Jojo Rabbit: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #56

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews! As a heads up, this review will contain some adult themes and spoilers for Jojo Rabbit. I highly recommend this film as it certainly surprised me (in a good way) and may be one of my favourite films of all time.

Directed by and starring  Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok and Hunt for the Wilderpeople), and also starring Roman Griffith Davis, Thomasin McKenzie and Scarlett Johannson, Jojo Rabbit takes place in World War 2 and follows Jojo Betzler, a young Nazi living with his mother. Jojo discovers that his mother is hiding a young Jewish girl in the walls and turns to his imaginary best friend, Adolf Hitler, for advice.

Roman Griffith Davis played Jojo Beltzer and gave a brilliant performance. For a 12-year-old actor just starting off his career, he was able to display a wide range of emotions that allowed us to connect with Jojo’s character. The lead in most movies is usually able to do connect with audiences, but what’s remarkable about this in Jojo Rabbit is that this is all from a young actor. Griffith Davis has been nominated for a number of awards (including the Golden Globes and the Critic’s Choice) and after watching the film, it’s obvious to see why. Thomasin McKenzie played Elsa, a Jewish teenager who Jojo’s mother is hiding in the walls. McKenzie was perfectly selected to play Elsa and, for a young actress, delivered a strong and compelling representation of the Jewish experience in hiding in Nazi Germany. Taika Waititi took on the task of playing Adolf Hitler, or more accurately, Jojo’s image of Hitler. It’s important to remember that the film is from the perspective of a brainwashed 10-year-old Nazi, and Hitler in Jojo’s mind is someone he admires (Hitler is Jojo’s imaginary best friend after all).  Waititi wrote, directed and starred in Jojo Rabbit and took on the tough role of playing Hitler and for me, his portrayal was fantastic. He was witty and played the character in a different and memorable way. Jojo’s mother, Rosie Beltzer, was played by Scarlett Johansson. For me, Johannson wasn’t the most obvious choice to play Rosie but she was surprisingly well suited to the role. I would’ve liked to have seen more of her, but for the time she was on-screen, there was a strong and sweet relationship built up between Rosie and Jojo, despite the relationship build-up being a little rushed in my eyes. The dramatic reveal of Jojo coming across his mother’s hanging body by bumping into her shoes was so perfectly and subtlety built up and it’s all down to Waititi’s direction throughout the film. The build-up to this moment is sneakily intertwined with the film, first showing Jojo being unable to tie his shoes and the close-up shots of Rosie’s shoes, then Rosie talking to Jojo about butterflies in the stomach. This emotional climax of the film was unexpected, perfectly orchestrated and brought tears to my eyes in the cinema. It’s also worth mentioning one of the side characters who helped to make the film better; Captain Klenzendorf. Sam Rockwell played Captain K, and I loved the zaniness of his character, as well as his redemption at the end of the film. Together, the character chemistry was brought to life on screen wonderfully, particularly with the development of relationships throughout the film. One notable character relationship development that I thought was worth mentioning is the friendship between Jojo and Adolf. It starts off strong but as the film goes on, the relationship deteriorates to the point where Jojo tells Hitler to “f**k off” and kicks him out a window, showing that Jojo has no relationship with him or the Nazis anymore. Again, this is from the perspective of a brainwashed 10-year-old and the way the whole film plays out because of this is something we rarely get to see and was fantastically  done.

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Jojo and Adolf question Rosie’s loyalty to the Third Reich.

The music composed by Michael Giacchino was well constructed as it allowed us to not only connect with the characters’ emotions but also with the time period that the film is set in. I quite liked the German renditions of pop songs, even though there were only two of them. Nonetheless, the final scene of Elsa and Jojo dancing in the streets upon hearing the war is over to the German rendition of ‘Heroes’ by David Bowie will go down in my mind as one of the most powerful and iconic movie endings of all time. My only complaint is that I found the music was sometimes used unnecessarily to accompany a scene.

