‘Tomb Raider’ Movie Review

I know it’s not saying a lot, but this is one of the best video game movies ever made

‘Lara Croft, the fiercely independent daughter of a missing adventurer, must push herself beyond her limits when she finds herself on the island where her father disappeared’.

The newest video game adaptation is another Tomb Raider movie, this time directed by Roar Uthaug. I can’t think of a trend in Hollywood that has a worst track record then movies based off video games. There have been plenty throughout my lifetime and for the most part, they all failed in spectacular fashion. With some of them even being regarded as some of the worst movies ever made, so whenever they roll out another one, usually people just roll their eyes and move on. Fool me once, shame on you, but fool me a hundred times, well you should just give up at this point. BUT, there can always be exceptions, and this time around with the new and improved, more grounded Tomb Raider, I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. Remember all the way back in 2001 when Angelina Jolie geared up for her portrayal of the Lara Croft. She actually got two cracks at it, both being met with insanely harsh critics. They can be thought of as some of the last 90’s actions movies ever made. You know, insanely over the top, cheese fest. It was soon after where everything started to become more grounded and serious. These movies were the polar opposite.

It’s simple there’s a new and improved Lara Croft and it’s Alicia Vikander. Going into the movie, people questioned if she was suited to play this role. The movie is based on the rebooted game that came out in 2013, where they detoured away from making Lara a sexual figured and made her just a regular kind of gal. This is a really close adaptation of the 2013 game, and it’s a serious shift from the previous installments. The trailers were decent enough to get me to the theatre to see this. Remember we are talking about a video game movie so I was hesitant to say the least.

So this leads us into the movie itself, this is another origin story for Lara Croft, where she is on a mission to find out what happened to her father. He’s been missing for just over 7 years and when she receives a clue about what was really going on in his life, she embarks on a epic journey to a mysterious island, to help solve a mystery that drove him mad. I thought Alicia who is an Oscar winner was just incredible as Lara. You can tell she obviously put in a ton of work to get in impeccable shape for this role. She’s a mixture of Jason Bourne and Indiana Jones in this movie.  Throughout the movie Lara finds herself in life and death situations and is constantly testing her limits, and as we get deeper into the movie, the bigger hero she becomes. Dominic West plays her missing father, and I thought they played off one another really well. For a video game movie, this actually had a really good cast. Dominic West is a truly gifted actor and I thought he elevated Alicia’s performance. When Lara arrives on the island, well she ends up getting shipped wrecked and she finds herself in a hostage situation. There is a secret and evil company known as “Trinity” who is after the mysterious power that lays dormant on this deserted island. Being held captive by their leader, Mathias Vogel (Walter Goggins), he is only trying to do his job and return home so he can see his own family. It’s been 7 long years on that island and his motives have become corrupt. Walter Goggins is just a straight up professional and throughout the movie, I kept thinking that he was kind of the only person I could see playing this role. He does a great job at playing the asshole, being cocky and an all-around jerk, so once again he pulled that off.

Tomb Raider is a movie based off a video game, which means everything will not be realistic, it’s going to have certain moments that seem unbelievable, or as I like to call them “video game moments,” but that should be expected by everyone. One thing I really dug about this movie, was how they roughed up Alicia throughout the film. She’s surviving a ton of hard falls, escaping improbable circumstances, and even suffering some pretty major wounds. Movies have tendencies to always make the female leads look perfect and pretty regardless of the situation and what has gone on throughout the movie, this wasn’t the case. She was being tested and going through a ton, and as the movie carries on, it takes a toll on Lara and you can sense that on the screen. Some of these things aren’t very realistic, but if you can look past that, you should enjoy this movie. It certainly isn’t perfect, and has major storytelling issues and some horrendous dialogue, but I knew that was going to be the case going in. I went to see this movie, because I wanted to see Alicia’s portrayal of this iconic character. She went all in for this role, it’s obvious and I think at the end of the day, she deserves a ton of credit. This is a Tomb Raider film, things are going to be a little unbelievable, part of the third act, it gets that way, but I definitely thought it was going to get even more silly than it did. If you like the games or have played the Uncharted games, I think you can sit down and enjoy this. It has some pretty cool action sequences, and it’s entertaining enough that seeing it in theatres is worth it. One of the biggest letdowns was having it be in 3D, which served no purpose whatsoever, it took me out of the movie to be honest, so that was one thing I was really disappointed with.

