trailer really blew me away. If you’re going back into the well, but the original guy isn’t available, there’s nobody more suited for the job than his own son. Jason Reitman hops into the director’s chair. This movie might not feel like the original, there’s no way it ever could, but it seems to be building on something that a lot of people hold dear to their hearts. It helps that they are bringing back all the big guns. Annie Potts, Sigourney Weaver, Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, and Ernie Hudson. That moment when everyone is back on screen will be emotional, to say the least. The leader of the bunch Harold Ramis will be smiling from above. We have no idea how they will be back, perhaps Bill will get his wish and he’s coming back as a ghost. But I hope they are strapping on the proton packs and taking down some ghosts. Paul Rudd is also welcome to bust some ghosts. We are finally getting the third installment we have been craving for decades, and let’s hope it doesn’t disappoint. If some how Stay Puft shows up, I will actually be going into shock in theatres, I’m hoping to go into shock!

TENET: Director; Christopher Nolan. Release Date; 7/17/20

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July might be my favorite movie month of 2020. Ghostbusters and TENET back to back weeks. My two most anticipated films of the entire year and I get to see them both within a week of one another. Life is good folks, life is good! Are we officially calling Nolan the Clock King? The man loves time more than the Batman villain himself. It’s his trope, and time will tell if it has become a crutch. TENET is no different, with things happening within the trailer that kind of blow you away, and you’re not even sure as to why. Time is moving in one direction while the characters within the film are moving in another. Fascinating stuff, but what do you expect from one of the best working directors today. Nolan loves to push boundaries, test the audience and really try to show us something that has even been seen before. I haven’t even gotten to the best part, the two leads. John David Washington, coming off his monstrous performance in Blackkklansman and Robert Pattison, you know the guy who is putting on the cape and cowl in 2021. These two are destined to be an epic pairing, and for some reason, I think Pattison is going to end up being the villain in the movie. It would really be something to see him go from baddie to the ultimate good guy the following year. Shrouded in mystery, I truly hope whatever is going on isn’t revealed until the movie itself.

Last Night In Soho. Director; Edgar Wright. Release Date; 9/25/20

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We are getting late into the year here people! September release dates, you know what that usually means? No trailers, hardly any set photos, essentially nothing. All I know is that Edgar Wright is dropping a movie in 2020, that’s always something special. Coming off the incredible Baby Driver, a unique and original film. This time around, he’s directing a psychological horror film, that has some great young talent. There is ZERO information floating out there about this thing, but it doesn’t matter. When Edgar Wright makes a movie, that means I’m there opening night. He’s one of the few directors not to have a letdown film and keeps reinventing himself. With his visual flair and his unique sense of style, the fact he’s deciding to shift his focus onto horror has my ears perked.

Venom 2. Director; Andy Serkis. Release Date 10/2/20

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Ain’t no party, like a Spider-Man party. Remember when the world thought Venom was going to be a total misfire, an utter box-office bomb, and not only did it go on to almost gross a billion dollars, but it also was a ton of fun and spawned a sequel only 2 years later. They left us with a serious cliff hanger, introducing us to Cletus Kasady, also known as Carnage, played by Woody Harrelson. The thing about Venom, it knew exactly what it wanted to be. Cheesy in certain moments, but also exploring the character in a way that Spider-Man 3 didn’t do. Tom Hardy was perfect for Eddie Brock/Venom and he totally ran with the wackiness of the film. The design of Venom was pretty much flawless, and now they are bringing in, the king of motion capture, Mr. Andy Serkis himself. Venom 2 has so much potential, with a great cast and a director that knows what he is doing. Carnage and Venom squaring off only seems like the inevitable conclusion. All that’s missing is Spidey and we know that Tom Holland is back in the MCU safe and sound. But don’t be surprised if somehow he pops up in this thing. Or maybe SONY will have their very own web-slinger. Super excited to see how these two are going to look this time around, you know with Serkis behind the camera it will be special.