The story is actually an adapted screenplay, based on the book ‘Caging Skies’ by Christine Leunens. It was brought to life with a hint of Waititi’s quirky filmmaking style which gave us an interesting story told in a whimsical way that made for a surprisingly enjoyable cinematic experience. It was a little fast-paced in some places, but this pacing was better suited to the film rather than a slower pace. A question some of you may be wondering is whether Jojo Rabbit deserved to win Best Adapted Picture at the Oscars, and even if it should have been nominated for Best Picture itself. If I haven’t made it obvious enough, yes to both those questions. When people look back at 2019 as a year in film, there will be so many legendary films mentioned. Joker, Parasite, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Avengers: Endgame to name a few. Now add Jojo Rabbit to that list. It had humour and heart and was able to turn one of history’s darkest times into a deep film about love, family and defeating the hatred of the world.

Overall, Jojo Rabbit gets an 8.5/10 from me. It came out as a surprisingly fantastic film, brought to life by an amazing cast and crew and teaching us all an important lesson throughout; no matter what happens, just keep going. No feeling is final. It’s one of those films that’s a hidden gem and I can’t wait to see what Taika Waititi goes on to do next.

Thanks for your patience in waiting for this review to come out. Now that I’ve had time to settle in my new life both at work and working from home what with the corona-crisis, I’ve been able to adapt to a new schedule. I hope that you are all keeping well during these difficult and challenging times.

Further to the above, I’m currently working my way through reviewing the movie event of last year. I’m of course talking about Avengers: Endgame and aim to have the review out on April 25th (though that does seem a little ambitious). Anyways, I’ll have a review for Avengers: Endgame out soon, so I’ll see you then!

 

Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #54

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

In a sea of reboots, remakes, sequels, and prequels, it’s becoming difficult to find original movies that stay true to the art of film. Enter Quentin Tarantino, who’s been in the game for 27 years and has arguably mastered this talent. His films are so unique and iconic that the word ‘Tarantinoesque’ has been added to the Oxford Dictionary. It’s with this that anything he makes is almost guaranteed to be something different and legendary, and film fanatics from around the world are always excited when he announces a new project. Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood is no exception from this.

Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood is the tenth film (ninth if you count the Kill Bills as one movie) to be written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Set in 1969, the film follows Rick Dalton, a TV actor and Cliff Booth, his stunt double. Rick finds himself down on his luck as the Hollywood he knows and loves is now changing and he’s on his way to becoming a has-been. It just so happens that his neighbour is one of the new actresses in Hollywood who’s on the up and up to becoming something big; Sharon Tate.

Rick Dalton was played brilliantly by Leonardo DiCaprio, who’s already in early Oscar talk for his role. It’s obvious to see why, as DiCaprio delivers an amazing performance as Rick Dalton. DiCaprio playing an actor is great fun to watch, as you see Rick with a stutter, but then without one when he’s in a movie or TV show. One of the best scenes that demonstrates DiCaprio’s fantastic acting ability is when Rick is filming on Lancer and we see him switching between in real life (with the stutter) and his villainous character in Lancer, who speaks without a stutter and more of a stern voice. Whenever DiCaprio takes on a role, he fully immerses himself in it, and this allows the audience to take more of an interest in his character and the film; Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood is no exception to this. As superb as Leonardo DiCaprio was, I couldn’t help but feel that Brad Pitt stole the show. Brad Pitt played Rick’s stunt double, Cliff Booth, a war veteran who’s somewhat frowned upon in the film industry for the alleged murder of his wife. Pitt maybe wasn’t the obvious choice to play Cliff Booth, but certainly was the perfect actor for the role. He was excellent as Cliff, bringing an edge to the character and making him one of the standout best parts of this movie. There has also been Oscar talk for Brad Pitt’s performance as Cliff Booth, and personally, I’d say he’s more deserving of the Oscar than DiCaprio. Brad brought a lovability to Cliff’s character which, despite the slow pacing of the film, stood out as an exceptional performance that helped to make the film better. Margot Robbie played Sharon Tate, and she was marvellous in the role, but there wasn’t much of her character, or at least as much as I was expecting from advertisements. The film mainly focused on Rick and Cliff and their relationship (which, I must say, was just shy of impeccable), but the lack of Sharon Tate and other characters did make the film suffer slightly.

The music, like in most of Tarantino’s films, was perfectly selected. It captured the essence of a defining era in Hollywood as well as adding to scenes, by either building tension or excitement, or by making the scenes more enjoyable to engage in.

