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The Laundromat

A charitable 5*
I didn't enjoy this at all, yet I still weirdly reflect on it to be better than it had any right to be.

That's thanks to the cast of 'The Laundromat'. Meryl Streep (Ellen), Gary Oldman (Mossack) and Antonio Banderas (Fonseca) are the main reasons I'm not rating this lower. They stop it becoming an annoying watch. You also have Jeffrey Wright, David Schwimmer and Nonso Anozie involved too - as well as even Sharon Stone and James Cromwell.

I just didn't like the way they chose to portray everything, I appreciate what they went for but it simply didn't work for me. It's definitely one of those things, though, that will depend on the viewer - I'm sure many will find it good.

The comedy is extremely lacking, in accordance to my tastes anyway. Also, even though I praised Oldman and Banderas themselves, I found their characters particularly irritating - same goes with the ending.

Feels like it merits an inferior score and yet... A charitable 5*.

Kimi no na wa.

It's utterly gorgeous to watch
An absolutely stunning film!

There is nothing to even marginally dislike about 'Your Name'. The animation is sensational, breathtaking in fact. The amount of detail, particularly in Tokyo, is insane. It's utterly gorgeous to watch.

Then you have the magnificent story, which is filled to the brim with feeling and meaning. I felt everything that it intended me to. It's also paced to perfection and is told through two memorable characters in Taki (Ryunosuke Kamiki) and Mitsuha (Mone Kamishiraishi).

Kamiki and Kamishiraishi are excellent in the lead roles. Of course I don't understand Japanese and was using subtitles, yet I still felt every intended emotion from those two. Class from them. Of the others, Ms. Okudera (Masami Nagasawa) is the one that sticks out most to me.

If all that wasn't enough, you even have a tremendous soundtrack and score to boot. It really does all make for a fantastic viewing experience, one I will be revisiting no doubt and one I would undoubtedly recommend.

Coming to America

I didn't enjoy it as much as expected, but 'Coming to America' is nevertheless still good.

Eddie Murphy is unsurprisingly the star of the film. Any notable scenes include him, which isn't a shock given the obvious and the fact he plays a number of characters; on that note, only Akeem amused me - the barber shop guys... not so much, to be honest.

James Earl Jones (Jaffe), John Amos (Cleo) and Frankie Faison (landlord) are the most noteworthy in terms of those away from the lead, while there is even an appearance from someone named Samuel L. Jackson - what ever happened to that guy?!

I wanted/anticipated much stronger humour, if only due to Murphy's presence. I can't say I laughed that much, which is disappointing. The romance parts are probably more memorable to me, even if it's kinda familiar in those regards. With all that said, I can see why loads thoroughly enjoy this - it just didn't fully land on me, personally.

Still worth viewing and I'm very much up to see the sequel.

Fruitvale Station

Highly meaningful
A very good film about an upsetting true event.

Michael B. Jordan (Oscar) nails it in the lead role, he gives an impressive portrayal. There are a few other good performances, the most notable to me being from the excellent Octavia Spencer (Wanda) - yet to see a bad showing from her. Melonie Diaz (Sophina) is notable, too.

The story is told in a straightforward but still highly meaningful way, there are a couple of times where you could argue it's too on the nose but even then it still gave me that dreadful feeling in the pit of my stomach. The ending, meanwhile, is tough to forget due to Spencer's performance.

'Fruitvale Station' is well worth a watch.

Malcolm & Marie

Not sold on a lot of what this offers, but the acting from Zendaya and John David Washington is absolutely phenomenal
Not sold on a lot of what this offers, but the acting from Zendaya and John David Washington is absolutely phenomenal - flawless, in fact.

The aforementioned duo are truly outstanding, I loved their performances from start-to-finish; whether it the more serious bits or the more amusing parts. Great delivery, best acting I've seen in a film in a while - no word of a lie.

As noted at the top, I'm admittedly not fully sure about the rest of the film. I'm definitely not saying it's bad, disappointing or anything but I am unsure about it. Honestly though, the two leads take away any negatives I may have from the production's other departments. They elevate it, for sure.

I'd fully recommend checking out 'Malcolm & Marie' - if only for Zendaya and Washington.


Undoubtedly has its heart in the right place
It undoubtedly has its heart in the right place, but 'Moxie' is heavy-footed and cringeworthy in most areas.