Deep Water: Director Adrian Lynch. Release Date; 11/13/20

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So these two are falling out of love and people around them start to die? Hot couple alert. A new psychological thriller from the mind of Adrian Lynch brings these two stars together. Ana de Armas is having herself a serious run right now in Hollywood. That’s the real reason I’m so hyped for this. Yes, it helps starring next to my dude, someone who is going to have a massive year in 2020.

Godzilla vs. Kong: Director; Adam Wingard. Release Date; 11/20/20

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Titans. Gods. Giant freckin monsters. Who doesn’t love a good monster movie? Well, when done properly. We got reintroduced to King Kong, with Skull Island and Godzilla a few years prior. Guess what my most anticipated movie of 2019 was? Godzilla: King of Monsters. Guess what the biggest disappointment of 2019 was? Godzilla: King of Monsters. It was a bore, it was actually just awful. The trailers alone had me gushing. I couldn’t believe we were getting something of this magnitude. Turns out, the trailers oversold this movie, because the real thing was honestly so mishandled. So many beautiful creatures and monsters, but again, they let the human characters take center stage. This will probably be no different, but with another great cast and this feels like a BvS type showdown, I’m sure certain moments will blow us away. You know, that they will become friends to take down a bigger foe. After the reception and box-office failure of the latest Godzilla, WB regrouped and decided to tweak this thing and make it a little more fan-friendly. Still waiting on that first trailer, I’m thinking they might pop up during a certain football game in the next few weeks. Or at least if I was working for WB, that’s when I would show this off to the world.

Dune: Director; Dennis Villeneuve; Release Date; 12/18/20

peter-konig.jpg Dennis, had himself a decade didn’t he? Now entering this new decade he is promising us another masterfully crafted piece of cinema. Dune, although a remake, will be something standing on its own. Blade Runner 2049 was honestly one of the most beautiful looking films I can ever remember seeing. This shall be no different. With a stacked cast, the list longer than a CVS receipt. Here’s the thing, I’ve never seen the original and know very little about the subject matter at hand. I like it that way. I’d even dodge the trailers if I could, but I’m blogger, it’s kind of difficult. Let’s not make the same mistake with BR 2049 and have this be a poor box-office performance.

2020 is going to be such an interesting year.

Reviews

‘1917’ Review

Strap in for an adrenaline rush from start to finish. 1917 takes you on a war journey in a way never seen before in cinema. It’s an epic tale of bravery, determination, and friendship, that pushes the limits for two World War 1 soldiers.

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Two young British soldiers during the First World War are given an impossible mission: deliver a message deep in enemy territory that will stop 1,600 men, and one of the soldier’s brothers, from walking straight into a deadly trap.


How far would you go to save the lives of thousands of your fellow comrades? What if one of those men happened to be your older brother? Would you travel through essentially the depths of hell, during World War 1 to do so? For Corporal Blake (Dean-Thomas Chapman) and his best friend Corporal Schofield (George MacKay) that’s exactly what they plan to do. After getting word that 1600 men are about to walk into a trap set by the Germans, they are sent on a mission to warn these soldiers before it is too late. Chaos is probably the best word to describe war, and in 1917, that’s exactly what you get. Director Sam Mendes, fresh off Skyfall, is attempting something never done before, a one-take war film. That’s the draw, and for a movie that’s so full of chaos and intense set-pieces, it honestly is one of the most remarkable accomplishments I’ve ever witnessed in a movie.

In a time where everything seems to be shot on a green-screen, or nothing ever really seems “real” anymore in cinema, well 1917 will simply blow you away. Shot by the legendary Roger Deakins, one of the greatest cinematographers this world as ever seen, and his entire repertoire is on display here. From the very opening shot of the film, you just know that this is a different breed of movie-making. Seeing this tale play out in almost real-time, as we watch our two soldiers cut across No Man’s Land, escape an aircraft that is crashlanding and fight their way through enemy territory, all without a single cut, no edits in time, nothing.

