Film Review-Suzume

The latest offering from acclaimed Japanese filmmaker Makoto Shinkai, best known for his 2016 fantasy film Your Name & Weathering with You, is a captivating and intriguing work of art. With its stunning art, stunning blend of sci-fi, supernatural disasters, and political commentary, with a touch of humour.

The story revolves around Suzume, voiced by Nichole Sakura. Suzume is a bright yet lonely teenager who lives with her aunt following the death of her mother. One day, while on a cycle, she encounters Souta, a mysterious young man on a quest to find a door. Curiosity piqued, Suzume decides to follow him, leading her to an abandoned ruin where she discovers a strange door in the middle of nowhere.

Like a modern Alice in Wonderland, Suzume opens the door and unleashes a series of cosmic forces and earthquakes. It soon becomes clear that Souta’s mission was to seal these destructive portals, and he needs a “keystone” to do so. However, fate intervenes, and Souta is transformed into a broken child’s chair that speaks with his voice. Meanwhile, the keystone takes the form of a talking cat called Daijin.

Thus begins their epic and quirky journey, a delightful blend of mythic and comic elements. Suzume’s story can be seen as an allegory for the tumultuous changes that come with growing up and finding one’s place in the world, but it goes beyond mere sexual awakening to explore broader themes of power dynamics, respect, and visibility.

Above all, Suzume’s mission is to protect nature itself, a powerful and timeless concept with deep generational resonance.


Film review-The Beekeeper

In the cinematic wasteland of January, “The Beekeeper,” under the direction of David Ayer and starring Jason Statham, emerges as a beacon of light. Despite being an unapologetic off-brand John Wick, Ayer’s direction breathes life into a thin script, offering a refreshing escape from the usual awards-bait.

Statham fully embodies the character of Adam Clay, a beekeeper and retired assassin, on a mission to foil online scammers preying on the vulnerable.

The narrative revels in its unsubtle, unexplained quirks, injecting a layer of amusement for the audience. As Adam sets out on his vendetta, the film skillfully traces the money trail, revealing a satirical crypto bro, Derek Danforth (Josh Hutcherson).

Ayer successfully saturates the film with colour, crafting an entertaining atmosphere, but the central character retains an air of mystery. The lore may be shallow, but there’s potential for sequels. This whimsically, absurd and over the top action flick is the ideal choice for a popcorn-filled movie night.


Film review-Fast X

Fast X takes the Fast and Furious franchise to new heights of excitement and spectacle. It embraces its over-the-top nature, delivering a wild ride that pushes the boundaries of plausibility. The film is a celebration of sheer entertainment, inviting viewers to suspend their disbelief and revel in the exhilarating action.

The plot revolves around Dom Toretto and his crew, who find themselves entangled in a complex scheme orchestrated by the deranged Dante Reyes, son of a Hernan Reyes from Fast Five. Dante Reyes seeks to torment Dom by putting his loved ones in danger through a series of outlandish scenarios. Along the way, familiar faces and adversaries reappear, adding to the ever-expanding ensemble.

Fast X never shies away from its audacity. It showcases jaw-dropping action sequences, including car jumps, explosive stunts, and death-defying feats. The film blurs the line between homage and repetition, referencing past instalments while introducing fresh elements to keep things from feeling repetitive.

The cast delivers committed performances, with Jason Momoa stealing the show as the flamboyantly unhinged antagonist. He’s essentially playing The Joker. His portrayal adds a captivating mix of humour and madness to the proceedings. The film also introduces new characters, such as Brie Larson’s Tess and Alan Ritchson’s Almes, who contribute to the diverse ensemble.

At its core, Fast X is an escapist thrill ride. It demands that viewers embrace its over-the-top nature and surrender to the sheer enjoyment of the spectacle. The film transports audiences to a world where the laws of physics take a backseat to adrenaline-pumping action and larger-than-life characters.