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Cliff and Rick on the set of their Western TV show, ‘Bounty Law’

Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood is Tarantino at his most playful. It’s not Tarantino’s most iconic or quotable film, but instead, the director proves that he has mastered the art of film-making. I’ll admit, at times it feels like the film is just the studio giving Tarantino money to make a movie because they know his name will bring them more money in return. While this certainly feels true for parts of the film, it’s more than this. It’s bringing together some of the best talents in Hollywood. It’s more than having Tarantino direct and write, and Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt star. It’s having your cinematography from Robert Richardson (who also cinematographed for Hugo, Inglourious Basterds, and Shutter Island), and a talented Visual Effects department, including the likes of Brian Adler (who also did visual effects for Avengers: Endgame and Logan). With some of the talents of the industry coming together to produce a film like this, it’s evident to see that people really enjoy working on different, creative films within Hollywood and the end product is something undeniably awesome. 

I couldn’t do this review without talking about four memorable and standout scenes for me. The first was filming Lancer, with the interaction of resetting the cameras and breaking the fourth wall, then Rick breaking down before returning to set and delivering a tense and career-defining performance (for Rick). The way this whole scene was creatively crafted and fantastically executed, especially from Leonardo DiCaprio. I loved Cliff’s flashback to the Green Hornet set where he fought Bruce Lee (played by Mike Moh, who did a great job). It was such a pleasure to watch, as the scene was made playful and fun by the camera work, and it was Tarantino at his pinnacle, as we’ve seen him in other films. The next scene was when Cliff revisited Spahn Ranch. In this scene and the previous (Cliff fights Bruce Lee), Brad Pitt was at his best, bringing an edge of hardness and badassery to Cliff’s character. From meeting Squeaky and George Spahn to beating up Clem, throughout this scene and the previous, Pitt certainly delivered one of his greatest performances ever in this film. The final scene should be fairly obvious, but I’m of course going to have to talk about that final scene with Rick and Cliff fighting the hippies who attacked Rick’s house. The song (Tarantino’s edit of ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On by Vanilla Fudge) was so perfect for the scene that it both added to my enjoyment and helped build tension and excitement. The action was the most Tarantinoesque imaginable. With heads smashed into telephone hooks, people being burnt to a crisp with a flamethrower and a dog tearing into limbs, I couldn’t help but smile in awe, realising again in this film that in his unique style, Tarantino is a directorial master.

It’s also worth talking about the film’s ending too. After Rick and Cliff have killed the hippies who attacked Rick’s house, Rick meets Jay Sebring who invites Rick to meet his neighbour, Sharon Tate. As the camera pulls away, the film’s title appears with a somewhat twinkly theme playing. This was all a fairy tale. This was not what happened in reality. This was Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood. This ending was slightly unexpected but nonetheless still brilliantly done, allowing the audience to reflect on the awesomeness of the film they’d just watched and bringing them back to the reality in which Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski and Abigail Folger were fatally murdered by members of the Manson Family.

Overall, Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood was a cinematic blast, and was one of those films where the more I thought back over it, the better it was, and as such gets an 8.6/10 from me. I can’t wait to rewatch Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood. In a sea of CGI superheroes and animated remakes, Tarantino proves once again that authentic cinema is still not only unbeatable but truly amazing.

Thanks for reading this review. What did you think of Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood? Let me know in the comments below!

To celebrate 25 years since the release of Pulp Fiction (my favourite film and arguably Tarantino’s best), I’ll be posting my rankings of Tarantino’s movies and asking the question, has Pulp Fiction aged well? See you then!

Crazy, Stupid, Love: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #49

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

One of the biggest genres in Hollywood is romantic movies. Every year, a fair few romantic movies are huge successes, like A Star is Born, Crazy Rich Asians and To All The Boys I Loved Before. One film that did quite well in its year of release – and was one I watched recently and enjoyed – was 2011’s Crazy, Stupid, Love. Seeing as it’s Valentine’s Day today (or was when I published this), this is my review for Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (who have also co-directed other movies such as Focus and I Love You Phillip Morris) and with a star-studded cast including Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, is Crazy, Stupid, Love. Cal Weaver’s perfect life comes crashing down when his wife, Emily reveals that she wants a divorce and has been unfaithful to him. Naturally, this is a shock to Cal and he begins to drown his sorrows at a bar he’s always passed but never been to. There, he meets Jacob Palmer, a suave playboy who will teach him how to get back in the crazy game that is love.