Overall, it’s a fun action/adventure film, that I had a enjoyable time with. It’s not perfect, no video game movie is. It’s not even a great movie, but this movie belongs to Alicia Vikander, and rightfully so. I can’t stress enough, this is a Tomb Raider movie, you need to know what you’re getting into before seeing this movie. I think it’s a good step in the right direction for video game movies and that is really important. I honestly want a sequel just to watch Vikander kick some more ass.

Check ya later

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Tomb Raider = 68/100


‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ Trailer.

Johnny Depp is here to fully ruin this movie for everyone.

Seriously though. Who’s bright idea was it to cast this guy? Throughout my entire life I’ve had the privilege of watching Johnny Depp act, and he’s a fine actor, but as of late….Well he’s just now Johnny Depp. That’s all I ever see, not the character he is portraying, but rather I just see him as himself.

So why on Earth anyone thought it was a good idea to thrust him into the world of muggles and magic is beyond me. On top of that he’s playing the bad guy. The first Fantastic Beasts was fine, everyone loves being transported back into this world and seeing familiar things and hearing that iconic score that is all too familiar. I even didn’t mind that it takes place in the past and we get a better understanding of the world that Harry Potter lives in.

A movie based in the world of Hogwarts and Wizards without Harry Potter was an adjustment to say the least, but the new additions to the characters was met with reasonable expectations, and everyone seemed to enjoy the first film. If they hadn’t we wouldn’t be getting a sequel. We are now seeing Jude Law added into the mix as young Albus Dumbledore, which for me is going to be extremely strange to see. I can only picture a wise old man, not this young guy, who seems nothing like the person we grew to know through 7 books and 8 movies. I do like Jude Law, so this could very well work, but I won’t know until I see more.

Overall the trailer looks great, visually it’s right on par with the original and I love the beasts aspect of these films. The creatures are a nice additions to this magical world. But someone please explain to me why we have to have Johnny Depp.

Check ya later.


The Grinch Is Back!

Max is the definition of dog goals.

“The grumpy Grinch plots to ruin Christmas for the village of Whoville”

So the team behind the Despicable Me franchise is going from Minions to Whoville. Based on Dr. Seuss’s classic book, we all know the story by now right? Grumpy green guy hates Christmas and just hates everything in general and decides to destroy the special holiday for everyone?

Well they are tackling it again, and to be honest I don’t mind a new animated version of this story. It’s great, it always has a great message and I trust the team behind it. Not to much going on in the trailer, except Max being the best boy possible! Probably going to end up being the standout of the movie. A few tricks and pranks are put on by the Grinch which I laughed at. Benedict Cumberbatch is behind the voicing of the Grinch and I think he’s going to do incredible voice work for this.

The movie looks like a ton of fun, plenty of laughs, awesome animation and if you have been a fan of the Despicable Me movies, you will more than likely enjoy this come November!

Check ya later.


90th Annual Oscar Predictions

I did pretty good last year, so if you want to make a quick buck, I’m your go to guy for this.

The Oscars are this Sunday, so it’s time for some predictions! Who got snubbed? Who’s going to take home the most gold? Who’s getting a little more attention then they should? All of these are valid questions that I will try to answer below. I’m going to run down all the nominees for each category and then pick who I think will take home the award! I’m going to have a lot to say for certain categories and awards and very little about others.

Sound Mixing

Everyone’s favourite award of the evening! Sound mixing. Actually a pretty big toss up, not going sit here and lie and pretend I know anything to do with sound mixing. I do however know how movies sound inside the theatre and for me, the movie that sounded the best was Dunkirk.

Winner: Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker & Gary A. Rizzo – Dunkirk.

Sound Editing.

You know, these things kind of go hand in hand. One wins mixing, why not just give them both. Listen Dunkirk was an extraordinary technical movie. So I’m giving it both of the sound awards. You felt as you were in the battle during it, you were transported back to the beach. The gun fire sounded so real, everything to do with sound was quite spectacular.

Winner: Richard King & Alex Gibson – Dunkirk.

Original Song.

I’ve heard mixed reviews on The Greatest Showman, but one thing everyone can all agree on is the music, and the soundtrack. It’s catchy, it’s the best part of the movie, and apparently that’s why people have been going to see the film. But Coco was a mega hit, with great cultural music and it’s Pixar, they own the award season when they are nominated. So it’s a toss up between This Is Me and  Remember Me from Coco. I’ll give credit to Mystery of Love in Call Me By Your Name is a beautifully haunting song, really closes out the movie in spectacular fashion.

