DISTRICT 9Nailed it, bailed it or failed it?Let’s play!
Writing: NAILED IT!The highly original story features strong political undertones, emphatic characters and a gritty realism, which all contribute to the down-to-earth atmosphere present during most of the runtime. The basic storyline itself is, for the most part, quite classic in its basic themes, but it manages to be powerful and scary as well.Despite starting out as a mockumentary, introducing the realistic storytelling that becomes the groundwork for the rest of the film, the final act is more akin to a science fiction war flick. Those aliens are probably the most fleshed out and human aliens we’ve seen in a very long time. Some of them are bad, and others are nor, just like humans.
Characters and Acting: NAILED IT!The cast is comprised of largely unknown actors, with debuting Sharlto Coupley in an impressive leading role. Coupley’s input is what makes this movie extremely memorable, particularly when he starts to descend into the realms of madness. Coupley largely carries the weight of the film on his own shoulders, but his performance is so enjoyable and so impressive that it really doesn’t matter.The prawn aliens are the most interesting - and in many ways most human - characters in the film. They fit seamlessly into the world of the film and by making us know very little about them, they become mystical and creepy. The rest of the cast doesn’t leave any lasting impressions, but they manage their parts well.
Direction: NAILED IT!Overall, Neil Blomkamp’s directorial debut is a strong feat, utilizing both the gritty landscapes of a South-African ghetto and the talented cast to weave a memorable and enjoyable film. The documentary style present at the beginning of the film creates a high tempo for the first half of the film, and make some things confusing to follow. This style is slowly pushed aside in favor of a more traditional type of storytelling which, while fully understandable from a storytelling perspective, is kind of a shame considering that the mockumentary parts make this film original in comparison with the plethora of other similar movies.
Visuals: NAILED IT!Highly impressive, incredibly realistic and so slick it’s almost hard to believe it’s all actually CGI. The setting and the set decoration closely resembles Tatooine from the Star Wars films.
Sound: NAILED IT!The alien clicking language is surprisingly beautiful and the music fits perfectly into the mood of the film.
Pacing: BAILED IT!It takes a while to find its footing, throughout the fast-paced and somewhat confusing first act. When the documentary style is dropped, the film settles down on one direction and continues its brisk pace but stays significantly more comprehensive in its storytelling.
Themes: NAILED ITApartheid and xenophobia, madness, man vs. alien, neither man nor alien is wholly bad or good - big and familiar themes packaged in a original and interesting package.
Atmosphere: NAILED IT!It’s realistic, it’s violent and it’s gritty. It’s like Ridley Scott and James Cameron sat down to make movie together.
Rewatchability: NAILED IT!Come for the original story, the interesting setting and the high tempo, stay for the undisputed realism, wonderful prawn aliens and killer performances.
Expectations: NAILED IT!I went into his film expecting a different take on the sci-fi genre and what I got was a highly unique masterpiece of storytelling.
Bottom line: NAILED IT!This highly original, incredibly realistic and vastly memorable sci-fi mockumentary goes from a documentary style to all out war and is strengthened by amazing performances.
JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAINNailed it, bailed it or failed it?Let’s play!
Writing: FAILED ITThe story is pretty much the same as in the first two films, and some kind of a nostalgic feel is present in many of the scenes. For the most part, however, the story is tiresome and brings nothing new to the table. The humour relies too much on either overly long scenes of Mr. Bean-like physical comedy or the fact that Atkinson is finally becoming so old that the world around him feels strange and unfamiliar. It’s funny to begin with, but becomes old rather quickly.Many of the gags are repetitive and since everything moves along with a brisk pace, there is barely any time to develop things properly. Additionally, it seems like everything is solved by some kind of a gadget.Despite all this, the film utilizes modern trends quite well and works best when it takes inspiration form the latest Bond-movies.
Characters and Acting: BAILED IT!Rowan Atkinson is still as funny and likeable as ever in the lead role, and the return of his original sidekick Bough also works well. Some of Atkinson’s performance comes very close to Mr. Bean, particularly in scenes with no dialogue, and that took me out of the experience a bit. Emma Thompson is lovely as the British Prime Minister (no doubt inspired by Theresa May), but is shamefully underused. Jake Lacy appears as the annoying villain who I just don’t get at all. Ex Bond-girl Olga Kurylenko becomes the new English-girl in a forgettable and quite bland part that really doesn’t bring anything to the film itself.
Direction: NAILED IT!The direction is solid all the way, but then again there is very little here that could go wrong.
