Ever since I was a kid, I have had a fascination with Dracula. I even used to tell people that he was my father and I had a pretty convincing argument as to why – having been adopted from Romania and not knowing who my biological father actually was, it could totally be true! So when I heard about this new take on the infamous vampire and his familiar, I knew I had to check it out.
Renfield (Nicholas Holt), the titular character in our story, is tired of doing Dracula’s (Nicolas Cage) bidding after countless years. Wanting to make it on his own, he finds a new apartment, changes his look and even strikes up an unlikely friendship with cop Rebecca Quincy (Awkwafina). But Renfield’s dreams of starting over won’t be easy, not only thanks to his blood-thirsty boss, but also because of a mix up with drug lord Teddy Lobo (Ben Schwartz) and his family.
What worked really well here was the over the top gore. While some elicited some ews from me, it fit with the tone of the movie and made for a really fun time. I have to give props to the make up team because they absolutely aced it. Going hand in hand were the fight sequences which were just as out there, especially when Renfield would possess his master’s powers and acquire some crazy killer moves.
I’ve seen Holt in a variety of roles over the years and think he’s a fine actor. He carried this film on his back and delivered a solid performance. Cage, on the other hand, was the scene stealer. He’s such an enigmatic actor and you could tell that he gave his all to this performance. I wish we’d seen more of him.
Although at times it seemed as if the film didn’t really know what genre it was trying to be, I thought it was still an overall fun time. The camp and bloodshed were highlights though I think it could have been even darker and it still would have worked just as well. That being said, I had a good time and would not be opposed to seeing more of these characters adventures in the future.
Dom (David Jonsson) has just been dumped and he’s not handling it well. While at the art exhibit of a friend, he runs into Yas (Vivian Oparah). She also just got out of a long term relationship, but as opposed to him, she’s handling it like a champ. The two hit it off and spend the rest of the day together.
Directed by Raine Allen-Miller in a brilliant debut, Rye Lane is the stuff that romantic comedies dream of. I loved learning about Dom and Yas as they peeled back their layers and related to them immensely. Break ups are hard and the way in which they depict what each has done to them was raw and emotional. Though their experiences may seem different on the surface, they have more in common than one may think.
Just as Dom and Yas are our main characters, I have to say that South London itself is a third. The movie is a love letter to the city as we see various areas throughout the course of the film. I really enjoyed this take, reacquainting myself with familiar spots while learning about new ones along the way. Going hand in hand with the cinematography, the environment is filled with a colorful vibrancy that really worked in an authentic way.
Where this movie excels is in its message. In the age of social media, you’d think it’d be easier to connect with people, but in fact, the opposite has proven to be correct. True human connections are harder to come by than ever before and that is why this friendship is so magnetic to watch. With a tight knit script, jokes that actually land and a lot of heart, Rye Lane is a total home run.
Everybody knows Tetris. To this day, it is one of the most successful games ever and it is still loved by many. But what a lot of people don’t know is the story behind its creation.
The year is 1988 and Henk Rogers (Taron Egerton) is going after Tetris. Unfortunately for him, there’s a long line of people who want the game for exactly the same reasons as he does. Deciding to travel to the Soviet Union, he hopes to join forces with creator Alexey Pajitnov (Nikita Efremov) to bring the game to the masses.
I was one of the many kids who grew up playing Tetris on my Gameboy. That adrenaline that would be pumping through my veins when I’d be close to beating a level – there was nothing like it. I never stopped to think of what went on behind the scenes to get this game into the hands of everyone around the world.
While at times the events in the movie were exaggerated, it did help move the story along at a nice enough pace that I never felt bored. Instead, I became invested in what was unfolding in front of me and I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next, even if I couldn’t stop myself from thinking all of this over a game? But then again, what do I know?