While the plot may be convoluted and the characters larger than life, Fast X succeeds in delivering an exhilarating experience. It captures the essence of the franchise’s appeal: the excitement, the high-octane action, and the sense of camaraderie within the “family.” It reminds us that sometimes, it’s okay to suspend our disbelief and indulge in pure cinematic escapism.

Fast X stands as a testament to the franchise’s ability to consistently deliver entertainment that resonates with its devoted fan base. It invites viewers to buckle up, let go of their inhibitions, and embrace the wild and outrageous journey it offers. So, prepare for a thrill like no other as Fast X revs up the engines and takes you on a heart-pounding adventure where anything is possible.

Fast X is in cinemas across the UK & Ireland.


Trailer-Blue Beetle

Warner Bros. Pictures has released the first full trailer “Blue Beetle”. Directed by Angel Manuel Soto and starring Xolo Maridueña as both Jaime Reyes and his heroic alter ego, the film tells the story of a recent college graduate returning home to find his world turned upside down. But fate intervenes when he discovers the Scarab, an ancient alien relic, which chooses him as its symbiotic host, transforming him into the Super Hero BLUE BEETLE and granting him incredible, unpredictable powers.

Joining Maridueña are an exceptional cast including Adriana Barraza, Damían Alcázar, Elpidia Carrillo, Bruna Marquezine, Raoul Max Trujillo, Susan Sarandon, George Lopez, Belissa Escobedo, and Harvey Guillén. Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer penned the screenplay based on DC characters, while John Rickard and Zev Foreman are producing and Walter Hamada, Galen Vaisman, and Garrett Grant serve as executive producers.

Behind the scenes, Angel Manuel Soto’s creative team includes director of photography Pawel Pogorzelski, production designer John Billington, editor Craig Alpert, costume designer Mayes C. Rubeo, visual effects supervisor Kelvin McIlwain, and composer Bobby Krlic.

“Blue Beetle” is a Safran Company Production, distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, and will be released internationally beginning August 2023, and in North America on August 18, 2023. The film is sure to soar into cinemas and excite audiences with its thrilling story and impressive team. Don’t miss the UK release on August 18, 2023, exclusively from Warner Bros. Pictures.

Film review-Tetris

Taron Egerton shines in this film that ingeniously blends nostalgia with a gripping thriller. The story opens with Henk Rogers making a pitch to a bored Japanese bank executive about the true potential of what he’s selling. As Henk narrates his globe-trotting journey to acquire the rights to a video game, the audience is treated to stunningly produced sequences that are seamlessly edited by Colin Goudie, Ben Mills, and Martin Walsh. However, the constant globe-hopping can be wearisome for some viewers.

As the story moves to Russia in 1988, director Jon S. Baird expertly slows down the pace, building tension and suspense. Written by Nick Pink, the opening portion of the film sets the stage for what happens to Henk when he seeks the sales rights from the game’s creator, Alexey Pajitnov, stumbling into a dangerous hornet’s nest where Communist Party security officials, Japanese interests, a software salesman, and Nintendo all compete against each other to acquire the rights to publish a video game that would become a worldwide smash.

With multiple layers of legitimate business dealings cloaked in duplicitous and criminal activity, it is challenging to decipher how much of this “inspired by a true story” movie is, in fact, true and how much is pumped-up artifice. However, by the end of the movie, you won’t care because the story and the characters are that compelling.

Taron Egerton portrays a good-hearted family man who is married to a loving and supportive wife, played by Ayane Nagabuchi, with multiple adorable children. Henk’s desire to secure his family’s financial future is palpable, and his loyalty to his employees and his small software company in Japan is commendable. The supporting cast is equally colourful, and the film moves at a pace that slowly picks up speed, resembling a good video game that is irresistible to play.

Overall, the film is a nostalgic and thrilling ride that expertly blends both genres into a captivating story.

Tetris will be available to stream from Apple TV+ on March 31st.