Visuals: BAILED IT!It sure looks good, apart from a few tacky CGI scenes (likely due to a lower budget). The film get particularly inventive in the memorable VR-scene, easily the best scene in the entire film.
Sound: NAILED IT!The music sets the right tone and is just close enough to the music from other spy films to feel like actual spy film music.
Pacing: BAILED IT!The pace is brisk and the film hardly slows down. That results in most of the characters never receiving much development and things never really explored in detail.
Themes: FAILED IT!The world’s worst and best spy who thinks women cannot be spies or generals and a villain hacking and assuming control of the entire world just because he can. It’s the same old, outdated stuff.
Atmosphere: BAILED IT!Unfortunately, much of the comedy isn’t very funny at all, but there are a few good laughs, like in the aforementioned VR-scene. Action scenes are few and far between but they do give this film that authentic spy film feel. Overall, it’s very light-hearted, like the Johnny English films should be.
Rewatchability: FAILED IT!There’s nothing new here really, which shows that this franchise has reach the end of the line. When a franchise starts to repeat itself, it’s time to stop.
Expectations: BAILED IT!Since Johnny English Reborn is my favourite film in the series and since Rowan Atkinson very rarely makes a bad comedy, I actually hoped this would stand up to his other works. Unfortunately, it doesn’t, even if it stays true to the formula of the series and is a suitable spy film parody.
Bottom line: BAILED IT!Old age and outdated ideas make this third Johnny English film difficult to fully enjoy, even if the spy parody stays true to the best aspects of the franchise.
OCEAN’S 8Nailed it, bailed it or failed it?Let’s play!
Writing: BAILED ITThe script stays true to the earlier films in the franchise, with a broad cast of diverse characters, a plot similar to Ocean’s 11, a highly implausible mega-heist and some clever twists and turns before the end credits. This time most of it has been dipped in a fashionable, elegant coat of female paint. Much of the dialogue and humour is so strongly targeted at female audiences it actually became difficult for me to fully enjoy it all. Most of the scenes outside of the actual heist aren’t really that interesting at all and much of the main plot itself lacks dramatic tension: things happen too easily, the twists are predictable and there is a lack of a compelling villain. Even if the decision to continue the film a while after the heist is a great one, it also feels quite empty and flat in its final moments.The main twist is quite implausible.
Characters and Acting: NAILED IT!Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett actually make for a better dynamic duo than Clooney and Pitt in the original films. Together with the loveable Helena Bonham Carter, they steal the show. The cast is diverse, and each character feels like a real person. They all have special talents suitable to the world today, which also gives the film a modern feel.I like the fact that the film puts focus on one small step of the operation at a time, before moving on to the big heist. This way, it puts focus on one or two different characters at a time and give suitable screen-time to all of them.Even if the film does a fine job at making every character stand out on their own, it struggles to make them a believable team together and many of the characters are quite simple. James Corden, a talented comedian, feels completely misplaced in this film and his part could have easily been left out.
Direction: NAILED IT!It largely works, with director Gary Ross clearly knowing what he wants his film to be, even if the film loses its sense of direction in the final 20 minutes.
Visuals: NAILED IT!It’s as slick as always and it harks back to the original films with the playful editing and the interesting choice of angles.
Sound: BAILED IT!Another connection with the first three films, Daniel Pemberton brings back that hectic, loud and annoying score I disliked in all of the earlier films.
Pacing: BAILED IT!It starts out strong and the heist itself is very exciting to watch from start to finish. It’s what happens afterwards that totally kills the momentum and the steam and drags the otherwise good pace down a notch.
Themes: FAILED IT!The personal motives, the revenge story and the basic truth that diamonds truly are a girl’s best friend. Nothing particularly original, in other words.
Atmosphere: BAILED IT!Other than the girl-talk parts and the flat atmosphere at the end, the atmosphere is largely what you’d expect from a heist movie of this type. Most of the humour, while lovely, isn’t all that funny.
Rewatchability: BAILED IT!Nope, not really. Unlike, say Ocean’s 11, which requires some focus to fully understand, this one is straightforward and there is little reason to revisit another time.
Expectations: BAILED IT!I went into this film, thinking it would be a pale copy of the first three films. It turns out to be a great update in many ways, but still not special enough to really have a reason to exist.
Bottom line: BAILED IT!Ocean’s 8 stays true to the franchise’s elaborate heists and elegant style, but even an all-female cast and a modern touch don’t help it stand out from the earlier films.