Winner: Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez – Coco

Original Score

You have to go with the GOAT in this situation. Hans Zimmer and his epic score from Dunkirk will surely bring home another Oscar for himself. He won back in 1994 for The Lion King. Like I said, Dunkirk in terms of technical achievement and sound is incredible. They should take home at least 3 Oscars. Hans Zimmer also just has a really cool and awesome name to say.

Winner: Hans Zimmer – Dunkirk.

Film Editing

Editing, the most strenuous part of any movie. Now when I watch a movie, one thing that bothers me to no other, is god awful editing. It’s such a vital part to what makes a successful movie. Baby Driver, had such fantastic editing throughout the entire film. Considering some of the sequences that involved music, and car chases, and all around craziness, but was pull off to such perfection, it would be difficult to give this award to anyone else.

Winner: Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos – Baby Driver

 Production Design

The vast open world, or the beauty of a small lavish space? I would say there are three front runners to this category; The Shape of Water, Dunkirk and Blade Runner 2049. I personally think that Blade Runner 2049 is going to take home the award for production design. Not enough people went to see this movie, and the landscapes and set pieces are quite remarkable. It deserves recognition come awards night. Shape of Water is a beautiful movie, but the first time seeing each movie, I was taken aback by the production and the sights of Blade Runner 2049 much more than Shape of Water. That is why it is my winner here.

Winner: Sarah Greenwood & Katie Spencer – Blade Runner 2049

Costume Design

In a category for costume design, I think it’s pretty obvious that the movie based on an obsessed craftsmen would win. Phantom Thread the movie about costumes, about designing costumes is nominated for best costume design, it’s a little too much on the nose isn’t it?

Winner: Mark Bridges – Phantom Thread 

Animated Short

A pretty tough category to choose a winner for, considering I never got around to seeing any of these animated shorts. So I will just go with my Mamba mentality and pick Dear Basketball, because KOBEEEEE!

Winner: Glen Keane and Kobe Bryant 

Live Action Short

I drew names out of a hat!

Winner: Kevin Wilson, Jr – My Nephew Emmett

All of these movies are worthy of this award. I saw every single one of these in IMAX, the biggest screen I could find, and they didn’t disappoint. But these days when it comes to visual effects, ones mind tends to lean towards one man, Andy Serkis. You know the guy who was in all the Lord of The Rings movies, King Kong, the Hobbit movies and now played Caesar in the new Planet of The Apes trilogy. The guy is a legend when it comes to motion capture, he has changed the game. Most of those movies won for this such category and they have mostly Andy to thank for that. So why should this be any different? War For The Planet of The Apes was the best visual effects I saw all year at the movies. Each new installment got better, and they need to be recognized on the grandest stage. I’ll be shocked if they don’t win. This isn’t taking away anything from any of the other nominees, they all had incredible effects, Kong: Skull Island actually blew me away with how gorgeous it looked on the big screen.

Winner: Joe Letteri, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon and Joel Whist – War For The Planet of The Apes

Makeup & Hairstyling

Listen, you don’t have someone wake up at ungodly hours in the morning, and make them sit in chair for hours and hours to do their hair and makeup and not get the recognition you deserve. On top of that Gary Oldman got into a fat-suit everyday during the production of the Darkest Hour, and this will no question be taking home the gold. They managed to quite literally transform him into Winston Churchill, and that really is a feat on its own.

Winner: Kazuhiro Tsui, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick – Darkest Hour

Again, I don’t want to sit here and pretend I know anything about foreign films. So I’m taking my best guess here, and did a quick little google search. A Fantastic Woman was well received and appears to be the front runner.

Winner: Chile – A Fantastic Woman

Documentary Short

If there’s one thing the Academy loves, it is the city of Los Angeles. Take last year for instance, yes La La Land didn’t end up winning best picture, but it took home some awards and the Academy loved it to pieces. Remember that’s their town they are talking about here, so Traffic Stop is a shoe in for this award. Based on the 405 highway in LA, I won’t be surprised when it walks away with the Oscar.

Winner: Kate Davis and David Heilbroner – Traffic Stop

Documentary Feature

I don’t watch nearly enough Documentaries, so with that being said, I have no idea what any of these are about. Icarus once flew to close to the sun and well his wings burned up and he died. Poor guy, the universe has a funny way of showing karma.