James Gunn confirmed as Superman: Legacy director

The news was hardly surprising when James Gunn confirmed his dual role as both writer and director for the highly anticipated reincarnation of Superman.

The project, entitled “Superman: Legacy,” promises to reboot the franchise yet again and kick off the new chapter of DC films dubbed “God and Monsters.”

As per Gunn’s tweets, the film will showcase Superman’s struggle to reconcile his Kryptonian roots with his human upbringing, embodying the values of truth, justice, and kindness in a world that often neglects such virtues.

As a devoted admirer of Gunn’s previous cinematic endeavors, I am eagerly anticipating what he will bring to the table with this fresh take on the beloved superhero. Of course, let us not forget that the iconic character was created by the visionary duo of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

Mark your calendars for July 11, 2025, as “Superman: Legacy” is set to soar into cinemas, worldwide.

Review-Scream VI

Last year’s installment of the Scream franchise did not impress me much, as the approach taken by directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, known as “Radio Silence,” felt like a mere repetition of 2011’s Scream 4. Nonetheless, the movie had its merits, particularly in its endeavor to uphold the legacy of the late Wes Craven. However, Scream VI, also directed by Radio Silence and written by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick, seems to have no new ideas to present, apart from one significant exception. Nevertheless, the sixth part of the series is exceptionally enjoyable as it presents a masterful and thrilling puzzle, even if it isn’t particularly groundbreaking.

The setting of the film has now moved to New York City, where Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera), her sister Tara (Jenna Ortega), and their best friends Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) and Chad Meeks-Martin (Mason Gooding) are starting college. Sam accompanies Tara to look after her, hoping that a bigger city means that they are safe from Ghostface’s deadly attacks.

However, this proves not to be the case, as a new Ghostface appears, exhibiting an obsession with the previous nine killers. The FBI, led by Agent Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere), gets involved in the case, while Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) returns as a Ghostface expert. Sidney Prescott, the previous final girl, is absent from the story.

The exclusion of Sidney’s character turns out to be a good thing, as it forces the writers to focus on the other characters. Sam, Tara, Mindy, and Chad take the center stage, and they are given enough time to make an impression. Melissa Barrera shines as Sam, and her portrayal brings depth to the character. Jenna Ortega, Jasmin Savoy Brown, and Mason Gooding are also noteworthy in their performances. Hayden Panettiere’s return as Kirby is a pleasant surprise, and she adds an extra layer to the plot.

While the film’s plot is cleverly crafted, it is not particularly challenging to guess who the killer is. However, the direction by Radio Silence elevates the movie. The suspense, danger, and action sequences are spectacular, particularly the ones set in a neighborhood grocery store and a ladder between apartment complexes. The climactic sequence may not break many rules, but it is executed with precision.

Neve Campbell’s absence from Scream VI is certainly a loss for fans of the franchise, but it’s also a reminder of the ongoing issues of pay equity and fair compensation in the entertainment industry. Hopefully, her decision to turn down the role will contribute to a larger conversation about the value of women’s contributions in film and television and the need for greater representation and equality.

In conclusion, Scream VI may not have much new to offer, but it is a thrilling and entertaining addition to the franchise. The film’s focus on the four main characters, along with the brilliant direction, make it a worthwhile watch for fans of the series.


Film review-Creed III

Michael B. Jordan delivers a knockout punch with his directorial debut in “Creed III,” the latest installment of the “Rocky” spin-off franchise. Reprising his role as the titular character, Adonis Creed, Jordan not only commands the screen with electric swagger and emotional depth, but also directs with confidence and style. He follows in the footsteps of Sylvester Stallone, who directed himself in several “Rocky” films, as well as Ryan Coogler, his longtime friend and collaborator, who helmed the original “Creed.” Jordan carries the weight of expectation and pressure with grace, honoring the series’ legacy while pushing the story forward.