As our two men journey out into the abyss, it is quite clear that they know there might be no coming back, but in order to save the lives of so many men, they know it’s a worthy sacrifice. Blake, the boy-scout of the two, naive at times, all while being able to crack a joke, even moments after a harrowing near-death escape. Alongside him, the veteran, the beaten-down Schofield, who would rather be out on the battlefield then back home, where things no longer make sense for him anymore. They play off each other so well, they have terrific chemistry and it’s an unlikely bond that drives the movie forward from the very beginning. This is their movie, they are the focal point, it’s their adventure we see unfold, while certain characters pop up briefly, some nice cameos from Benedict Cumberbach, Richard Madden and Colin Firth, they are all on screen a combined 5 minutes. They are just there to elevate important scenes, that need those certain faces to help you realize what’s at stake.

The whole movie builds to its the inevitable outcome, will they arrive in time to prevent a massacre? The final battle sequence is probably one of the most beautiful things shot on film this century. The use of bodies, literally the number of extras, the color scheme and all the madness occurring is breathtaking to watch. It’s like ballet, it’s so eloquent like there’s so much going on, but it’s shot so well, and so perfectly, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. You’re looking around the screen trying to find some flaw, but none are there.

You feel every bullet, every footstep, every mistake these men are making, because you are right beside them, every step of the way. How Mendes and Deakins managed to pull this off, I will never know. It makes you believe in cinema again, that truly great pieces of art can be made still. It’s just something you need to go experience because there’s a lot to say, but I wouldn’t want to spoil any of the jaw-dropping moments. I will say, they probably have the best use of flare guns, in a movie that I have ever seen. How they capture the lightning with everything going on around it. The worst part about it, the projector crapped out with 30 minutes left and it just threw me for a loop, this is a rewatch on the big screen no doubt. One of the best pictures of the year. Don’t be shocked if this wins a ton of Oscars.

1917 = 88/10

Reviews

‘Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker”

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The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more in the final chapter of the Skywalker saga.


Doesn’t it feel like just yesterday that the first teaser trailer for The Force Awakens came out? A lot can change in just over 5 years, and that couldn’t be more true for the Star Wars universe. The new trilogy promised new characters and to finish what George Lucas started all those years ago, the proper send-off for the Skywalker family. The new trilogy has been all about family, finding out where you came from and who you truly are. This wasn’t just a Skywalker story, it was just a small piece in something much greater. Ever since this new trilogy was announced, it has divided fans like no other fandom, and to no surprise here, this conclusion will be something discussed for many years to come. Rise of Skywalker ultimately fails to deliver a proper send-off and is without a doubt the biggest disappointment for a Star Wars movie ever.

This is it, don’t get scared now. The final curtain call for the Skywalker family. Everything has been building for this moment. So many questions, so few answers us fans have gotten. There’s always hope in the Star Wars universe, no matter the stakes, no matter how tall of a task, hope is what propels these characters forward, no matter how difficult the circumstances may be. After the events of The Last Jedi and the death of Luke, the Resistance is looking towards a new savior, a new hero, Rey. Is she able to muster up the strength necessary to lead them to victory or will her enemy/friend Kylo Ren stand in her way?

This is an early review, so spoiler-free. Seeing how this is the grand conclusion to one of the most beloved stories in the history of cinema, it kind of felt rushed? Lacklustre, almost sloppy at times. When they decided to bring back Star Wars, it’s shocking that they didn’t have a better overall concrete story put in place. There is plenty of action, space battles, a Mad Max Fury Road inspired desert case. But at the end of the day, it just wasn’t enough to save the messy story, and it just felt like one long quest to find the missing piece of the puzzle. The best part about Star Wars is the lightsaber, one of the coolest weapons ever created. Simply put, there’s just not enough in this final instalment. It what separates Star Wars from every other franchise and not having one last epic dual was disappointing.