Steve Carell played Cal Weaver. I’m currently mid-way through The Office US so it’s hard to not picture him as Michael Scott. Nevertheless, Cal was easily the best character in the film for me. Carell is such a talented actor and his ability shone in this film. He brought humour and heart in a good blend. Julianne Moore played Cal’s significant other, Emily Weaver. She was a good character but was a bit bland and flat in some areas. Moore, like Carell, is a brilliant actress but I felt that her true acting potential was not reached in this film. Jacob Palmer, the smooth playboy who helps get Cal back in the game, was played by Ryan Gosling. His character was basically a less-funnier, cinematic version of Barney Stinson. As much as I like Gosling as an actor, I was in two minds about his character. He was a likeable character who was fun to watch Gosling play on screen, but I couldn’t help but feel that Gosling could have maybe put something more into Jacob’s character. Jacob’s love interest was Hannah, played by Emma Stone. She is revealed to be Cal and Emily’s oldest child. Stone evidently enjoyed playing Hannah, but there could have been a bit more of her character and, if there was, the film would have been better. I felt that the chemistry between characters was strongly acted out between all characters, so despite the individual character flaws, the actors all worked harmoniously together which actually helped to make the movie better.

 

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Jacob coaches Cal how to woo a woman.

 

The music was sweet and well suited to the tone of the film at parts, but was also quite irritating and just seemed to consistently play in the background of the film nonstop. It was a nice little instrumental piece but it just seemed to always be there, despite it not always suiting the mood of the film. The worst thing about the music in Crazy, Stupid, Love was that even after something big or dramatic or important to the story had happened, it would just jollily continue in the back without much regard for what had just happened.

The storyline was quite straightforward, but it could have been executed better. The story was definitely there, but it seemed that the run time for it was too short. The film tried to cram a happy ending into the last half hour, and it kind of worked but still was a bit messy in places.

Overall, Crazy, Stupid, Love gets a 7.2/10. It was a good film that I enjoyed watching and, despite its flaws, still made for a sweet and nice story that was entertaining to watch.

Thanks for reading this weeks review. Follow my Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) for the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures and everything else you could want. Give this blog a follow to be the first to read my weekly reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this weeks review. As it’s the Oscars next weekend, join me next week for the review of an Oscar-nominated 2018 musical movie. See you then!

Step Brothers: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #48

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

There’s a definite difference between comedy in British movies and comedy in American movies. In my opinion, most American comedies are lazier and don’t make use of what’s possible with what’s available when you can make a movie. To be fair, some American TV comedies have actually done this, such as The Office and Parks and Recreation. Other than that, the movies rely on jokes to make the movie a comedy. And some are better done than others. One movie that has pretty good humour both audibly and visually is 2008’s Step Brothers.

Directed by Adam McKay and starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly is Step Brothers. Dale Doback and Brennan Huff are two jobless losers in their forties who are still living with their respective father and mother. When Robert (Dale’s father) meets Nancy (Brennan’s mother) at a conference, the two hook up and get married. Brennan and Dale are forced to live with each other and get along. Naturally, mischief and craziness ensue, leaving Robert and Nancy no choice but to sell their house and retire so that their sons can get jobs and become adults, something they are far from.

Will Ferrell played Brennan Huff and did a great job in the role. Ferrell was good fun to watch and he was funny, but as much as I liked Brennan, I preferred Dale’s character. Dale Doback was played by John C. Reilly and is arguably one of Reilly’s best roles to date. Reilly was hilarious and made the movie more enjoyable to watch. Together, Ferrell and Reilly were a fantastic comedy duo who made the film hilarious, and their character chemistry was so natural and it was great fun to watch. Mary Steenburgen played Brennan’s mother, Nancy and was a great addition to the cast. The same is true for Robert, played by Richard Jenkins. Honestly, there’s not much else I can really comment on their characters. Adam Scott also featured in the film, playing Brennan’s brother, Derek. He was quite funny and his performance was impeccable. One character who I loved was Randy, played by Rob Riggle, but there should have been more of his character. Randy genuinely had me bursting out in laughter.