Egerton was brilliant in the role of Henk Rogers. Not only did he exude a charisma that sucked in the audience, his passion for the part helped make everything that much more authentic. I’ve always liked him as an actor and I believe he chooses projects that you would never expect. Another standout for me was Efremov who, as a native, was the perfect fit for Pajitnov. Additionally, his chemistry with Egerton was spot on and I kind of wish we’d seen more of them together.
Paired with a brilliant soundtrack filled with fun covers of popular hits to the way in which each chapter was broken up into a video game design, Tetris was a much better watch that I’d given it credit for. The delightful performances, twisty storyline and fast pace made it an enjoyable watch.
Sometimes a movie sequel will come along and not only meet the expectations of its predecessor, but can actually surpass it too. Unfortunately this was not the case with Murder Mystery 2.
Now full time detectives, Nick (Adam Sandler) and Audrey (Jennifer Aniston) are struggling to get their PI business off the ground. When they are invited to their friend, the Maharajah’s, (Adeel Akhtar) wedding to Claudette (Mélanie Laurent) on a beautiful private island, they think it’ll be a much deserved vacation. But trouble finds them when the Maharajah is kidnapped. Suddenly everyone is a suspect and it is up to the Spitzes to solve the case.
It has been four years since the first caper was released and I remember being surprised as to how much I enjoyed it. The chemistry between Sandler and Aniston was palpable and the mystery was interesting enough to keep me entertained the whole way through. When I heard that they were making a sequel, I wasn’t even hesitant about it because I figured it’d be more or less the same fun time I had before. Unfortunately, as it just so happens, I should have had some reservations after all.
First of all, the pacing here was way off. It took forever for something exciting to happen and in between all the crazy car chases and explosions were some unneeded filler that simply wasn’t necessary. I wasn’t as invested in the overall mystery this time around either and could not get behind rooting for any of the other players in the story, even if one of them was portrayed by Mark Strong.
Even the antics of Nick and Audrey weren’t as authentic as before. The slapstick comedy was turned up a few notches too high, making it more annoying than charming and I wanted to turn it off on more occasions than one.
Netflix films are notorious for being less than stellar, but this is one of the worst ones I have seen to date. Everything about it just felt wrong. It was a slog to get through, the comedy wasn’t funny at all and the whole act just felt tired. I know that they kept things open for a potential third instalment, but I really hope they decide against it.
From writer and director Zach Braff comes A Good Person. Allison (Florence Pugh) is about to marry Nathan (Chinaza Uche), the man of her dreams, when she is involved in a car crash that kills her would be sister and brother in law. While the accident is what starts the events that causes Allie’s life to fall apart, it is ultimately her addiction to opioids that causes her to hit rock bottom.
There are some dark moments that occur throughout the film. This is an addiction that many people struggle with in the US and I considered this to be an interesting glance into someone’s potential reality. But through the hardships, there are also some much needed moments that will make you laugh out loud and root for these characters. I have to commend Braff here for perfectly balancing the two with his script.
At the helm of the film is Pugh. In arguably the best performance of her career to date, I was completely encapsulated with her. She does everything she possibly can to be a convincing addict, going to places that sometimes scared me and she sings! If someone doesn’t give this woman an award soon, I don’t know what I’ll do. Opposite Pugh is Morgan Freeman, who portrays Nathan’s father Daniel. His chemistry with Pugh is delightful to watch and his poignancy in the role was so appreciated. And of course, I cannot leave out Molly Shannon as Allie’s mom Diane who provides a lot of comedic moments and Celeste O’Connor as Ryan, Nathan’s niece and Daniel’s granddaughter who is a scene stealer.
While I may not go rushing back to watch A Good Person anytime soon only because of how heavy it was, I have that it was one of the best surprises I have had at the cinema all year. I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did, but with its brilliant performances and the way in which it dealt with the subject matter, it was an important watch that I will always remember.