Winner: Bryan Fogel and Dan Cogan – Icarus

Adapted Screenplay

This is a difficult category. Master writer Aaron Sorkin vs. Tommy Wiseau. I’ll say congrats to Logan for being nominated for such a prestige Oscar, writing it a big deal when it comes to the big night, so James Mangold should be proud of himself. But for me, the winner shall be James Ivory for Call Me By Your Name. If not only for the last scene of the movie, which is so damn beautiful and well written that it probably won the award right in that very moment.

Winner: James Ivory – Call Me By Your Name

Animated Feature

The odds of Coco winning are -5000. That means if you bet 5000 bucks on Coco to win, you would only get 100 in return. It’s the lock of the century


Winner: Lee Unkrich and Darla K. Anderson – Coco

Original Screenplay

One of the toughest categories of the evening right here. I feel three films have a chance here. Three Billboards, the dark comedy highlighting racism, police brutality and the abuse of women. Really caught the eye of movie goers, and was revered for it’s sharp and serious real world problems writing. Get Out also highlighted racism but from a much different perspective and angel, and was done so brilliantly that people at first didn’t get it. I think Lady Bird also has a chance to walk away a winner here. The coming go age tale and the importance of a mother/daughter relationship.

Winner: Greta Gerwig – Lady Bird 


There is one winner and one winner only for this award. Fun fact, Roger Deakin’s has never won an Oscar before. 14 nominations, Shawshank, True Great, Assassination of Jesse James, Jarhead, No Country For Old Men. All of these movies, done by this man. That is just the tip of the iceberg. Now he comes along and does Blade Runner 2049, without question, the most beautiful looking movie of 2017. The visuals were stunning, sharp, vast and out of this world. It is finally time to recognize this marvellous man and all the incredible work he has done over the years. This one award simply won’t make up for it, but it will be a good start.

Winner: Roger Deakins – Blade Runner 2049

Supporting Actor

Let’s just all agree that yes, Sam Rockwell’s character in Three Billboards was a racist, no good son of a bitch. But it’s a movie, and he acted the hell out of that role. He’s been sweeping the award season and it’s not going to change come Sunday. I thought he gave a unnerving and chilling performance. One that stuck with me for a few days after I watched Three Billboards, always a good sign. One huge snub though, Michael Stuhlbarg for Call Me By Your Name, actually it’s more than a snub, it’s down right rude.

Winner: Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards. 

Supporting Actress

It’s a cage fight between two of these lovely ladies. We have uptight mother, who just wants what’s best for her daughter. The type of Mother who does everything for her family but her daughter still is a little shit about it, well meet Laurie Metcalfe’s character in Lady Bird. In the other corner, we have another Mother, one who loves to curse, throw kitchen knives at their daughter and loves her pet bird. It’s Allison Janney from I, Tonya. I keep going back and forth between these two women, who give just remarkable performances. On the one hand Janney has more comedy in her role, where as Metcalf is the person we feel sorry for. I want Metcalf to win, but Janney is the lady who will win.

Winner: Allison Janney – I, Tonya 

Leading Actor

Daniel Day Lewis, the freight train of acting. Stopped by a guy in a fat-suit in his last ever acting performance. Who would have seen this coming? First Churchill stops Hitler, now he stops Daniel Day Lewis. What a legacy that man has achieved. In all seriousness, again  the male acting category kind is a known commodity at this point. Gary Oldman will win, because, well he gave the best performance of the year, no questions asked. Would it be cool if the new kid of the block Timothee Chalamet won? Yeah totally, the kid is 22 years young and would be the youngest winner ever for this category.

Winner: Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour

Leading Actress

If the supporting actress category was a cage fight, then this is an all out war. I have no idea who I want to win this award. All these ladies gave such inspiring and beautiful performances. The Skater Girl, The Shit Talker, The Fish Fucker (sorry for cursing), The Lady Bird and well Meryl Streep. They all give their own unique and mesmerizing  performance, each sticking with you in a different fashion. Cross of Streep, because she’s won enough and actually for once is the weakest member of the group. Next people will say cross off Margot Robbie, which is unfair, because that’s who I think SHOULD win this award, but she won’t. Sally Hawkins speaks about 30 words in the entire movie, but does more acting in her face, then most people do in a lifetime. Now it’s down to new school vs. old school and much like the other acting nominees who have been winning at every award show, Frances McDormand was a powerhouse in Three Billboards. She’s earned it, and I think gives speech of the night.