Everyone is back for one last journey and the team unlike in The Last Jedi, is together for the majority of the film. Rey and Finn and Poe all play off each other so well, and it just felt right for Finn and Rey to be together because they really are the heart and soul of the new trilogy. They started this thing, it’s only fitting they try to end it together. There are a ton of surprises awaiting any fan, and seeing old but familiar faces is always a shot of nostalgia morphine.

At the end of the day, this felt more like The Force Awakens than The Last Jedi, obviously with JJ Abrams being back behind the camera that makes sense. Disney should have never had a different director come into the scene. Not because The Last Jedi isn’t a fantastic movie, but because of how different these two men and their styles clash at times. That is the biggest flaw in this whole thing. At times this just feels like a Force Awakens sequel rather than the conclusion to everything that came before it. One thing is certain, this didn’t feel like the proper ending for something that had been cooking for 40 years.

 

Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker = 45/100

Reviews

‘Knives Out’ Review

The latest “whodunit” from Rian Johnson brings an all star cast together in one of the most entertaining movies of the year.

A detective investigates the death of a patriarch of an eccentric, combative family


Nothing brings family together quite like a good old fashioned murder. That’s exactly what happens in Rian Johnson’s latest film, that stars so many famous people, it’s like a buffet of Hollywood’s elite. You’ll have a ton of fun with Knives Out, it keeps you guessing until the very end, and isn’t just a run of the mill murder mystery. With top-notch performances and fantastic cast, this is the movie to see right now in theatres. Legit the perfect date night movie.

Everything is going as usual at the Thrombey residence, it’s Harlan Thrombey’s (Christopher Plummer) 85th birthday and the entire family has gathered to celebrate. He’s an extremely wealthy man, a celebrated author and has collected a vast wealth over his life span. Here’s the thing, he’s growing weary and tired of his blood-sucking family who essentially have been leaching off him for their entire lives. His children Linda (Jamie Lee Curtis) Walt (Michael Shannon) and Joni, who is his daughter-in-law but treats her as his own (Toni Collette) are all after one thing, money. Even their own children have turned into money craving lunatics. There’s one person who Harlan wants to spend time with, his only true friend left on planet Earth, his nurse Marta (Ana de Armas). So when dear old dad dies, it’s a legit free for all on who is going to get what. That’s also not a spoiler, it’s in the trailer. Ana de Armas is so lovable and sweet throughout the movie. She might not be a giant household name, but she’ll be climbing those ranks after this.

So obviously with a murder it brings police. Not only that it brings world class detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) who has been tracked down and hired to help solve this case. Here’s the kicker, he is usure of who as contacted him and hired him, but he’s here none the less. Daniel Craig is so good here, he’s got this deep southern accent that gets you every time. Actually referred to as “CSI KFC” at one point. There’s so much talent on screen at all times, Don Johnson, LaKeith Stanfield, and then the standout of the film, Captain American himself, Mr. Chris Evans. Who plays Harlan’s grandson Ransom, who is known as the black sheep of the family. Chris Evans is so awesome in this, funny, charming, bit of a prick. It’s always nice to see actors step away from the capes and turn in a memorable performance. It’s refreshing to see Evans in a role like this, complete opposite of what we are used to as an audience, and he really comes in during the second half of the film, but he fills up the box score pretty quick with limited minutes.

Movies like Knives Out are complicated to discuss because well you don’t want to ruin or spoil a single thing. This movie is just so well made, from the production design, the whole thing is basically set in the Thrombey mansion and it’s spectacular. Everyone is having so much fun “hamming” it up with their performances. We often don’t get movies like this, and it’s one of the best “whodunit” movies in recent memory. Rian Johnson just continues to impress the hell out of me. 3 movies in a row, 3 vastly different genres and they’ve all been great. That’s a hard feat to pull off.

Try to go into Knives Out knowing as little as humanly possible. Watch maybe a trailer but not even. I guess if you’re reading this review prior to seeing the movie, you know just enough. It’s just a crap load of fun at the movies, you’ll be entertained the entire time, and it keeps you guessing the entire time, I thought I knew what was up within 10 minutes, I was so wrong. Just go see this movie so we can get more like it will ya.