I don't think anyone can disagree with what the film is attempting to shed light on, it gets kudos for what it is trying to say. However, judging it for what it is - a film - it's not good. The dialogue and the way characters act is cringey and done in a way that is so forced. It tells us what we already know, then that's it.

None of the characters stood out to me. Of course Vivian (Hadley Robinson) and Lucy (Alycia Pascual-Peña) are the two main stars of the story. The former irritates more than anything, while the latter is poorly written - e.g. for the first 15 minutes or so she's pretty unlikeable, before belatedly and out of nowhere becoming pleasant; in and around Vivian & Co. I mean, not Mitchell (Patrick Schwarzenegger) obviously.

A shorter run time as well as a bit more depth and creativity with the characters/plot would've went a long way. It's nothing absolutely terrible, granted. Lastly, cool to see 'The Walking Dead' alum Sydney Park (Kiera) involved.

Austin Powers in Goldmember

Weakest of the three in my opinion, but
Weakest of the three in my opinion, but 'Austin Powers in Goldmember' still has some memorable moments.

I enjoyed the star-studded and cameo-filled opening scene, it's well done. Mike Myers is again great in his roles, especially Dr. Evil, and Beyoncé Knowles is a positive addition. The stuff with Dr. Evil isn't as good as in the 1999 film, yet he still made me laugh a few times; he does have one of the series' best moments with the rendition of the Jay-Z song.

However, I did feel a few pacing issues. All in all, it's still worth a watch. As noted, the cameos are solid - and let's just say they chose the perfect actor to play Dr. Evil...

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Highly recommend

'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom' features great performances from Viola Davis (Ma) and Chadwick Boseman (Levee). Their characters aren't flawless, yet Davis and Boseman make them each a fascinating watch; the latter has one film-stealing scene. They both truly give their all. The other cast members, spearheaded by Colman Domingo (Cutler), are good as well.

The plot is riveting and very well told, with near perfect pacing and an astutely chosen run time; a 2hr film, for example, would've dragged. The end scene is a noteworthy one, also. There is a lot to enjoy here, even for a story filled with sadness and injustice. Highly recommend.

Johnny English Strikes Again

Overall, I found just enough that I enjoyed about this
An improvement on 'Johnny English Reborn', if still a large distance off the entertaining original.

'Johnny English Strikes Again' does feel more like the first film though, unlike the 2011 sequel. That's in positive and negative ways. The vibe of the film being one of the pluses, but one of the cons being a couple of scenes felt repeated from the original.

Rowan Atkinson (Johnny) remains the standout piece of the series, while it's good to see the previously missing Ben Miller (Bough) return. Olga Kurylenko (Ophelia) is alright, while Emma Thompson (PM) is pleasant to see.

One issue I do have with this installment is the villain, who is extremely mundane and not at all threatening, menacing or funny. The main reason why the original is so much fun, at least to me, is that you had John Malkovich absolutely perfecting the villainous role and remaining on the same level as Atkinson. In the sequels, it's basically Atkinson and that's it. Bring back Pascal Sauvage, I say.

The humour in this third release is suitably fine, despite nothing truly hilarious. There are a few good scenes, the most memorable to me being the VR one. The ending is just about passable, almost bad but not quite. Overall, I found just enough that I enjoyed about this.


'Capone' disappoints
'Capone' disappoints.

It's not what I was expecting. I hadn't heard much about it admittedly, but I was anticipating a full blown film about Al Capone - especially with the casting of Tom Hardy. That's not a bad thing in isolation, at all, but coupled with iffy storytelling it ends up being a waste.

Hardy (Al) is undoubtedly the best thing about this, yet I still think he had way more in him for this sort of role - if the filmmakers had allowed him to use it, of course. There aren't any standouts behind Hardy, though Linda Cardellini (Mae) and Kyle MacLachlan (Karlock) are OK.

There's nothing I massively dislike about this, I just wanted so much more from it. It is, I will say, at least a film that makes you think - I just don't, personally, think it came out as perhaps intended.

Singin' in the Rain

Do feel free to ignore me!
I'm clearly in the major, major minority. Honestly though, I didn't enjoy this.

It's certainly worth noting musicals are probably my least favourite genre, but I'm still more than capable of finding entertainment with them - e.g. 'The Greatest Showman', 'The Sound of Music' and others.