Winner: Frances McDormand – Three Billboards.


Another stacked category! I think it’s between Greta Gerwig and Guillermo Del Toro. Del Toro, that man loves his monsters, probably more than anyone in Hollywood. What he made was simply breathtaking and such a beautiful story. It’s a shame, that it’s being known as the “fish fucking movie” but hey, beats not being known at all. Greta Gerwig made one of the most refreshing movies I saw all year. They made such polar opposite movies, that is hard to choose one over the other. I feel like Del Toro has paid his dues, and he’s been around, and sometimes the Academy repays you for that kind of thing. So with that being said, it’s going to the man responsible for the greatest love story since Romeo and Juliette.

Winner: Guillermo Del Toro – Shape of Water

Best Picture


Blade Runner 2049, it would not have won, but they are allowed 10 nominees and it should have been included. That’s all I have to say about that. What an incredible year for movies. I saw every single best picture nominee except The Post (Sorry Tom, Sorry Meryl). All 8 films I saw were remarkable in their own way, and deserve a shot at the biggest prize of the night.

Seriously, I can’t believe Get Out came out almost a year ago, and PEOPLE ARE STILL TALKING ABOUT IT! I think it would be one of the best moments, if not the best moment in Oscars history if Get Out took home best picture, but it just can’t. People fell in love with this movie, and rightfully so, but I just think having came out almost a year ago, hurt it in the long run. If you asked me in the summer, I would have said Dunkirk wins best picture, but I feel like the campaign push for Dunkirk was really weak. It’s a great film, and was fascinating to see in IMAX, but the buzz around it going into Sunday is pretty much dead. Toss out, Phantom Thread, not enough buzz and all around isn’t getting the acclaim of some the other movies. Now, rope in Darkest Hour, Call Me By Your Name, and The Post. Thanks for coming, but we will see you later. It’s a three woman race, Lady Bird, Three Billboards and Shape of Water. Like most of the night, these movies will battle it out for soul survivor of the evening. Culminating in once last award that decides who is the best. All centered around strong female leads (that’s a wonderful thing!!), all different visually, style wise, tone and all around the way each movie was made. I legit have zero idea who will win, they all deserve it in some manner. But two of the acting winners will be from Three Billboards, it’s feels like an important movie, during a time when we need important movies like this, and movies like Get Out. I want Get Out to win, it just isn’t humanly possible. Three Billboards is my winner, and I’m not happy about my choice

Winner: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri 


‘Game Night’ Review

Rachel McAdams is comedic freight train. This is the best comedy since 21 Jump Street.


“A group of friends who meet regularly for game nights find themselves trying to solve a murder mystery.”

Everyone has that couple in their life that can’t stand to lose at anything. You know the type of people that are so competitive it drives you insane, but it also brings out the competitive nature in yourself. Well meet Annie (Rachel McAdams) and Max (Jason Bateman) the most competitive couple in the history of rom-coms. Meeting at bar trivia night, they host a weekly game night with their close knit group of friends. When things start to become stale and routine for the event, in comes Max’s much cooler brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) to spice things up. Being the super competitive person he is, Max is always trying to one up his brother in game night but also in life. Feeling he has never achieved this, he is feeling pressures in his every day life to live up to his almighty brother.

I went back several years to see comedies that have recently come out, and to be quite honest, it was slim pickings to find one that really stuck with me. I had to go all the way back to 21 Jump Street to find a movie that made me laugh this hard in theatres. Game Night is the perfect movie, I couldn’t think of one flaw in the whole thing. Unlike most comedies these days, that rely way to much on poop, or dick jokes to get through the movie, Game Night just relies on one hell of a script. It’s tight and so well constructed, that all the jokes come so naturally, it really makes you respect the film even more. You’ve seen the trailers, Brooks invites the whole gang over for a “game night they’ll never forget.” When he plans a murder mystery party that goes awol, the rest of the guests need to figure out what’s real and what’s not. Action comedies have been done before, but sometimes you find what is happening isn’t occurring organically and feels almost forced. This is not the case here, everything happening feels so organic and happens so naturally, and that’s what makes the movie so damn funny. The other two couples at the party, Ryan (Billy Magnussen) and his British date Sarah (Sharon Horgan). Ryan tends to bring a new girl to game night every week, the only person in the group not in a relationship, but this time around he brings a “ringer” in Sarah. They work off each other incredibly, him being the dumb idiot, while she is quick witted and very educated. It was great watching them bounce jokes off one another and slowly fall for each other, despite being polar opposites. We have the couple who has been together since grade school, Kevin (Lamorne Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury) who also work incredibly well together. During game night they play a game of “never have I ever,” and when she reveals she had slept with a celebrity when they were on a two week break. Watching Kevin trying to figure out who, and the ultimate reveal was INCREDIBLE.

