Category Archives: 41-50%

Dolittle (2020)

“He’s just not a people person”

Directed by Stephen Gaghan
Starring Robert Downey Jr. (Avengers: Endgame), Harry Collett (Dunkirk), Antonio Banderas (Evita), Michael Sheen (Underworld: Rise of the Lycans), Emma Thompson (Men in Black International), Rami Malek (Battleship), John Cena (Bumblebee), Kumail Nanjiani (Men in Black International), Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures), Tom Holland (Spider-Man: Homecoming), Craig Robinson (Hot Tub Time Machine 2), Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Selena Gomez (Hotel Transylvania), Marion Cotillard (Assassin’s Creed) and Frances de la Tour (Alice Through the Looking Glass)

Dr John Dolittle (Downey Jr.) is a doctor who can talk to animals, and who – together with his wife, Lily (Kasia Smutniak) – travels the world, rescuing animals and bringing them back to a sanctuary granted to them by a grateful Queen Victoria (Jessie Buckley). After Lily is killed in an animated sailing incident, Dolittle becomes a recluse, until his parrot Polynesia (Thompson) leads young Stubbins (Collett) into the grounds with injured squirrel Kevin (Robinson), on the same day that Lady Rose (Carmel Laniado) enters the estate to summon Dolittle to attend the desperately ill Queen.

Continue reading Dolittle (2020)

Rebourne: Bad Boys for Life (2020)

“Ride together. Die together.”

Directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah
Starring Will Smith (Gemini Man), Martin Lawrence (Big Momma’s House), Vanessa Hudgens (Sucker Punch), Alexander Ludwig (The Seeker: The Dark is Rising), Charles Melton (The Sun is Also a Star), Paola Núñez (El cumple de la abuela), Kate del Castillo (The Book of Life), Nicky Jam (XXX: The Return of Xander Cage) and Joe Pantoliano (The Matrix)

The Original

Bad Boys was a 1995 action buddy comedy, notable as the feature debut of Michael Bay (Transformers et al), as a part of the inexorable rise to greatness of rapper and sitcom star Smith, and as pretty much the zenith of the movie career of stand up comic Lawrence. Smith and Lawrence played Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett, Miami detective sergeants in a classic and utterl unironic maverick mould. Lifelong friends, the playboyish Lowrey and happily married Burnett are forced by a series of shenanigans to swap identities to make contact with a witness (Tea Leoni) in a major heroin case. Hilarity ensued through a series of misunderstandings and a lot of people got shot.

‘Bad Boys’ by The Inner Circle – famous as the theme tune to the documentary show Cops – was their theme song.

In 2003, producer Jerry Bruckheimer went back to the well, reuniting Bay, Smith and Lawrence with co-star Joe Pantoliano as the pair’s long-suffering captain, for a case which saw them taking on Cubans, Russians and ecstasy smuggling, and throwing in some relationship drama as Mike dated Marcus’s sister Syd (Gabrielle Union), an undercover DEA agent.

I have actually never seen Bad Boys II, but it sounds like much of a type with the original.

Shit – you may have heard – just got real.

The Late Sequel

There was then a seventeen year break, before Bruckheimer got the band back together – or most of them, Bay being replaced as director by Belgian duo El Arbi and Fallah – for the obligatory ‘we are not too old for this shit’ installment.

Marcus is considering retirement after the birth of his first grandson. Mike is determined to keep going as he is, despite Marcus’s attempts to make him see that he ought to take a second chance on a relationship with fellow career cop Rita (Nunez). Meanwhile, bruxa jailbird Isabel Aretas (del Castillo) is broken out of prison by her son, Armando (Jacob Scipio), whom she sends to Miami to take revenge on those who destroyed her family, culminating with Mike Lowery.

Continue reading Rebourne: Bad Boys for Life (2020)

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

Far more than usual, SPOILER WARNINGS from the cast list onwards

“Every generation has a legend”

Directed by JJ Abrams
Starring Carrie Fisher (The Force Awakens), Mark Hamill (The Last Jedi), Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman), Daisy Ridley (Murder on the Orient Express), John Boyega (Pacific Rim: Uprising), Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina), Anthony Daniels (I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle), Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), Richard E. Grant (Logan), Lupita Nyong’o (Black Panther), Keri Russell (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Joonas Suotamo (Solo), Kelly Marie Tran (The Last Jedi), Ian McDiarmid (Dragonslayer) and Billy Dee Williams (The LEGO Batman Movie)

Oh boy. Where to begin?