Learning how to juggle the superhero powers that were bestowed upon them at the the end of 2019’s Shazam!, Billy Batson (Asher Angel) and the rest of his foster siblings (Grace Caroline Currey, Jack Dylan Grazer, Faithe Herman, Ian Chen and Pedro Peña) are enjoying their alter egos (Zachary Levi, Adam Brody, Ross Butler, D. J. Cotrona and Meagan Good) while looking after the people of their hometown. But when the Daughters of Atlas arrive on Earth in search of magic that was stolen from them long ago, the Shazam! team will be tested more than ever before.
I was a huge fan of first Shazam! film. To this day, I think it is one of the stronger entries in the DC universe with its found family trope, funny one liners and great ensemble cast. I remember wanting to be a part of this group and couldn’t wait for more. With many delays, the sequel Fury of the Gods finally hit theatres this weekend and I can say that it was mostly worth the wait.
Where the film excels is once again in the aspects that I appreciated so much the first time around. The cast, helmed by Levi, is top notch delivering many laugh out loud and heartwarming moments. As for the kids, while the focus was more on Freddy this time around, I feel like it fit with the overall story. We already know a lot about Billy, so it made sense for us to learn more about some of his siblings. I also really liked having Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu and Rachel Zegler come to play as the villains. They completely owned their roles and Zegler, in particular, was a welcome treat that I hope we will have more of in the future.
With some pretty good CGI and never ending action, Shazam! Fury of the Gods is a good time for the whole family. Sure, they try to cram in too much into the two hours and ten minutes and there are a lot of characters to keep track of this time around, but it is still true to its predecessor. The future of DC may be up in the air at the moment, but I do hope this isn’t the last we will see of these characters that we have come to know and love.
The four survivors of the previous Ghostface killings Sam (Melissa Barrera), Tara (Jenna Ortega), Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) and Chad (Mason Gooding) leave Woodsboro behind for a fresh start in New York City. Their hopes of life returning to normal are quickly dashed when a new foe dons the Ghostface mask. Once again, it is up to the gang to find out who it is and put a stop to them before it’s too late.
As someone who only recently got into the Scream franchise, I was beyond excited to watch the newest instalment in cinemas. There are some movies that deserve to be seen on the big screen and this is one of them. With early critics boasting that this is the strongest entry to date, I knew I had to witness it for myself; and I have to say that I agree!
The story kicked off rather quickly and with it the blood, gore and jump scares. It’s like they were all amped up to a million and at times I could barely hold my breath at what was unfolding in front of me. Just when I thought the situation was going to calm down, something else would happen that would completely throw me off again.
While I was initially concerned over the fact that our beloved scream queen Neve Campbell would not return for the film, I have to admit that the way in which they explained her absence worked well. Sidney does deserve a happy ending and I’m glad she finally got one. I’ve become quite attached to our new ‘core four’ – Barrera has proven herself as a worthy leading lady and I love everything and anything that Ortega does. It was so great having Kirby (Hayden Panettiere) back as well as Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) who really shined this time around.
Scream VI had big shoes to fill. As a new fan, my expectations were sky high and I’m so glad they were exceeded. There were a lot of thrills, chills and unexpected moments and while part of the big reveal was predictable, I still enjoyed the shit out of it. You don’t expect franchise films to get better over time, but this one is constantly surprising me and I hope we have many more instalments to come in the future.
From the people who brought you Love Actually and Bridget Jones’s Diary comes new romantic comedy What’s Love Got To Do With It? Zoe (Lily James) is an award winning documentary maker whose next project is to film lifelong neighbor and best friend Kaz’s (Shazad Latif) journey into an assisted marriage.
I loved every single thing about this movie.
It was charming and funny, which wasn’t a surprise. The cast lend a hand in that, particularly with the likes of Emma Thompson who stars as Zoe’s mom Cath and Mo the Matchmaker (Asim Chaudhry) who has a couple of scene stealing scenes. The script is witty with many laugh out loud moments as well as some heartwarming ones too.