This is situational comedy at its finest. Like I said, there aren’t bad one liners, corny jokes about bodily fluids, everything just feels so right within this movie. Action comedies always feel the need to start off really funny, and then have the action go from 0-100 real quick, well that’s not what happens here. Everything you see feels like it needed to happen in order to progress the story further along, and even the cast themselves realize how crazy things are getting. There are certain moments in this movie that I find myself laughing about days later. That’s always a sign of a great comedy. Now there are two stand outs of the movie. First is Jesse Plemons who plays Gary, the next door neighbour who no longer gets invited to game night. You see, Gary is kind of an odd duck, a police officer, he is going through a divorce and just wants to be part of game night again. He wants to be reunited with his friends, but every scene that Jesse is in, he is stealing the show. He plays his role to perfection, that awkward, deadpan neighbour, who has zero social skills. I was shocked and pleasantly surprised by his comedic skills. Next, Rachel McAdams in my opinion gives the best performance of her career. I know she was nominated for Spotlight, which she is fantastic in, but she is unbelievable in Game Night. It’s been a long time since she’s got to do comedy, and she’s kind of just been floating around lately. She had a ton of fun making this movie, you can tell by her performance, and I’m really happy for her.

I knew Game Night was going to be enjoyable and I would laugh, but I never thought I would feel this way about it. It’s honestly the perfect movie, and it would be great for a date night. There is a solid stretch of about 30-40 minutes which is so enjoyable and so funny, I couldn’t believe it. Paced well, never falters and actually leaves you guessing till the very end. You yourself don’t even know what’s real and what’s fake until the very end of the movie. This is the comedy that not enough people will see, and once it hits Netflix everyone will be going crazy over it, so do yourself a favour and get out to your local theatre and support this gem. Still can’t get over how good Rachel McAdams is in this movie.

Check ya later.

Nate’s Movie Tour Review – Game Night = 97/100



‘Annihilation’ Review

“A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition where the laws of nature don’t apply.”

To quickly sum it up. This movie is Predator on acid. Interpret that however you want.


I’m dead serious when I say that Annihilation, Alex Garland’s latest science-fiction film is an acid trip. Throughout the film I kept asking myself, “man this is going to be really difficult to write about.’ Annihilation is best served in dialogue when discussing the film, because it is such a complex and unique film. This is the definition of heavy science fiction, where it leaves you scratching your head long after the movie is over. I’m still digesting what I saw, because it asks so many questions, and like most great science-fiction movies, it doesn’t always give you the answers you are searching for. Now that can leave the average movie goer with a lot of frustrations because you invest your time and money into the movie, and don’t come away with certain answers to questions that are lingering throughout the entire movie.

I’ll say this first and foremost, this movie is not for everyone. You need to have knowledge in your taste in film going into Annihilation. Because this isn’t some grand science-fiction epic, with a ton of action and explosions. It’s also not a summer blockbuster like Black Panther which dropped last week. This is almost an art-house movie, in the sense that it seems small, but asks MASSIVE questions about biology, evolution and what it means to be human. When Alex Garland came bursting onto the scene in 2015 with Ex-Machina, he instantly became a fan favourite when it came to the science-fiction genre, so when he was attached to direct this movie, based on the best selling novel, people’s ears were perked up to say the least. Add in Natalie Portman as the star of the show, and now people were seriously intrigued. The first trailer dropped and I was instantly hooked and this became my fifth most anticipated movie of 2018. Here’s the thing about building up movies, sometimes they aren’t exactly what you want them to be, or simply don’t meet your expectations. Annihilation just wasn’t what I was expecting, so I can’t say it didn’t live up to what I wanted it to be. It would be unfair of me to criticize a movie just because it wasn’t what I thought it “should be.”