SE7ENNailed it, bailed it or failed it?Let’s play!
Writing: NAILED IT!The story is all-around great, from the set-up to heart-pounding finale. There is something extremely attractive with a film about a retiring detective having to solve a string of brutal murders connected to the seven deadly sins together with a young and overly eager colleague. The first half of the film is a slow crime drama, putting focus on the characters and really making them feel like real people. The second half is an intense crime thriller, putting in a new gear and turning completely insane.The writing is incredibly clever, stays one step ahead of the audience all the time and makes sure the detectives’ personal lives are interwoven with the investigation all the time. Small twists are thrown at the audience all the time, keeping is on the edge of the seat.The dialogue is clever and sophisticated, in particular when it comes to the many monologues given by “John Doe”.
Characters and Acting: NAILED IT!Unbelievable chemistry between the two leads; the seasoned and broody Freeman & the young and talkative Pitt. I am particularly impressed by Freeman’s grumpy but clever take on his role and he overshadows everyone else. The two detectives aren’t completely good themselves either, as they use forbidden measures and go to great lengths to catch the murderer. Moreover, as the investigation grows in intensity the uneasy relationship between Freeman & Pitt grow stronger and they realize they need each other in order to solve the case.Gwyneth Paltrow makes a fine, albeit small and mostly superfluous, appearance. When “John Doe” finally enters in the final act, he completely steals the show in a manic, terrifying and memorable film villain straight from your worst nightmares. It’s the most brilliant performance in the man’s career.
Direction: NAILED IT!David Fincher keeps everything tightly knit together and utilizes editing, cinematography and music to create intense, creepy and memorable sequences throughout the film. As the villain is introduced towards the end, Fincher becomes more creative and playful in his directing, giving the final act an insane quality of its own.
Visuals: NAILED IT!The cinematography is great from start to finish, but it is in the final act where it becomes truly interesting, even inventive. The bizarre grossness of the film, while most of the times only implied, is memorable.
Sound: NAILED IT!Beautiful, creepy and harrowing film score by the great composer Howard Shore. It strengthens the gritty look and feel of the film.
Pacing: BAILED IT!The start is somewhat slow and things don’t really get going until well into the movie. Most of the actual investigation is forgotten in the first half of the film, in favour of stronger focus in the characters. This is largely made up for by the brilliant, fast-paced second half and in particular, the tightly knit suspense of the final 40 minutes.
Themes: NAILED IT!Brutal murders, a psychopathic killer with a story to tell, two cops in different stages of their lives having to rely on each other in order to survive. It’s all so simple, yet so effective.
Atmosphere: NAILED IT!It’s all dark, depressing and gritty, yet realistic and slowly growing. The growing intensity is almost touchable and the overall noir feel of the film makes it very memorable. The realism and the brutalism fits the story very well.
Rewatchability: NAILED IT!The attention to detail is incredible. This movie is highly rewatchable for its incredible characters, intelligent dialogue and memorable final moments.
Expectations: NAILED IT!I expected a lot from this classic crime thriller, and the film turned out to exceed those expectations.
Bottom line: NAILED IT!Se7en is a near perfect crime thriller and an expertly written, gritty and brutal film with memorable performances.
SPIDER-MAN 3Nailed it, bailed it or failed it?Let’s play!
Writing: FAILED IT!Lazy writing; stupid tinkering with the plot (rewriting Ben’s death and the decision to give Harry amnesia); terrible character arcs for Harry Osborn and Eddie Brock; the unforgivable villain problem (THREE new villains in one film and an absolutely terrible Venom); the romantic tensions between Peter and MJ that still go nowhere and the unnecessary introduction of Gwen Stacy as a supporting character. Oh, and don’t even get me started on that horrifying Peter-goes-emo thing.
Characters and Acting: BAILED IT!Maguire and Dunst are still stiff in their parts but at least I started to believe in them as a couple.Sandman is the best-handled villain and Hayden Church fits the part well. James Franco ruins his take on Harry Osborn and his turn into the Goblin makes little sense and means nothing until the end of the film. Topher Grace is miscast as Eddie Brock and gives us an annoying performance, coupled with a terrible misuse of fan-favourite Venom.
Direction: NAILED IT!Sam Raimi knows his franchise and his characters (well, apart from Venom, but that’s really not his fault).
Visuals: BAILED IT!We get bigger and more inventive actions scenes, but they’re also messy, shaky and surprisingly plastic-y.Parts of the film look like an over-the-top video game, which is odd considering that the CGI works fine otherwise.