While “Creed III” takes a little while to get into the ring, with a necessary flashback to establish the shared history between the main competitors, Jordan’s eye for detail is evident throughout the film. From the minimalist elegance of Adonis’ Hollywood Hills mansion to the use of sign language within his family, Jordan paints a rich and authentic portrait of Adonis’ life outside the ring. Tessa Thompson brings a grounded and sensitive performance as Adonis’ wife and producer, while newcomer Mila Davis-Kent shines brightly in her first major role as their deaf daughter, Amara.

But the film truly heats up with the arrival of Jonathan Majors as Adonis’ childhood friend-turned-adversary, Dame. Majors’ performance is nothing short of tremendous, bringing a volatile energy to the character that simmers beneath his seemingly placid exterior. Jordan’s direction, working in tandem with cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau and editors Jessica Baclesse and Tyler Nelson, elevates even the simplest of scenes, conveying layers of subtext and meaning through framing and pacing.

Of course, “Creed III” delivers on the expected training montages and uplifting beats, culminating in a climactic showdown that showcases Jordan’s dazzling stylistic choices in sound design, camera movements, and visual effects. But beyond the sweat and adrenaline, the film is also a touching exploration of family, legacy, and the pursuit of greatness. With “Creed III,” Jordan proves himself not only a formidable leading man, but also a director to watch in the years to come.


Film review-Cocaine Bear

“Cocaine Bear” is a riotous horror-comedy that delivers on its promise of a big bear on cocaine wreaking havoc in the woods. Directed by Elizabeth Banks, the film is set in 1985, when the actual events that inspired the movie took place. Banks and screenwriter Jimmy Warden infuse the characters with identifiable quirks and needs, making them more likable and relatable. Even the film’s villain, drug dealer Syd, played by the legendary Ray Liotta in one of his final roles, has recognisable resentments and fears.

Banks keeps the proceedings light and entertaining, balancing the gore and violence with humor and heart. The script sets several groups in motion, sometimes at cross-purposes, all heading towards the bear. Once the threat is established, we get to know the threatened. The performances are uniformly solid, with Keri Russell, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Alden Ehrenreich, Margo Martindale, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson all delivering strong turns.

Banks’ affection for the bear is evident throughout the film, even as it wreaks havoc on the hapless humans. The tension-filled sequences that have little to do with the bear add to the film’s overall sense of fun and unpredictability. The film has the structure of a slasher movie from the ’80s, but it owes a lot to the animals-attack subgenre of the ’70s. “Cocaine Bear” is a winning mix of heart and gore, skillfully threaded by Banks, who proves herself to be a deft hand at comedy and horror. The film’s success at the box office is a testament to its word-of-mouth appeal, as audiences flock to see the film again and again. With “Cocaine Bear,” Banks has earned her place as a director to watch, and I can’t wait to see what she does next.


Film review-Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, attempts to continue the saga of Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man, and his allies as they venture into the Quantum Realm. However, the film struggles to find its footing, suffering from a lack of narrative direction and inconsistent pacing. While the movie retains some of the humor that made the first two Ant-Man films so enjoyable, it also becomes bogged down in attempts to tie into previous Marvel movies and remind viewers of past events.

The film’s reliance on green screen technology to create its fantastical worlds is unfortunately marred by poor editing, resulting in distracting inconsistencies and uncanny character renderings. Despite this, the movie does have its moments of charm and heart, particularly in the subplot involving Scott’s relationship with his daughter Cassie. However, the broader narrative struggles to find a balance between the intimate family drama and the larger-than-life action sequences.

Perhaps the strongest aspect of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is the introduction of Kang the Conquerer, played with menacing brilliance by Jonathan Majors. Majors’ portrayal of the villain injects a much-needed dose of gravitas and terror into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, making Kang a worthy adversary for the heroes to face off against.

Overall, while Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania may please diehard fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it falls short of the high expectations set by its predecessors. The film’s attempts to expand beyond its titular hero and its reliance on callbacks to previous movies ultimately detract from the potential for a standalone adventure.