Knives Out = 88/100

Reviews

‘Waves’ Review

A pulse pounding, emotional roller coaster that will leave you breathless.

Traces the journey of a suburban family – led by a well intentioned but domineering father – as they navigate love, forgiveness and coming together.


They don’t really make many films like this anymore. Waves is a literal gut-punch of raw and intense emotion, that tells the story of what happens when things suddenly fall apart in the lives of a perfect family. Everything can change in the blink of an eye, a millisecond, your entire life can shift from one extreme to the other. There are no guarantees in life and certainly no free passes. At times Waves can become a difficult watch, not due to the movie being bad but because of the context being presented. Certain scenes and certain moments will leave you floored, in fact the entire audience during my screening let out a collective gasp at the exact moment during one of the most emotionally driven scenes I’ve seen all year.

Trey Edward Shults writer and director has crafted something so beautiful, so powerful so well-made it’s remarkable he was just 30 years old when he filmed it. The opening scene is so beautiful and so happy, you know from the very opening moments that this experience will be something you remember. Waves is essentially two different movies in one. A Moonlight blueprint as you will, where it tells two different stories, each complimenting each other, while neither could exist without the other. The first half of the film follows Tyler (Kelvin Harrison Jr) in his quest to please his father Ronald (Sterling K Brown). His father is trying to push his son not because he wants to but because he has too. You see Ronald believes they have to work 1000 times harder than anyone else to get anywhere in life. Being now successful himself he wants to install that knowledge and work ethic into his son. Even if that means Tyler does almost anything to make sure he doesn’t disappoint his dad. Their relationship is a complicated one, because it appears they spend a lot of time together, yet they are never really truly bonding as a father and son should. Waves is definitely one of those films where the less you know going in the better the experience is going to be. Even the trailer does a fantastic job at providing a background but doesn’t spoil anything, the movie I thought I was going to see and the movie I ended up watching were completely different things, and I’m glad.

When tragedy strikes it’s a ripple effect for those closest to you. That’s where the second part of the movie comes in. It deals with Tyler’s sister Emily (Taylor Russell) who finds herself lost and without anyone to connect to. Waves does a fantastic job at showcasing how a tragic event can follow you not just in a personal manner, but in an online way as well. How you can’t really escape something from your past. Soon Emily meets Luke (Lucas Hedges) and they quickly bond and it’s the driving force for the second half of this film. It’s such a shift in everything we are watching in the first hour and in most cases when films do this, it just doesn’t work. For me, this works so incredibly well and really puts a nice bow on the entire thing. Hedges and Russell just have terrific chemistry, seeing Hedges act as a goofy high school kid was charming and he sweeps Emily off her feet just when she thinks all hope is lost. When a family is shattered to pieces it takes time to put it back together. It’s piece by piece but sure enough everything will fall back into place.

Waves is tricky to discuss because you don’t want to spoil anything and going in blind will lead to the most satisfying experience. Sterling K Brown is a tour de force yet again, every time he is on screen it’s a treat. I honestly can’t say enough good things about this movie and I certainly can’t wait to talk about it with anyone who sees it. There’s a 20 minute stretch that is just heart breaking material and I haven’t stopped thinking about since I walked out of the theatre. This is right now the leader in the clubhouse for my favourite movie of the year.

Waves = 96/100

Reviews

‘Jojo Rabbit’ Review

Who knew the movie with the most heart this year would deal with children wanting to be Natzi.

A young boy in Hitler’s army finds out his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their home.


Somewhere out there Hitler is rolling in his grave, due to laughing so hard. The reason? Taika Waititi’s latest comedy satire about young boys waning to join the ranks of Hitler’s army all while discovering there is way more to life than simply becoming at Natzi. Coming off the massive success of Thor: Ragnorok, Taika is trading in his cape for a swastika. A film about love, friendship, forming new and unique bonds and most importantly, never judging a book by its cover.