'Singin' in the Rain', however, simply didn't connect with me. There's one, maybe two, good songs that I had already heard, while Gene Kelly (Don) is solid fun in the lead role. The premise, minus the music, is actually very interesting, what with the silent film transition era. Given it's a musical, though, they don't delve as deep into that as I wanted.

None of the songs, aside from the previously alluded to "Singin' in the Rain", landed well with me, I kinda found them a chore to sit through to be frank. Elsewhere on the cast, aside from Kelly, I found Debbie Reynolds (Kathy) alright but Donald O'Connor (Cosmo) a little irritating - he tries too hard, for my liking. Jean Hagen (Lina) is likewise a tad annoying, though that's intentional with her to be fair.

I will acknowledge that the film, aesthetically, looks excellent. I wish I liked it more overall, but I just didn't. Do feel free to ignore me!

This Is 40

It just didn't need to be so dragged out
So bloated, if still almost good. I having nothing major against it tbh.

The cast are probably what stop me from disliking 'This Is 40'. Paul Rudd (Pete) and Leslie Mann (Debbie) are likeable and more than competent in the lead roles, while John Lithgow (Oliver) and Albert Brooks (Larry) are strong additions to this 'Knocked Up' spin-off.

The story features interesting stuff and has, just about, respectable intentions, but man is it overly long. They could've made the exact same point but with 30-40 minutes worth of fat cut out. I didn't care enough about the characters to see them for as long as I did, in short.

As alluded to, the onscreen talent do keep it bubbling along at a minimal level and, also, the music is very good. It just didn't need to be so dragged out, in my opinion.

Knocked Up

Turns into something worth watching
Has its moments.

'Knocked Up' begins with more cringe than enjoyment, but belatedly turns into something worth watching. The story is comical and silly for the most part, but gets serious here and there and ends up holding a positive message.

The cast list is absolutely stacked, there are many familiar names. Seth Rogen, Katherine Heigl, Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jason Segel, Kristen Wiig, Ken Jeong to name just some. Pretty impressive. Heck, even Don's buddy Stormy Daniels is in there.

It made me laugh in a few moments, nothing belly laugh worthy but I had fun with bits of it for sure. Rogen and Heigl are extremely solid together, the latter particularly does well. I will say the run time is a little too long, these type of comedy films tend to work best at 90mins in my opinion.


Pleasing to watch
A fascinating look about what supposedly went into 'Citizen Kane'.

'Mank', a biopic about screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, is a very good watch. A lot goes on and it's pretty much all interesting to see, admittedly you'd need to have seen the 1941 film. I like that they done this in a non-linear format and in black-and-white, à la in '41.

Kudos to the cast. Gary Oldman (Herman) is impressive, I did feel he was overacting - likewise with Amanda Seyfried (Marion) - just a little bit in parts but for the vast, vast majority he (and she) is top notch. Arliss Howard (Mayer), Lily Collins (Rita) and a few others are also pleasing to watch.

Citizen Kane

Outstanding film, no question
Outstanding film, no question.

'Citizen Kane', at least to me, feels like such a unique film in terms of how it is brought to life - I don't recall seeing anything that exactly matches it in that regard. It's thoroughly entertaining, I do love how it is crafted together. The score is terrific and the performances from the cast are excellent.

Orson Welles, the director too of course, is perfect for the titular role. He is sensational, it must be said. He makes Charles Foster Kane absolutely fascinating, despite the questionable nature of the character. I basically enjoyed everyone else who came onscreen, the more memorable ones being Joseph Cotten (Jedediah) and Dorothy Comingore (Susan) - George Coulouris (Thatcher) has a few amusing moments, also.

The editing and pacing are two other things that impressed me, as did the fantastic News on the March opening. This is one of those films that I've heard about for as long as I can remember, so I'm glad to finally get it watched - added to the fact it didn't disappoint.

The Next Karate Kid

I like it, can't lie
A surprise. I quite liked this one.

There may not be anything outstanding, or even massively good, about 'The Next Karate Kid', but I actually felt content with what I had just watched when the end credits came along. It turns into a sweet story, even after a fairly rocky start.

The villains are meh, a little iffy but fine... far better than those from 'The Karate Kid Part III', that's for sure. Pat Morita (Mr. Miyagi) is a little cliché-filled but still super endearing and likeable. A young Hilary Swank, in her first major film role, brings a solid performance as Julie. At first I wasn't convinced, but by the end I felt like I saw a positive journey with the character.