In addition, it was very educational. I learned about the Pakistani culture which is super vibrant and colorful; it’s people bursting at the seams with pride. I also took in all the information about assisted marriage. Like Zoe, I thought this was something that was outdated and old fashioned. Turns out I was wrong – not only is it still very much a thing, but it has had quite a high success rate over the years. I don’t blame Kaz for wanting to follow in his parents’ and brothers’ footsteps in that regard.
What also worked was the chemistry between James and Latif. I’ve been a fan of the former ever since I saw her in 2015’s version of Cinderella and I always wish she’d star in more projects. As for Latif, he nicely balanced her out and I was waiting in bated breath for them to realize their true feelings for one another.
What’s Love Got To Do With It? ticked all the boxes for me. I had the biggest smile on my face throughout and I definitely think it will become one of those British classics that I will revisit time and time again.
If Casper had a baby, it would be We Have A Ghost. Based on the short story Ernest by Geoff Manaugh and adapted into a film by Christopher Landon, the film follows the Presley family who move into a dusty old home that just so happens to inhabit a ghost. Youngest son, Kevin (Jahi Winston) isn’t afraid however and the two strike up a friendship. Unfortunately Kevin’s dad Frank (Anthony Mackie) gets himself in too deep, looking to turn the ghost into a social media sensation.
David Harbour as the phantom Ernest and is truly the soul of the movie. As he isn’t actually able to speak, each emotion is conveyed by facial expressions. I thought this would get tiresome, but it just goes to show that Harbour was a great choice for the role. The relationship that formed between Ernest and Kevin carried the film; Kevin considers Ernest to be just a regular guy and is totally devoted to helping him.
The rest of the cast do a decent enough job. Mackie, in an unlikable role as a father who just doesn’t seem to really get it, is convincing. It was also a lot of fun to have the incomparable Jennifer Coolidge as psychic Judy Romano. She wasn’t featured in many scenes, but when she was on screen, she shone bright. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for Tig Notaro who once again seemed out of place in a subplot that I didn’t quite feel was necessary.
While the pacing was a bit all over the place, especially in the second half, and I did not understand the point of the CIA storyline, there was something heartwarming about We Have A Ghost. I’ve always loved the found family trope and this time around was no exception. This may not be a movie I’ll be running back to watch anytime soon, but it was one I had a good time with in the moment.
Kicking off Phase Five comes the third entry in the Ant-Man franchise. Everybody’s favorite little guy Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is adjusting to life post Avengers superhero. When his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) tampers with a machine that she is not supposed to, the whole family are sucked into the Quantum Realm. There, they not only come across a bunch of strange creatures, but must battle a new foe.
One of the reasons why we enjoy these movies is because they don’t take themselves too seriously. There’s plenty of jokes and quirky scenarios, but this time around, the pacing was different. With an uneven first half that took a bit too long to get going, the film has a heavy focus on science. As the science element is totally elevated, it would make sense for there to be more CGI than ever before and at times I felt like it was too over the top.
I liked how Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet Van Dyne was given more to do this time around. The whole plot centred around her and it was interesting to learn about her time stuck in the realm. Rudd was obviously back as the titular character and just as funny as ever. Also, how does this man not age? I don’t get it! I liked the addition of Newton as Cassie and look forward to seeing more of her in future films. As for Michael Douglas as Hank and Evangeline Lily as Hope, I was disappointed to see that they were sidelined. You’d think the latter, especially, would at least be featured more considering the fact that her name is in the film’s title. The standout for me, however, was Jonathan Majors as new big bad Kang. He was everything that I hoped he would be and while this film only served as a sort of introduction to his character, I am so excited to see what happens with him next.
Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania was not one of the strongest entries into the MCU, but it was an entertaining one nonetheless. There were too many special effects and I could have done without a particular side character who as tacky, cringey and added nothing to the story. Overall, I think it was a good enough set up for what’s to come.