The music had some generic songs, such as ‘You Make My Dreams’ by Hall and Oates and ‘A-Punk’ by Vampire Weekend. However other songs that I’d never heard of, such as ‘Breathe and Stop’ by Q-Tip were good additions to the film that added to the mood of the movie. It’s worth mentioning the songs done by the cast too, like Derek and his family acapella-ing to ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ or ‘Boat’s and Hoes’ sung by Brennan and Dale. These moments were funny and made the film more entertaining, but the best musical moment in Step Brothers easily goes to the operatic-drum solo scene with Brennan and Dale performing Por Ti Volare at the Catalina Wine Mixer.

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Brennan and Dale show off their talents at the Catalina Wine Mixer.

It’s a straightforward story but with the right details and actors mixed in, you have a pretty decent movie. I’m not saying that Step Brothers is a bad movie, but it’s not the best. It’s quite dull and flat at times, and the comedy sometimes did not land well and just left for an awkward moment.

There were some laugh-out-loud moments that were great and funny additions to the film. I like the whole scene of Brennan and Dale getting into a fight after Brennan puts his testicles on Dale’s precious drum set was hilarious to see it escalate into a stupidly funny fight. Another scene I liked was when Dale and Brennan then became ‘best friends’ and make bunk beds and did awesome karate kits Dale’s long fart in his job interview with Seth Rogen tasting it was one of the funny awkward moments in the film too. Dale and Brennan’s big release of Boats and Hoes for their business, Prestige Worldwide was also hilarious to watch. The reveal of Derek being an unlikeable character, especially with his introduction was well done and funny. Brennan gets a job working for Derek, and there’s a scene I love that takes place in Randy’s office, with Randy yelling ‘pow!’ every so often which was funny too. The best part for me was at the Catalina Wine Mixer with Brennan and Dale’s epic performance, which had me in stitches.

Step Brothers gets a 6.8/10 from me. It’s possible that a movie that isn’t as high scoring as others that I’ve reviewed can still be loved. It has great comedy and is a film that should be watched by everyone. Step Brothers is currently available to watch on Netflix, and I highly recommend it.

Thanks for reading this week’s review. Follow my Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) to stay up to date with the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures and more. Follow this blog to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. As it’s Valentine’s Day next Thursday, I’ll be reviewing a romantic movie. See you then!

 

What to watch in 2019

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

Happy New Year! I hope you have a great 2019. It’s gearing up to a fantastic year, cinematically speaking. In this post, I’ll be looking at what movies and TV shows are coming out this year and what you can expect from them. I’ll be speculating some plots so you have been warned if any are actually true. Links to trailers for the films and their release date will be attached if it is available.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD – 26th July 2019

For those who didn’t know, my all-time favourite movie is Pulp Fiction. So when news of Quentin Tarantino directing his ninth film came out, I was hyped. Of all the great movies coming out this year, nothing has me more excited than Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. The cast includes Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Damien Lewis, Dakota Fanning, Al Pacino and so many more amazing actors and the plot itself seems quite interesting. Rick Dalton, a faded TV actor, and Cliff Booth, his stunt double, try to make a name for themselves in the film industry in 1969 Hollywood, during the Helter Skelter period. I’m looking forward to seeing Tarantino direct again, especially with a storyline and cast as awesome as what’s lined up for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. Tarantino describes it as the closest thing he’s done to Pulp Fiction. Furthermore, Tarantino has said that he’d only make 10 movies, so I’m hoping that his films get better with time. As to whether Once Upon A Time In Hollywood will be a better film than Pulp Fiction and take the top spot as my favourite movie, well, only time will tell.

CAPTAIN MARVEL – 8th March 2019

In the post-credits scene of Avengers: Infinity War, a mid-dusting Nick Fury sent out a pager to Captain Marvel in a last minute attempt to save the world. We now get her backstory and uncover why she is the key to the future. Brie Larson plays the titular character, with Samuel L Jackson playing a younger, two-eyed Nick Fury and Ben Mendelsohn playing villainous Talos, leader of the Skrulls. Captain Marvel serves as a set-up prequel to the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and hopefully will a good film.

