Crazy Rich Asians – Film #77

For Richer? Or For Poorer?

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Title – Crazy Rich Asians
Certificate – 12A
Director – Jon M. Chu
Writers – Peter Chiarelli & Adele Lim (Screenplay), Kevin Kwan (Based on the novel by)
Cast Constance Wu (Rachel Chu), Henry Golding (Nick Young), Michelle Yeoh (Eleanor Young), Awkwafina (Peik Lin Goh)
Plot – This contemporary romantic comedy, based on a global bestseller, follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family.

So I always use the plot taken from IMDb to populate the above, but that doesn’t do this film any justice at all.

What this film revolves around is Rachel is a Chinese American, a master of Economics, who has been dating Nick Young for around a year without ever knowing he was the heir to a huge Dynasty back in Singapore. The reason he hasn’t told her is that his family are pretty clear that they do not like outsiders. This is where the whole film lies, in that “fish out of water” tale of Rachel trying to be accepted by his family and struggling massively.

Michelle Yeoh as Nick’s disapproving mother is both sincere yet scheming at all times. She doesn’t want this girl from America to come into the family and clearly makes her feelings known.

Then there’s Rachel’s old college friend Peik Lin Goh, who, along with her whole family, provide almost all the movie’s comedy moments…and there’s a fair few scattered around there.

At it’s heart, its a love story, which is what I expect the original novel is in it’s entirety, but with that spattering of laughs, it keeps it grounded and well rounded.

I enjoyed it. It did feel a tad long towards the end, but with everything from comedy, to romance, to some spectacular shots of Singapore which really made me fancy holidaying there, there was enough to keep me entertained.

3.5/5

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Searching – Film #76

Found? Or Lost?

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Title – Searching
Certificate – 12A
Director – Aneesh Chaganty
Writers – Aneesh Chaganty & Sev Ohanian
Cast John Cho (David Kim), Michelle La (Margot), Joseph Lee (Peter), Debra Messing (Detective Vick)
Plot – After his 16-year-old daughter goes missing, a desperate father breaks into her laptop to look for clues to find her.

Perfectly executed thriller, Searching takes the audience on an edge of the seat ride.

It’s tense and exciting…if you didn’t absolutely nail the ending about halfway through. But for me, that didn’t take too much away from the film itself.

Made to look entirely like it’s made up of images from a laptop screen, the film uses Facetime calls, emails, messenger chats and Facebook feeds to help tell the story of David Kim searching for his daughter who has gone missing.

It quickly becomes apparent that David knows very little about his daughters life, and everything starts to unravel as he strives to find out where she might be. Detective Vick, a top cop in her field comes in to help him find what might have happened and piece together the pieces of his daughter’s life.

As I say, it is definitely edge of the seat in some parts. It is a little clunky in others, but overall, it’s a great film that I would recommend to absolutely anyone.

Bear in mind that a huge portion of the film needs to be read, so ensure you have those glasses with you if you need them to read the words on the screen.

Go see it…don’t look anything up about it…enjoy it

4/5

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American Animals – Film #75

Heist of the century, or Daylight Robbery?

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Title – American Animals
Certificate – 15
DirectorBart Layton
WritersBart Layton
Cast Evan Peters (Warren), Blake Jenner (Chas), Barry Keoghan (Spencer), Jared Abrahamson (Eric) & The Real Warren, Chase, Spencer and Eric as themselves
Plot – Four young men mistake their lives for a movie and attempt one of the most audacious heists in U.S. history.

This is based on a true story

You probably haven’t heard of this film, nor of the real life events that they are based on.

This is the true story of four college kids who hatch a plan to steal a collection of extremely rare books worth millions of dollars.

Naturally, they are not adept at planning the perfect heist, so struggle to make it work.

What this film does brilliantly is the interplay between the actors playing the parts of the college guys and their real life counterparts. There’s contradictions in their stories that they work really well into the “Recreation” footage to blend it all together, so as an audience member, you are never really sure of whose version of events is the actual version that happened.

This way of storytelling happens early on, and towards the end of the film seems to be forgotten, replaced by a much simpler movie-telling of the story.