No one is going to go see this movie, not because it’s a bad movie, it’s currently sitting at 89% on Rotten Tomatoes, but because it’s so different. People just want to go into a movie and sometimes not have to think or be told a unique and insanely different kind of story. Comic book movies, sequels, prequels, they all rule the box-office right now, and it’s a shame, because I think if you can, you should head out and see this movie. It’s deep, it’s rich, it’s very thought provoking material, where I’m still not sure what the message or the ending means. When Kane (Oscar Issac) suddenly returns home, his wife Lena (Natalie Portman) is shocked beyond belief. Meeting each other in the military he went on a top secret mission and had now been missing for just over a year. Thinking he was dead, when he resurfaces, he just isn’t the same. Shortly after his return, he needs medical attention and slips into a coma, and that’s when we find out that he had entered the ‘Shimmer.” Lena is now in Area X, located just outside the Shimmer, she intends to find out what happened to her husband and embarks on an expedition inside it, along with 4 other crew members. Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh), Anya (Gina Rodriguez), Cass (Tuva Novotny) and Josie (Tessa Thompson). All these ladies excel in some sort of scientific background and want to know what exactly is at the hear of the Shimmer. This is a female led film, all of them giving great performances, I thought Gina Rodriguez was tremendous, and we should be again celebrating an all female cast, not just for that single reason, but also because it’s a fantastic movie. Everyone pulls their own weight, and Tessa Thompson is a freight train that cannot be stopped right now.

See something three years prior landed on Earth, at a lighthouse, and ever since, the Shimmer has be manifesting and growing. Every team they send in, never make it out alive, until Kane. Things start off normal, but the Shimmer is a myserteous place for a reason, and when they start to realize that the laws of nature do not apply here. They discover a crocodile that has been crossbred with a shark. From the very get-go the team realizes they are most likely on a one way mission, but they want to try to find some sort of answers. The further they get into the Shimmer, the weirder things become. Lena realizes that their own DNA has been compromised. You knew all of that from the trailers, so I won’t go any further into plot points or spoilers, because everyone should really have the opportunity to fully take in this flick. The visuals are simply stunning, with a 50 million dollar budget, the visuals are better than most blockbusters, and Garland really builds a world of his own. This is just a really ambitious movie, with imaginative story-telling. It’s almost the definition of mesmerizing because at times, you aren’t really sure what you are watching, because it’s so vastly different from anything you have ever seen before it. It can be terrifying in moments, fun in others, and all around suspenseful. It’s unsettling, you see things that make you want to look away, but get you so immersed in the movie, because you want to know why these things are going on. You really want to know what the Shimmer is, but it’s not about the end, it’s about the journey.

This is survival of the fittest, they are battling new elements that the human race has never seen before, but also one another. It leaves you scratching your head at times, because in certain parts they take you one way and you think this is where the movie is going, but then they flip things around, and you want to know why the movie shifted gears so quickly. Don’t worry the climax delivers copious amounts of that blood and gore and a ton of tension, you will get your fill. The landscape is miraculous, it’s a world that wants to shake you up a bit, it’s uneasy for a reason. Some things are better left unsaid, and in some instances unsolved. You don’t get all the answers you are looking for, but going on this acid trip is worth it. Sometimes you need to expand your own horizons, step out of your comfort zone and experience something new. Annihilation is just the thing you are looking for. It’s like creating a new cocktail and Annihilation is part Arrival, part Predator, and part 2001: A Space Odyssey and that is the greatest compliment one can give.

Check ya later

Nate’s Movie Tour Review – Annihilation = 90/100



‘Black Panther’ Review

Haven’t seen Black Panther yet? “Wakanda” do about it? You can get your butt to the theatre and enjoy this movie, that’s what!


“T’Challa, the King of Wakanda, rises to the throne in the isolated, technologically advanced African nation, but his claim is challenged by a vengeful outsider who was a childhood victim of T’Challa’s father’s mistake.”

The latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe is none other than Black Panther, which was written and directed by Ryan Coogler. It continues the story of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) after the events of Captain America: Civil War, where he is set to become the King of his country Wakanda. After Civil War came out, there were a few standouts of the movie and Boseman and his portrayal of Black Panther was one of them. So when they attached Ryan Coogler to helm his first solo movie, everyone was excited. First things first, the hype surrounding this movie is massive, and I understand that, but this is also a movie, and like every movie, it has flaws. This is important to discuss, because I believe that if people dissect this movie and talk about the good (which there is so much of) but also the flaws, they might fear repercussions. Which isn’t fair, because like most movies, especially comic book movies, they are bound to have flaws in them, it just comes with the territory. So I think it’s best to view the movie as a whole and just enjoy it for what it is. A terrifically directed, well acted Marvel movie, which will please audiences everywhere and make a boatload of money.