Jojo is a ten year old boy who is growing up in Germany. Unlike most little boys, who enjoy climbing trees, being with friends and all around just being a kid, Jojo takes life pretty serious. He has mission, become Hitler’s right hand man, his best friend, he wants to do something to gain the respect from their “great leader.” When he attends a Natzi Boy Scouts kind of camp and injures himself, he finds himself lonely and disfigured. Ashamed of his new looks, he confides in the comfort of his own home, where his mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) a young Jewish runaway. Jojo quickly becomes very conflicted with his feelings, because everything he has ever learned about Jewish people has not been pleasant, yet here sits this girl he befriends almost immediately. He learns that his mother is one of the few true good people in his life and has a hard time understanding why she doesn’t support their country in the war. They become closer than ever, once Jojo finally understands his mother’s intentions and realizes how special she is.

Jojo takes up a job helping his former instructor Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell) do things all around their little town. They also form a bond, as Jojo who’s father is away, sees him as a father figure and goes to him for advice. Sam Rockwell actually doesn’t play a crazy racist in a movie for once! More of a low-key flamboyant army Captain, he also much like Jojo’s mother has a kind heart. He just doesn’t show it. He wants what’s best for Jojo and tries to guide him towards being just a regular ten-year-old kid. They end up sharing a few heartfelt moments together, one in particular at the end of the film where you truly see the good in the Captain, and was always looking out for Jojo. For a movie I found to be so funny, the most I’ve laughed at a movie in 2019, it certainly has some touching moments, and has one of the biggest 180 emotional turns I can remember in a movie. Things go from so happy and delightful to gut-wrenching in about 5 seconds, it was almost hard to watch.

Obviously most of the laughs are coming from the man himself, the director and the stand out performance of the film, Taika. He’s playing Hitler, but just serves has Jojo’s imaginary friend, so the things that happen between them, well, you can imagine. Every time he was on screen, you’re laughing, even if he’s not talking, one scene in general when he’s in a swimming pool. Just the facial expressions alone are making the audience giggle. The back and forth that occurs between Jojo and his mind Hitler comes to a pretty epic conclusion. At times, this can deal with some serious issues, but it’s a satire, and you also have moments where ten year olds are carrying rocket launchers around, so big, it takes two of them to move it. Another standout is Jojo’s best friend, well second best friend next to Hitler obviously is Yorki (Archie Yates) who almost steals every scene he is in. Just a loveable character. It’s when they’re together you realize just how silly this whole movie can be and even though they are suppose to be Natzi, they are just goody ten year old kids, who will believe anything they hear.

I’m not going to lie, I didn’t have high hopes for this, the trailers were just okay, and I wasn’t super interested in seeing it, but boy was I wrong. Jojo Rabbit blew me away, and without doubt enters my top 5 films of the year so far. The humour, the heart and the laughs is enough for anyone. If you like Taika’s brand of comedy and want to see Hitler act like an idiot then this movie will be for you. Top notch performances all-around, a great story and an even better message, this film can pack a punch emotionally at times, and have you howling in the very next scene. Jojo Rabbit is a must see.

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Jojo Rabbit = 84/100

Reviews

‘The Lighthouse’ Review

Strap in for an unlikely pairing of William DaFoe and Robert Pattinson as lighthouse keepers who drive each other insane, all while drinking and farting up a storm. It’s a remarkable film.

The hypotonic and hallucinatory tale of two lighthouse keepers on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1980s.


Boy, these two guys must have just stunk. Levels of smell I can’t even fathom. One of the first takeaways from Robert Eggers newest movie, The Lighthouse, which finds two men stranded at a lighthouse, where everything isn’t as it seems. There is so much to unpack from The Lighthouse as it deals with many themes, and takes a lot of its mythos from Greek Mythology. Curiosity, obsession and insanity, all 3 of these things drive these men. The Lighthouse is the central figure of this story. Thomas Wake (DaFoe) is the keeper while Ephraim Winslow (Pattinson) is the new comer who mostly acts as a house wife. He does everything except see whatever is inside the lantern room. He is forbidden from going inside, and that is what ultimately drives him to madness.