In my opinion, it's the best sequel to 1984's 'The Karate Kid'. That's a big surprise, considering the downward trajectory of the preceding two. Don't get me wrong, it's close to being a not so good film. However, for me, it just about floats above the required marker. I like it, can't lie.

The Karate Kid Part III

An irritating watch at times
I kinda like the premise, but man did I find this installment of 'The Karate Kid' to be an irritating watch at times.

Pat Morita (Mr. Miyagi) remains the best part of these films, I had a solid time watching his scenes. Behind him, though, it isn't great at all. Ralph Macchio's performance is a little annoying in this, though he isn't helped by the very poor dialogue - which is seemingly just an attempt for Macchio (Daniel) to say as many words in as little time possible in a shouty manner.

Robyn Lively (Jessica) is only there to fill yet another love interest role for Daniel, a third from three films which is actually impressive. Thomas Ian Griffith, Sean Kanan and Martin Kove play the antagonists and they are the most irritating of all - so lazily written.

As noted, I did actually slightly like the idea that it attempts. It's nothing fresh or anything close, but if done differently it could've turned into an OK watch. Unfortunately, at least in my opinion, it's the opposite.

The Karate Kid Part II

A disappointment
A disappointment.

I gained nothing from 'The Karate Kid Part II', it adds very little to the original. Pat Morita (Mr. Miyagi) is the only plus point for me, he especially has one great and emotional scene with his co-star. Otherwise, no-one else stands out - not even (the still solid) Ralph Macchio (Daniel).

Up until the ending I was actually nonplussed about it, neither liking or disliking it, but the conclusion is so uninteresting and lame that I just couldn't wait for 'The End' to appear. I will say it isn't an excruciating watch or anything, but I just expected a great deal more from this sequel. It doesn't feel attached to the first film, which is obviously a negative.

Other things that didn't help were the shoehorning out of Elisabeth Shue (Ali) & Randee Heller (Lucille) and the repetitive nature of the story; e.g. another love story that features a jock-like character, Daniel still getting battered and bruised for the majority.

Hopefully the next two follow-ups are much better.

Flora & Ulysses

Perhaps others will find enjoyment with this, fair enough if so. For me, though, it's average
Bit of a waste, in the end.

'Flora & Ulysses' isn't a bad watch, but it doesn't utilise a cool premise or a strong showing from youngster Matilda Lawler. The latter fairly impressed me, especially early on. Behind her, Ben Schwartz is OK and Alyson Hannigan is, as seemingly always, likeable.

Given how interesting the concept is, the film barely even touches on Ulysses' abilities - when they do, e.g. at the diner, then it is actually nicely created with the effects, slow motion et al. Instead they focus on a familial story, which didn't intrigue me whatsoever. I did like the comic book onscreen graphics, mind.

Perhaps others will find enjoyment with this, fair enough if so. For me, though, it's average and forgettable.

The Karate Kid

Good viewing, this
The start of 'The Karate Kid'. Good viewing, this.

I'd be lying if I didn't say I expected more from it, but that's not to say I didn't enjoy it - because I did. Coming into this I had only seen the 2010 remake, therefore I did know what was coming in certain points. Still, the plot is interesting and holds a positive message.

I would say the run time is longer than I would've chosen, I feel they could've shaved a bit off and not have taken so long to get to the karate event itself. It builds up fairly slowly, meaning the opening 40 minutes are less interesting - to me, anyway. The rest is good fun though.

I definitely sensed the 'Rocky' influence, particularly in Ralph Macchio's acting. He reminded me of Sylvester Stallone from the aforementioned film, in terms of the acting perhaps not being anything incredible but there being the required amount of likability and glimpses of hidden talent. Macchio (Daniel) is very good here, as is Pat Morita (Mr. Miyagi) of course.

Onto the sequels!

Daddy's Home 2

It needed more, but it's nothing notably worse than its predecessor which is always a positive for a sequel
Like the first film, 'Daddy's Home 2' is nothing special but isn't bad either. A fine watch, nothing more or less.

The plot doesn't have nearly as many laughs as it needs, with that said there are a couple of decent bits - and some weird parts, particularly one at the end. Talking of the end, it's very cringe. Mark Wahlberg (Dusty) is probably the best onscreen, Will Ferrell (Brad) does well enough too.

