Sunday, 16 July 2017

It Comes at Night

It seems to be the case that every year a horror movie is released to much critical acclaim but a lot of audience distain. Granted there might be a sense of an audience unwilling to be tested or broaden their horizons but mostly it’s because the studio incorrectly advertised the film and sold a different product to what the audience got. It happened with The Witch and now it happened with It Comes at Night. It perhaps does the film a disfavour even if the box office proceedings were boosted by the film’s questionable advertising.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

2017 Catch Up

Claire (Teresa Palmer) is an Australian tourist taking pictures of Berlin’s GDR architecture. She meets a dashing Berliner named Andi (Max Riemelt) and the pair immediately hit if off. Claire goes out looking for Max the next day, and the pair have a one night stand. After the night of passion, Claire wakes up to find her locked in his apartment. She stays another night, assuming being locked in the apartment was an accident, but when it happens a second time it turns out Andi has dark motivations. With no means of contacting the police or shouting for help, Claire must outsmart her captor.

The title, Berlin Syndrome, is a slight spin on Stockholm syndrome and its an apt title for a film where you can’t always quite work whether Claire is generally falling for her captor or it’s a ruse in a bid to escape. It makes for a intense film where each bid to escape is breathlessly tense. Teresa Palmer is excellent in the lead role in which she starts out by being captivated by the charms of her eventual captor, but yet her performance also gives off an air that something is troubling Claire back in her native Australia. Max Riemelt is also superb as the charming but malevolent Andi in this effective thriller.


John Wick 2 follows directly on from the events of John Wick (in which John Wick gets revenge on a Russian mobster for killing his dog) where John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is bought out of retirement to do a job for an Italian mobster of whom John is in debt to. Wick carriers out his essential task, and he becomes the target of every assassin in the assassin underworld.

2014’s John Wick was perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the year as it showed filmmakers how to make an action movie. It employed professional stuntman, the main star did his own stunts, and each action scene wasn’t cut so much that it was almost incomprehensible. John Wick retains much of that brilliant action choreography that would impress the likes the John Woo with the smooth editing, perfect precision and superb stunt work. The film gets a little bogged down in being a bit too talky in the middle part of the film, but the effortlessly cool and kinetic action sequences makes this sequel worth watching for fans of the first film


It’s become far less acceptable to whitewash films or have a white savior narrative, these things still happen but people are calling them out on it. The Great Wall was another film that critics took aim for introducing a white savior narrative even though it was a Chinese produced film. Whilst I don’t think it’s entirely guilty of the crime it’s being accused of certain elements come off cringy, take for example every Chinese soldier applauding William Garin (Matt Damon) as he arrives in the Great Hall for successfully defending the wall against the monstrous invaders.

The basic plot is a mythical tale that the great Wall was built to keep out some alien like attackers is interesting enough, and the unique battle tactics employed the Unamed Order add to the impressive spectacle. However, the meat and bones of the story is very lacking, and once we’re introduced to the attackers we pretty much know everything we need to know about them, they’re not kept in any sort mystery. The basic plot points of the story also follow a very Hollywood like route where no tension is created because we’re safe in the knowledge that the most important characters will be saved at the last moment.

Matt Damon’s wayward (Irish?) accent contributes to what is overall a pretty poor performance by Damon who is (as are the rest of the cast) overshadowed by the spectacle even if the GCI is pretty suspect at times. It’s an ok film but the film’s intriguing central narrative is let down by a very basic telling of it


Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Baby Driver

Baby (Ansel Englort) is a getaway driver for criminal King-pin Doc (Kevin Spacey), and he only needs one more job to be straight (Baby stole Doc’s car several years back and has been in his debt ever since). After completion of the job that’s set him straight, Baby tries to cope with normality. He finds a job and quickly falls for the lovely Debora, but it transpires being straight doesn’t necessarily mean he is finished as Doc needs Baby to do another job.