Babylon

From director Damien Chazelle comes a vibrant and absolutely bonkers ode to cinema. Set in the 1920s, it follows a handful of Hollywood hopefuls as the industry transitions from silent films to talkies. As we see their rises, their falls and everything in between, one thing is for certain: you must always make a scene.

I wasn’t sure what to make of Babylon when I first heard about it. Aside from its boastful cast, it seemed like one giant spectacular that seemed too good to be true. I knew I had to see it for myself though, especially considering how polarizing the critics have been about it. And I think because I went into it with low expectations, I ended up absolutely loving it.

Starting off with a bang and not letting up a moment too soon, this really worked for me. Was it completely and totally batshit crazy? Yes! Was it full of debauchery and sometimes unsettling sequences? Also yes! But it was also very funny, smart and it managed to charm the socks off me.

Margot Robbie was the star – just like her character Nellie LaRoy, she gave the performance of a lifetime. Brad Pitt also knocked it out of the park as Jack Conrad, while Diego Calva brought a much needed air of naivety to the story. I wouldn’t be surprised if they all ended up getting nominations of some sort for their hard work. I also enjoyed the additions of Jean Smart, Jovan Adepo, Tibet Maguire and Li Jun Li.

My only complaint about Babylon is that it was a smidge too long. At around the two hour and thirty minute mark, my body started to feel it. I think they definitely could have trimmed some scenes here and there to tighten it up. Aside from that, this film was truly epic. The way it gripped me early on and never let go was something I hadn’t felt in a long time. The cast sucked me into their characters’ stories and the love letter to movies resonated with me one hundred per cent. I highly recommend checking this one out.

Rating: ♥️♥️♥️♥️.5

Bullet Train

Ladybug (Brad Pitt) is an assassin who has been unlucky in his latest missions. Now he finds himself on a train going from Tokyo to Kyoto where all he wants to do is his job. What he doesn’t bargain for is the many other assassins that are traveling along with him, all for their own purposes. What started off as something seemingly easy turns out to be the complete opposite.

One of the summer’s hottest blockbusters, Bullet Train is an action adventure romp that doesn’t let up for one moment. It starts off with a bang and keeps going until the credits roll. The fight sequences, in particular, were entertaining and exciting. Sometimes it was as if they came from a comic book and while the gore was pretty graphic, it was executed in a way that made it funny.

Brad Pitt is one of the best actors of our generation and he knocked it out of the park as Ladybug. He carried the movie on his back and had great interactions with his fellow costars. Other standouts for me include Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry) and Tangerine (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). They captured every scene they were in and made me laugh constantly. I wish we’d had more of them because they were just that good. And while we didn’t see much of her, I loved Sandra Bullock’s role as Maria, Ladybug’s handler.

The movie may have boasted even more well known names such as Joey King, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon, Bad Bunny, Logan Lerman and Zazie Beetz but they weren’t featured nearly as much as I would have liked. I guess that is one of the downsides of having such a large cast of characters. There were a couple here that we didn’t learn anything about which was a pity.

With bright neon lights and a killer soundtrack complete with Japanese covers of Stayin’ Alive and Holding Out For A Hero, Bullet Train sucked me into a thrilling adventure. There were a couple of twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat and while it was totally bonkers at times, I was able to let go and get lost in it.

Rating: ♥♥♥

The Lost City

Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock), a novelist who is well known for her romance novels, is beginning to question her future in the industry. While on tour for her latest book with her cover model Alan (Channing Tatum), Loretta is kidnapped by billionaire Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe) who is convinced that she can lead him to the treasure from her story. Alan, willing to do whatever it takes to prove that he is more than a pretty face to Loretta, sets off on a journey to save her.

What makes The Lost City such a fun romp is its cast. With Sandra Bullock’s triumphant return to romcoms, this is one that is not to be missed. Her chemistry with Channing Tatum was surprisingly sweet and enjoyable to watch on screen. However, Daniel Radcliffe was the scene stealer here. His bratty portrayal of Fairfax was a total hoot; please cast him in more mainstream roles in the future! Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Loretta’s publisher Beth provided some extra comic relief and how can I leave out Brad Pitt’s cameo? He should have had a larger role in the film for sure.

The movie started off with some great jokes and one liners, though that did seem to dwindle as the plot progressed. I understand that the adventure element was just as important, but it would have been nice to have more of a balance. I did appreciate how the quest came together and to see all the beautiful landscapes was just breathtaking.

The Lost City was one of my most anticipated titles of the year and it definitely delivered. It’s perfect for date night too. Part action adventure and part romance, it has something for everyone to appreciate.

Rating: ♥♥♥