Mel Gibson (Kurt) and John Lithgow (Don) are two newcomers. Both have one or two moments, though nothing more - I liked Lithgow the most. I kinda, somewhat randomly, felt Kurt Russell would've made a much better Kurt - didn't even clock the name clash before having that thought either, funnily enough. Linda Cardellini, meanwhile, is alright.

It needed more, but it's nothing notably worse than its predecessor which is always a positive for a sequel.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Loved the first film, enjoyed the second but this third installment - while passable - leaves me with a feeling of wanting something else from it
Exactly what it says on the tin - to a fault.

Don't get me wrong, I like it. However, towards the end 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' definitely begins to drag quite heavily - the impact of what eventually happens did not, to be honest, hit as strongly as it could've/should've. The pure action is good, but there's not much to remember about everything else.

None of the characters, with the exception of Richard Armitage (Thorin) and Luke Evans (Bard) I guess, stand out amidst the wall-to-wall battle. Martin Freeman (Bilb), Ian McKellen (Gandalf) & Co. are are of little importance really, which is a shame.

'The Hobbit' series, unfortunately, gets inferior as it goes by. Loved the first film, enjoyed the second but this third installment - while passable - leaves me with a feeling of wanting something else from it. Happy to have watched them though, I'd still recommend them for sure.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

I've led with my negatives first, but I have many positives too
Still very good, but I found 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' to be a step below the preceding 2012 release.

The conclusion is what affects it the most, in my opinion. It isn't anything bad, but it goes on for too long - yet the ending itself comes out of nowhere a little. It's iffily crafted, with the entertainment value not enough to cover it up. Again, nothing anywhere near terrible... just not as great as I wanted/expected.

I also kinda wanted more scenes with Martin Freeman (Bilbo) across the midway point. I like the focus on Richard Armitage (Thorin) & Co. but I felt there needed to be more with the lead - and with Ian McKellen (Gandalf), for that matter.

I've led with my negatives first, but I have many positives too. I enjoyed the scenes in Esgaroth with Luke Evans (Bard), all of the stuff there looks awesome. The character of Tauriel, played by Evangeline Lilly, is cool. Orlando Bloom (Legolas) remains fun to watch. Everything else, including the score, is very nicely done - as anticipated.

Love the end credits song ("I See Fire") by Ed Sheeran, by the way. Not quite as grand and great as "May It Be" from LOTR, but it's pretty close!

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I thoroughly enjoyed 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey'
Of course off the level of its 'The Lord of the Rings' predecessors, but I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey'.

It has good lure to it, the plot is more than interesting, it features pleasant callbacks and - like LOTR - looks exquisite. As for the casting, I like 'em. Martin Freeman (Bilbo) is, like Elijah Wood, an actor I've always found hit-and-miss, but I really did enjoy Freeman's performance here - the humour is his usual schtick, though the rest of his showing is strong.

Ian McKellen (Gandalf) returns and is as much a joy to watch as before. None of the others, though all good, stand out massively, James Nesbitt (Bofur) does bring decent comedic stuff.

Hopefully the two sequels to this are just as fantastic!

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Delighted to see it produce on so many levels
An outstanding end to the trilogy.

I expected a lot from 'The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King' so I am delighted to see it produce on so many levels. I, funnily enough, wouldn't actually say it's necessarily the most perfect execution - what with the plot coincidences and extreme character armour. But that doesn't matter one jot whatsoever, as the story wraps up in arguably the best way - at least to watch - possible. It has so much heart and feeling to it.

The story involving the characters of Elijah Wood, Sean Astin and Andy Serkis remained the most interesting to me, I was very satisfied with how it concluded in regards to them. I also enjoyed the bits we got of Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen & Co. All that added to the beautiful look and creation of the film, with the world coming alive splendidly.

If I were to nit-pick further, I would say the run time is slightly too long. The pacing is absolutely fine, very good in fact, but I coulda done without a few of the many end scenes - a lot of which are necessary and welcome, but a couple could've been left out to allow the viewer to imagine how the world continued. That's just how I feel mind, I'm sure I'm one of only a few that think that way.

Back onto the positives: how about those battle sequences? Astonishingly good. A sensational trilogy, no question about it. I look forward to seeing 'The Hobbit' films.

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