It acts as a forbidden object, where Icarus once flew to closely to the sun or how Adam and Eve ate the fruit, there is a mythological factor to whatever is inside, and no one truly knows the power behind it. As these men bond over alcohol and argue over everything else, including farts, the chemistry between was palpable.

One thing I should mention, it’s a pretty big detail, this film is in black and white, and it elevates it, in ways colours simply could not do. It makes for a more surreal experience and makes things seem more eerie and more bizarre. These two men, are isolated, trapped on this rock for weeks. Their only outlet is one another, and the only time they are truly bonding is when they are both getting hammered drunk. It’s what brings them together and what tares them apart. Both Pattinson and DaFoe give carrer defining performances, I was blown away by the pair. DaFoe’s character acts much like a god would, with his biblical monologues, his beard and his overall presence. While Pattinson is driven further into madness with each passing scene. The answer he is seeking most, what’s atop the lighthouse, will drive him to his breaking point. Parts of this film reminded me of The Shinning, where being alone and isolated can drive a person mad, being cut off from resources and any form of communication. And actually the one scare in it, works so well and reminded me of one of the more iconic scares in all of horror, from Psycho. Jump scares work so much better without the use of sound, and just everything about the making of this film is pretty much flawless. The score, which beats you to death, with the overbearing sound of a foghorn, never stops. The set design, the use of water, the script. I just thought everything worked so well, but it’s one of those movies where everything sort of has a double meaning and really makes you think.

Even the ending, which can be broken down, and with further watches, answers will be revealed, it’s hard to decipher what Eggers is trying to say. One thing is certain, do not, and I mean do not, mess with seagulls. That will come back to haunt you in a big way.

The Lighthouse = 90/100.

Reviews

‘Joker’ Review

Dive deep into the mythos of one of the most iconic and beloved comic book villains of all time. Joaquin Phoenix transcends into another atmosphere while playing the Clown Prince of Crime, but it’s not enough to save this film.

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A gritty character study of Arthur Fleck, a man disregarded by society.


The Joker sure likes his cigarettes. He might not even be around long enough for Batman to punch him in his face, lung cancer might be the cause of death for this clown. Joker, written and directed by Todd Phillips, stars Joaquin Phoenix as Batman’s arch-nemesis, The Joker. What a complete whirlwind this movie as caused. So much controversy going into the release of Joker, but I will not be going into any of that here in this review. Another day, another comic-book movie that has divided the masses. Some are praising this to be a ‘masterpiece’, while others think it’s rather forgettable. I find myself somewhere in the middle.

A 1970’s character study about someone who is mentally ill. Struggling with everyday life, Arthur Fleck feels rejected and neglected from the outside world. He thinks up until a certain point that his life is, in fact, a travesty. Cut off from the world, Arthur feels alone and has a hard time connecting with anyone. Joker examines what it’s like to be severely mentally ill and how the outside world, not only treats you but perceives you. This is his origin story, how a simple man becomes the greatest foe to our Caped Crusader. It’s a haunting and dark tale, one that we’ve never seen told in a movie. Arthur has a hard time finding any joy in the world, that is until confronted with a decision to finally stand up for himself, and not let high-class society push him around anymore. Once Arthur breaks that point, once he is submerged into the deep end, there is no going back for this man. Anarchy, madness, mass hysteria are the driving force behind this man, he simply wants no order in the world. Chaos is his form of pleasure, and towards the end of this film, he’s neck-deep in it.