What does it take to be King of a nation? What responsibilities comes with it? For T’Challa he is about to find out about all of these things, and what it truly means to be a great ruler and leader of a nation. Going into Black Panther, I knew there would be a strong political message, and strong social commentary, which there was. But Coogler found a way to do it so seamlessly and naturally, that it really tied the movie together. Wakanda is the most technologically advanced country in the world, yet they hide in plain sight. Built on the backbone of Vibranium, they have the means to do so much, but they keep all of these secrets to themselves. They do not help the outside world, and millions of people could use their help. T’Challa is conflicted when he becomes King, because unlike previous rulers, he believes Wakanda can be doing so much more. They have the power and tools to help so many of those that suffer; yet they do nothing, and that starts to eat away at him. This is where Michael B Jordan’s character Killmonger comes into play. You see, he is of Wakandan decent but was raised in America, so he didn’t have all of this technology and a safe space to grow up in. Now an adult, he wonders why they sit back and do nothing, while their kind is struggling in the outside world. So when he challenges T’Challa to the throne, he wants to be King, so he can use their technology to essentially rule the world. Or take back what was rightfully theirs. Michael B Jordan is such a great young talented actor and when he was cast as Killmonger, and I saw he was going to be playing the villain, I knew this had serious potential to be a special performance, it was. He gives a charismatic performance, the best villain since Loki, and the craziest part about Killmonger is, you feel for him. Like I said, he wasn’t raised in the protective bubble that is Wakanda, he was raised in the outside world, and had to deal with all the hardships that come with that. Stuff we know to be true and see everyday on the news, and he is extremely pissed off that they have done nothing about it. So when he shows up in Wakanda and starts asking all of these questions, it makes all the other characters start to question their own beliefs, and that is what makes the movie so damn good. What makes a truly great villain is when he makes the hero question his own belief system and what it means to be a hero, and Killmonger does just that. Because deep down, you kind of believe in what he believes in. Why doesn’t Wakanda help the outside world? Why aren’t they using this incredible technology to help those in need? So you start to see where he’s coming from, but like every great villain, he goes about it the wrong way. He questions the entire existence of Wakanda and what it means to be the world’s most powerful nation, and they start to listen. Michael just gives such a powerful performance, like I knew he would and continues to just knock it out of the park. That brings me to the biggest flaw of the movie, not enough Killmonger. He has such a cool introduction and you are instantly connected to him, then we go about 40 minutes without him. The movie needed more, because whenever he was on screen, you couldn’t look away, and every one of his scenes was intense.

Michael B Jordan isn’t the only standout in this superb cast. Again this movie is being celebrated because of the massive African American cast, which it should be. The movie is so rich in black culture, but Coogler also uses that to build a culture of his own, which is that of Wakanda. The world building here is incredible, and you leave the theatre wanting to see more and to understand more. They could have just said, look at this magical place we have made up, and not given any insight to their beliefs or culture, but they dive so deep into it, you almost begin to think it’s a real place. That is truly the work of a great director. Letitia Wright who plays Shuri, the little sister to T’Challa was the breakout star of this film. She gives one heck of a performance, where she can be fierce and feisty, yet provides some of the biggest laughs in the entire movie. A star making performance in my mind, and I expect to see her in many things down the line. I can’t wait to see her in upcoming MCU movies, because she was so great. The whole cast is awesome, and I know they all had so much fun making this movie together and knew what it would mean to the world. This really is a special movie, during a time when we need a movie like this. Because the themes and the messages behind it are so relevant today, that it makes it that much more important. Marvel could have just made another stereotypical comic book movie. About a guy in a costume and have a ton of stuff blow up. Yes stuff goes boom and there’s a guy in a costume, but it’s about so much more, and that’s why it’s so important.

In the end I really enjoyed Black Panther, it was a fun ride, with plenty of action, the CGI in some parts was a tad underwhelming, but overall it’s was fine. I prefer a better-told story and a strong message behind something than having incredible CGI. Ryan Coogler is now three for three in directing and he’s only 31 years old. That’s a very inspirational thing, seeing someone so young create such incredible movies. He has such a bright future ahead of him, and personally I can’t wait to continue watching him make movies for decades to come.

Check ya later.

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Black Panther = 90/10