Seriously, I am not even kidding about the spoilers.

DJ Emperor Palpatine (McDiarmid) is back from the dead and back on the air! Sending out a message of tyranny and despair from beyond the grave and playing some slamming Sith beats. Kylo Ren (Driver), ultimate Sith fanboy and Supreme Leader of the FIrst Order, finds him via montage and is recruited to destroy the Resistance with a super-secret fleet of Sith star destroyers, but a spy gets word to Resistance bros Finn (Boyega) and Poe (Isaac), and General Leia (Fisher) sends them, along with her apprentice, Rey (Ridley), Chewbacca (Suotamo) and C-3PO (Daniels) to find the Sith wayfinder which will allow them to assault the fleet while it is still relatively contained.

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Rebourne: Doctor Sleep (2019)

“Dare to Go Back”

Directed by Mike Flanagan
Starring Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran and Cliff Curtis

The Original

Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), an author and recovering alcoholic, is struggling with his next book, as well as the bottle. He takes a job as winter caretaker in the Overlook Hotel, a mountain lodge left empty for the season, hoping to get some writing done and reconnect with his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and son Danny (Danny Lloyd). Unfortunately, the malevolent spirit of the hotel gets its hooks into Jack, intent on destroying Danny and his paranormal abilities, the titular ‘shining’.

The Shining is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest horror movies ever made – critical opinions aside, it contains scenes which have been parodied over and over again, and had a pastiche in a Simpsons ‘Treehouse of Horror’ episode – although not by Stephen King, author of the novel on which it was based. King took issue with director Stanley Kubrik’s treatment of the original story, eventually producing a new adaptation which was a) much more faithful, and b) quite dull. He also wrote a sequel, Doctor Sleep, which eventually got an adaptation of its own.

The Late Sequel

I’ll be honest, Rose the Hat is an effectively creepy villain right up until you start hearing her name sung to the theme tune of the children’s cartoon ‘James the Cat’.

Danny ‘Doc’ Torrance (Roger Dale Floyd) begins to recover from the horrors of the Overlook Hotel when the spirit of hotel cook and fellow Shiner Dick Halloran (Carl Lumbly) teaches him to trap the ghosts that haunt him in boxes in his head. Years later, he has become an alcoholic Ewan McGregor, using booze to numb his abilities, until all-round nice guy Billy Freeman (Curtis) helps him turn his life around and he gets a job as night porter in a hospice, where he becomes known as Doctor Sleep among the patients for his ability to ease them from life when their time comes.

Continue reading Rebourne: Doctor Sleep (2019)

GEMINI MAN (2019)

“Who will save you from yourself”

Directed by Ang Lee (Hulk)
Starring Will Smith (After Earth), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), Clive Owen (Last Knights) and Benedict Wong (Doctor Strange)

Worn down by his life as a government assassin, Henry Brogan (Smith) retires, but when an old contact reveals that his last target was an innocent man, he is plunged into conflict with the US Government and PMC Gemini, led by Brogan’s former boss, Clay Varris (Owen). Teaming up with Dani (Winstead), a junior agent set to monitor his retirement, and his old buddy Baron (Wong), Brogan sets out to uncover the secrets behind his last assignment, but finds himself pursued by a younger assassin who turns out to be a younger clone of himself (also Smith).

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Ad Astra (2019)

“The Answers We Seek Are Just Outside Our Reach.”

Directed by James Gray
Starring Brad Pitt (World War Z), Donald Sutherland (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Ruth Negga (Warcraft), Liv Tyler (The Incredible Hulk) and Tommy Lee Jones (Jason Bourne)

Following a series of disasters caused by an energy surge from space, astronaut Major Roy McBride (Pitt) is assigned to travel to Mars and try to contact his father, Clifford (Jones), whose research mission to Neptune in search of extraterrestrial life may be the source of the ongoing surges.

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Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw (2019)

“This time, there is no team.”