I really enjoyed the film. I thought all four of the main actors really captured the mood and feelings of the real guys. It all fits together really well and not know anything about the true story really helped me go on the journey with them all. They build the character arcs really well, from what is initially a goofy idea by a couple of schoolkids, which soon becomes an internal struggle to figure out how to pull off a heist without hurting anyone or getting caught.

I also enjoyed how the movie referenced a lot of other heist films. Reservoir Dogs is fairly prominent, as is an Ocean’s 11-esque perfect-plan scene. There’s even references to Jaws, Shawshank Redemption and The Matrix, along with an on-TV scene from The Killing, a 50’s Film Noir Heist movie by Stanley Kubrick (and one I am adding to my list of “need to watch”).

Does this need to be watched in the cinema? Absolutely not
Will you enjoy it when it hits VHS? Yes you will.

3.5/5

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The Happytime Murders – Film #74

Happy Ending or Furry Flop?

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Title – The Happytime Murders
Certificate – 15
Director – Brian Henson
Writers – Todd Berger (Screenplay/Story) & Dee Austin Robertson (Story)
Cast Melissa McCarthy (Detective Connie Edwards), Elizabeth Banks (Jenny), Maya Rudolph (Bubbles), Leslie David Baker (Lt Banning)
Plot – When the puppet cast of an ’90s children’s TV show begin to get murdered one by one, a disgraced LAPD detective-turned-private eye puppet takes on the case.

Straight off, let me first say that this film has been getting Universally panned. It has come in for a lot of flack from critics and public alike…but today in a fairly packed (yet small) cinema, I had one of the most fun 90 minutes of all the films I have seen this year.

It’s crude…it’s VERY crude, and if you have seen any of the redband trailers going into this, you can see why. There’s an insane amount of gross-out comedy which always goes too far in that way which makes it even funnier. There’s loads of violence, except it’s puppets getting their heads blown off so it’s pretty comical, yet as it’s telling a story, there’s some genuine feels in there.

Melissa McCarthy is actually on form here too. She’s funny, but most of the comedy comes from any of the puppets doing ridiculously, and more crude things as the film goes on.

Raised loads of laughs, and genuinely made me enjoy this trip to the cinema.

4/5

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Hotel Translyvania 3 : A Monster Vacation – Film #73

Hotel Transylvania, or Fawlty Towers?

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Title – Hotel Transylvania : A Monster Vacation
Certificate – U
Director – Genndy Tartakovsky
Writers – Michael McCullers & Genndy Tartakovsky
Cast – Adam Sandler (Dracula), Andy Samberg (Johnny), Selena Gomez (Mavis), Kevin James (Frank), Keegan-Michael Key (Murray)
Plot – Count Dracula and company participate in a cruise for sea-loving monsters, unaware that their boat is being commandeered by the monster-hating Van Helsing family.

For me, the Hotel Transylvania films were just OK. Nothing spectacular, not as funny as the Shrek films and not as endearing as most Pixar offerings.

But Hotel Transylvania 3 ramps everything up to 11.

First of all, it’s funny…very funny, which really engages you in the film. It’s all about the side characters creating the best moments, like the kids trying to hide the fact they have smuggled a 20ft Pug onto the boat, or the Jelly being the fall guy every time someone is trying to take Dracula out.

The action moves out of the Hotel and onto (in the words of the characters) “a hotel, on the water!” It really benefits from a change of scenery too, allowing the writers to come up with loads more outrageous concepts…for example, Gremlin Air, the plane which takes them all to the Bermuda Triangle, being overrun with devious gremlins causing all kinds of carnage, even blowing up one of the engines to bring the plane into land. It’s literally like flying Jet 2…see for yourself.

This film is a fantastic addition to the franchise. It made me laugh so much more than it’s predecessors and I would rather watch this one again in the coming years, than watch the first two.

3.5/5

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ScreenX @ Cineworld Leeds

ScreenX is here!

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What is it?

There you have it, ScreenX has landed. The latest in cinema technology, allowing cinemas to project movies in up to 270°, immersing you in the movies.

How do they do it?