Sound: NAILED IT!The score is still as awesome as always.
Pacing: FAILED IT!It just doesn’t work. They set up things that go nowhere until much later in the film; the final act comes from nowhere and leads to nothing. The quieter dramatic parts are actually he best parts of the film, which says lot of who badly they treated Spidey and the villains.
Themes: FAILED IT!With great power comes a black suit and great emo-bility. ‘Nuff said!
Atmosphere: FAILED IT!The forcibly darker tone and terribly handled depressiveness of the film is laughable. After the black suit is introduced, it stars going downhill very fast – they make Peter cringeworthy and give us the worst scene in any super hero film ever (hint: the scene contains dancing).I get that they’re trying to portray the tough time Peter is going through emotionally, but the way it is illustrated is stupid, silly and not very believable.
Rewatchability: FAILED IT!Not really, but I’m probably still going to.
Expectations: FAILED IT!Well, it’s a HUGE let-down after (the amazing) Spider-Man 2.
Bottom line: BAILED IT!It's a bit of a mess and fails to impress the way Spider-Man 2 did, but at least it's never boring and still quite enjoyable.
Green Lantern is a mostly failing CGI extravaganza that goes way over the top and never feels or looks realistic or compelling enough to stand out on its own.
Still one of the best superhero movies, Spider-Man 2 is a sequel worthy of its action scenes, its strong symbolism and its amazing villain.
Ocean's 13 marks a huge improvement over the lacklustre second movie but it feels like a pale copy of the first movie.
Sam Raimi's Spider-Man began the new era of superhero movies, but nostalgia has made us forget about the dated action scenes, bland performances and simplistic storytelling.
The Thing is seminal sci-fi horror classic and a perfect mix of Alien's monster horror and The Shining's madness.
Rather than improving on the first film, Ocean’s 12 takes a huge step backwards and presents audiences with a boring, messy and uncompelling heist that doesn’t make any sense at all.
Far From Home is a refreshing Spider-Man movie, with higher entertainment value and finer action and visuals compared to Homecoming. Still, the teenage relationship drama aims this movie towards a younger audience.
Awkward actors and an empty script cannot save a romantic movie about sex that is devoid of both romance and sexual tension.
Sahara could have been the next big adventure movie - but instead it's an unoriginal, boring and not very exciting attempt at a Indy rip-off.
A dull, bland and pointless zombie horror that brings nothing new to the genre and never get going properly.
It's the remake we never wanted and a movie doomed to never reach the status of the original. It's visually stunning, but apart from that it has no reason to exist.
The sequel to Disney's animated classic is a tired attempt at trying to replicate the success, mostly falling flat due to a lack of any real investment into the project.
The Lion King is not only one of Disney's best films, it's also one of the greatest animated features ever made. It's heart-breaking, warm, funny and exciting all at the same time.
No. Do not waste your time or money by watching this sad excuse of a movie. Nothing works here and it is not even remotely enjoyable for all of its faults. The 1994 film adaptation, while also terrible, is at least a whole lot more entertaining.
Best. TV. Episode. I. Have. Ever. Seen. All those emotions, all that excitement all that superb acting. This, ladies and gentlemen, is quality TV!
Verdict:A faithful adaptation of a best-selling novel in all its warmth and fuzziness, but still just another rom-com for the masses.
Verdict:One of the iconic buddy films of the 20th century, Thelma & Louise is a visually stunning feminist feature with great characters and an addicting plot.
Verdict:Zac Efron makes the performance of his career in a film that struggles to find its own identity and never reaches its full potential.
In one of the strongest historical TV shows ever made, Chernobyl paints a terrifying, realistic and emotional picture of what went wrong with the Chernobyl disaster and why.
Verdict:Patrick Dempsey's comedic timing helps raise this generic rom-com to newer heights, strengthening the altogether warm and enjoyable atmosphere.
Verdict:It's never funny and never exciting; this awkward and outdated comedy is an uncomfortable ride to sit through.
Verdict:A timeless heist movie supported by a splendid cast and superb dramatic moments, its clever writing will keep you watching to the very end.
Verdict:Murder Mystery can be good fun at best, but it's mostly a clichéd, generic and forgettable summer comedy.
Verdict:It's a simple story with a powerful message - but even De Niro's Oscar-worthy performance can't save a film that suffers from a simplicity and lack of supporting characters.
Verdict:It does a lot of things right and reinvigorates a character who has been through most on the big screen already – but it is just too much of the good thing to truly be enjoyable.