Directed by David Leitch (Deadpool 2)
Starring Dwayne Johnson (Rampage, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), Jason Statham (The Meg, Spy), Idris Elba (The Dark Tower), Vanessa Kirby (Mission Impossible: Fallout, Kill Command), Helen Mirren (The Nutcracker and the Four Realms) and Eliza Gonzales (Baby Driver)

Nigh-unstoppable super-soldier Brixton (Elba) and his magical motorbike interrupt an MI6 mission in the heart of London to try to steal a supervirus, killing all of the agents bar one (Kirby), who escapes after injecting the virus into herself in slowly-dissolving plot-delivery devices, but is framed as the thief. The CIA tap DSS Agent Luke Hobbs (Johnson) and rogue former MI6 operative Deckard Shaw (Statham) to retrieve the virus, and the surviving agent, who is revealed to be Shaw’s sister Hattie.

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The Current War (2017*)

“Power Changes Everything

Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, Katherine Waterston, Tom Holland, Tuppence Middleton, Matthew Macfadyen and Nicholas Hoult

In the latter years of the 19th century, a feud arises as quixotic entrepreneur Thomas Edison (Cumberbatch) and industrial titan George Westinghouse (Shannon) clash over the supply of electric lighting and power. Edison has the superior electric bulbs, Westinghouse’s alternating current can supply power over a longer distance; Westinghouse seeks collaboration, but Edison is determined to retain sole control.

Continue reading The Current War (2017*)

REBOURNE: Men in Black International (2019)

“The world’s not going to save itself.

Directed by F. Gary Gray
Starring Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Rebecca Ferguson, Kumail Nanjiani, Rafe Spall, Laurent Bourgeois, Larry Bourgeois, Emma Thompson and Liam Neeson

The Original

Men in Black was a science-fiction action comedy, made on a modest budget, which became a huge sleeper hit in 1997. Pairing Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as Agents J and K, the newest and oldest field agents for the Men in Black, a secret organisation which polices alien activity on Earth, which is run as a neutral port for galactic refugees and travellers. The combination of Jones’ assured presence and the meteoric rising star of Smith – this was the role, coupled with 1996’s Independence Day, that catapulted him from surprisingly solid rapper and TV actor turned support player to bona fide superstar – with a sharp script and pacy, gonzo plot about a giant cockroach trying to steal the ultimate energy source produced a real standout of nineties SF cinema, and spawned two sequels of… less outstanding quality.

In 2002, Men in Black II spent a chunk of its runtime undoing the ending of the first movie for the sake of the magic pairing of Smith and Jones, and replaces the pathetically terrifying prospect of an impossibly tough and powerful insect in a rotting Vincent d’Onofrio suit with an alien disguised as an underwear model and trows in some unnecessary backstory and a bunch of poop and boob gags for good measure. It… wasn’t good.

Do not believe that quote.

It was to be another ten years before 2012’s Men in Black 3 added time travel and fourth-wall breaking to the mix, and threw in some more unnecessary back story as an alien supercriminal tried to pre-murder K. By this point the shine was definitely off, and as good as Smith and Jones are, they really didn’t seem to give a shit anymore.

Calls for another sequel were virtually non-existent, but the franchise had just enough juice left for another run to be considered worthwhile. With Smith and Jones unwilling, unavailable, or just because the response to MIB 3 was so disappointing, the studio opted for a soft reboot that would expand the franchise to an international stage and be called… Men in Black International.

The Soft Reboot

In 1996, Molly Wright meets an alien, and sees her parents neuralised by the MIB. Twenty years later, Agents H (Hemsworth) and High T (Neeson) face an attempted invasion by an alien force called the Hive at the gateway to (Tomorrowland) at the top of the Eiffel Tower. Three years after that, Molly (Thompson), having failed to get the FBI or the CIA to recruit her to ‘the department that deals with up there,’ finally manages to track down the MIB in New York, where Agent O (other Thompson) recruits her as a probationary agent with the designation ‘M’.

Continue reading REBOURNE: Men in Black International (2019)

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016)

“Evil Comes Home”

Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
Starring Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts, Ruby Rose, Eoin Macken, William Levy and Iain Glen

Dr James Marcus, a scientist seeking a cure for his daughter’s progeria, creates the T-virus, Umbrella Corporation, and programs his daughter’s personality into the AI known as the Red Queen, before losing control of all he has created to A-list swine Dr Alexander Isaacs (Glen) and his hired goon Albert Wesker (Roberts).

That’s right: It’s backstory time!

Continue reading Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016)