Honestly, Joaquin Phoenix is a revelation, he’s brilliant in every aspect of this role. He took this seriously, and it pays off for him. That doesn’t mean he makes for a great Joker, and that’s my biggest problem with the film, I could never get behind him or even take him seriously. I’m not taking anything away from his awe-inspiring work here, but I just don’t think at the end of the day, he was a great Joker. Call me crazy, but that’s how I felt. The movie for being so twisted, and dark and chaotic, I never felt a sense of horror or shock from what I was seeing on the screen. The tone of the movie at times is all over the place, especially in scenes where the tension is high and you know something terrible is about to happen, it never struck any sort of fear or intrigue on my part. Arthur has a disorder, where at times, he has an uncontrollable laughing attack, a homage to The Man Who Laughs, and this occurs a lot throughout the film. I disliked every aspect of his Joker laugh, I thought as the movie went on, his laugh would evolve and evoke more actual laughter, than a laugh that felt almost forced. It’s hard to explain, but I was so turned off by it, I felt it was taking me out of the entire movie.

This is a new tale about this character, but another thing I disliked a lot, was how terrible of a criminal he was. The Joker is supposed to be this criminal mastermind, someone who can intellectually go toe-to-toe with Batman, he is the master of grand schemes, huge plots that push Batman to his brink. Where Fleck can barely think 5 minutes into his future, and walk 10 feet without causing some sort of damage to either himself or someone close by. Like he is playing everything he is doing by ear, expect his one planned out ploy that comes to a pretty horrific conclusion towards the end of the film. Again, this is a new take on the character and this is how Phillips wanted to portray him, I just thought it was a misstep. Whereas, how they show his descent into madness, how when the literal curtain is pulled and Joker is essentially finally revealed his almost done to perfection. It’s slow and cathartic, where his mind is slowly breaking. He’s quote on quote “bent out of shape” mentally and physically. Not only his is mind breaking and contorting, but so is his body. Phillips does an incredible job at showing just how weird and twisted his body is, Joaquin is contorting his body and it was the most disturbing part about his performance. His body is so skinny and weak and empty, as his mind goes, so does his body and I thought that was an interesting theme.

Another aspect of the film that they do unbelievable service to, is the depiction of Gotham City. In every Batman tale, Gotham City is a character in itself, it becomes one with the movie. Where we are so used to seeing it through the eyes of the rich and powerful, through Bruce Wayne and Batman, while here we are seeing the very underbelly through the eyes of Arthur. It’s gross, dirty and a place where all hope is lost. Gotham is a disease and it’s dying. So when your body is infected, there’s only one thing to do and that’s fight back. The anti-virus just so happens to be Arthur, the symbol of hope for these people that feel they have been thrown away by the upper-class society of Gotham. Little do they know, this symbol they are rooting for is the worst thing that will ever happen to Gotham.

There’s a ton to unpack about this film, many layers, and themes, mostly surrounding mental health and how we ignore it for the most part. Joker has a quote, “The worst part of having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t” was something that really stuck out for me. The world just wants him to be normal, they want everyone to be normal, and believe that mental illness is something one can shake off. When you ignore something, it tends to bubble up, it boils to a certain point where it’s no longer safe. The untreated disease will destroy the body, the infection will spread, and that’s exactly what happens to Arthur. There’s a great scene with Bruce Wayne, the Batman stuff is somewhat explored here, wherein this universe, the Joker is the reason why he will eventually dawn the mask. It’s a shame we won’t ever get to see that interaction, and when this movie was announced I wondered how seeing the Joker not interact with Batman, be in the world without Batman would work. I believe they need each other, I believe they feed off each other, and I just don’t think one works without the other.

I wanted to love this movie, but it falls flat, the first 30 minutes drags and I felt overall there are a solid 10 good minutes in here? The score by Hildur Guonadottir is chilling, hauntingly beautiful and one of the best of the year. This is a real film, there are no green screens, something that is expected with a comic-book movie, but not here. The cinematography is stunning, so many enriched shots, so many images that kind of burn into your mind and soul. All of this is not enough to save the movie. There are some great things happening here, but overall, I think it’s pretty hollow and empty. It’s the biggest flaw, the director. In more capable hands, I feel like the elements are changed and the tone and the vibe when things are gritty could have struck a more powerful cord. It’s going to be a massive hit, and people will love this movie, it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

JOKER = 66/100

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