So the cinema had to raise the roof slightly, fitting four projectors to steel girders above. The four projectors are aimed at the side walls, two for each wall. The walls are covered with a special fabric which holds the image. At certain points throughout the film (bear in mind it’s not 100% of the film), the side screens begin to show extended images down the side of the cinema.

The Good Bits

Immersion within a movie is truly fantastic. You can see from the above video that it really puts you into the action. There’s stuff going on all around you, allowing you to look beyond what you would normally see on the centre screen.

When there’s movement on the screen, you really do feel the sweeping movement of the cameras as the room literally feels like it’s moving, without inducing any kind of nausea.

One thing I also REALLY liked, which someone I was with didn’t realise had happened, was that the images on the Side Screens were different in some parts of the films. So in The Nun that I saw in Preview, there’s a moment where a character is trapped in a coffin and is going crazy trying to get out. The two side images switched away from just being extensions of the screen and showed other images, which really conveyed the madness the character on screen was experiencing. This could be used to very good effect down the line in other films.

And finally, one good effect is when the Side Screens are not being used, then all of a sudden turn on. This was used in The Nun to great effect during a couple of the jump scares when those screens suddenly came on just as the action on the main screen made the necessary horror-style scare.

The Bad Bits

Here we go. Unfortunately there are a few…

Firstly, with two projectors on each side of the screen, naturally you are going to have some overlap of the two images that are being projected onto the wall. Because of this, when the side screens are not in use, there is a band of light down the middle of the side walls. I noticed it instantly and it was a little off-putting once I knew it was there. However, once the film is being projected onto those screens, you do lose a lot of that overlap light, but The Nun is a dark film…so it was still noticable.

Secondly, the brightness of the side screens seems a little turned down from the main screen, meaning the image can be noticeably different.

Thirdly we weren’t quite sat in the centre of the screen. Because of this, the right hand wall was much closer to us than the left side was. It actually made it fairly hard to see some of the action on the wall closer to us, and the angle of it can be a little annoying. However, the darkness of this film didn’t help.

In Summary

ScreenX is innovative and fun. The Preview film was a better production than The Nun, so I expect it suffered because of it.

I think any film with more colour and more light to it will be fantastic on these screens. There’s mention that Aquaman may be shown on these screens and that would go down really well.

I would highly recommend seeing something in this screen, but bear in mind that not everything will look as good as everything else on the screens.

 

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The Nun – Film #72

Heaven or Hell?

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Title – The Nun
Certificate – 15
Director – Corin Hardy
Writers – Taissa Farmiga (Sister Irene), Demián Bichir (Father Burke), Jonas Bloquet (Frenchie), Bonnie Aarons (The Nun)
Plot – A priest with a haunted past and a novice on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate the death of a young nun in Romania and confront a malevolent force in the form of a demonic nun.

She’s back!

So I saw this movie on the brand new ScreenX at Cineworld in Leeds…I will be creating another post about ScreenX, I will review the film here.

Straight out of the Conjuring Universe (why does everything have to have a “Universe” now?) is The Nun. She follows Annabelle into the spin offs of the series. I haven’t seen Annabelle, but I am reliably informed it’s naff.

Is the Nun naff?

In short…yeah it is somewhat.

I enjoyed the Conjuring movies. They were scary haunted house romps with some genuine scares. Unfortunately, The Nun is a formulaic baptism of fire.

Nothing new is offered in this film. The trope of having a priest with a troubled past is thrown in there for zero reason than having a secondary evil presence in the movie which is not necessarily needed. The “coming of age” of the young religious character in Sister Irene is overdone, and very weak jump scares all add up to something very lacklustre.

I wanted it to be scary, it wasn’t.

I wanted it to be a good addition to the Conjuring Universe, it wasn’t.

I wanted to be on the edge of my seat and I wasn’t.

Also, another oddness…Sister Irene was played by Taissa Farmiga who is the younger sister of Vera Farmiga who played Lorraine Warren in The Conjuring movies….yet there’s zero link in the film to that, despite them both being deeply religious with clairvoyant abilities…..I feel like they were potentially going to explore something here that never materialised but as they were too far down the line with the casting, they couldn’t turn back

2/5

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