AVENGERS: ENDGAME – 26th April 2019

It’s fair to say that the biggest movie of this year is Avengers: Endgame, the follow-up to the biggest film of 2018, Avengers: Infinity War. To try to undo the decimation and devastation caused by Thor not going for the head (and the consequent snap), the remaining, non-dusted Avengers must band together to somehow magically rewind time and stop the massacre from ever happening. Starring Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Paul Rudd, Jeremy Renner and more, and the film being the last one in Marvel’s Phase Three (and the end of some of it’s biggest heroes), Avengers: Endgame is shaping up to be an awesome film.

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME – July 2019

As if Avengers: Endgame isn’t enough, Marvel are releasing another film next year, Spider-Man: Far From Home. Following the events of Endgame, Peter Parker goes on a summer vacation around Europe with his friends, but he struggles to keep his identity of Spider-Man hidden as the threat of the Elementals rises. Tom Holland is back playing Spider-Man, with Jake Gyllenhaal playing Mysterio, Jon Favreau playing Happy Hogan and Zendaya back as Michelle. Seeing as Far From Home will be the first film released after Endgame, it’ll be interesting to see what the impact on the MCU will be.

TOY STORY 4 – 21st June 2019

Despite all the tears shed after Toy Story 3, Disney are back with Toy Story 4. Though there is no storyline put out there, the trailer shows that it’s something about new toys being played with, in this case, it’s Forky. There’s also something about a carnival, as seen with the soft toys voiced by Key and Peele. I think that part of the storyline will be that Bonnie has grown bored of Buzz and Woody and instead created her own toys (Forky), but I’m not too sure how the carnival will fit in. Tim Allen has said that the film’s story is “so emotional” and he “couldn’t even get through the last scene” while Tom Hanks has also said that the ending scene was a “moment in history.” Only time will tell, but Toy Story 4 is definitely going to be a big film for next year.

GLASS – 18th January 2019

The Unbreakable Universe is expanding. Glass follows David Dunn trying to bring The Beast out of Kevin Crumb, the man with 23 personalities living inside of him from 2016’s Split. In the background, Elijah Price, also known as Mr Glass, emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets that are critical to the pair. The cast includes James McAvoy, Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson and is from director M. Night Shyamalan. The thriller seems promising and seeing as it will combine the universes of Unbreakable and Split, it is likely that Glass will one of most successful horror/thriller movies of 2019.

MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL – 14th June 2019

Though it’s not the best franchise of all time, I really love the Men in Black series. It’s funny, smart and together the films are a great piece of sci-fi movies. Directed by F. Gary Gray (The Negotiator,  Straight Outta Compton), the Men in Black reboot sees Thor: Ragnarok stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson reunite to protect Earth from alien scum, except this time, it’s a mole in the Men in Black organisation. The spin-off could go either way, but I have faith in it. It has a good director attached, stars brilliant actors (Hemsworth, Thompson, and even Liam Neeson is in the film too!) and from the look of the first trailer, it looks to be a great movie.

THE LION KING – 19th July 2019

Disney’s 1994 classic is getting a live-action remake with a phenomenal cast, including Donald Glover (Childish Gambino) voicing Simba, Beyoncé as Nala, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar and even James Earl Jones back to voice Mufasa. Just having Childish Gambino and Beyoncé duet to a classic Lion King song is enough to get me excited for this film. The Lion King is shaping up to be a huge success, though I’m not prepared to see Mufasa die again.

JOKER – 4th October 2019

It’s difficult to do a reboot, especially of a character who has been played so well (Heath Ledger) and quite badly (sorry Jared Leto), but I have faith in Joaquin Phoenix in playing the Joker. With Todd Phillips (The Hangover) directing, Joker is an origin story looking at how Arthur Fleck turns from being a failed comedian to a life of crime in Gotham City. It also has a great cast, including Robert De Niro and Zazie Beetz. Having seen Phoenix’s performance in last years ‘You Were Never Really Here’, Joker is a film that I am looking forward to seeing how it does.

ZOMBIELAND 2 – 11th October 2019

Ten years after the first film, Zombieland finally gets a sequel. The 2009 hit was loved for its great comedy, gory action and it just an all-round great film. Zombieland 2 sees the original cast (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin) back to play Colombus, Tallahassee, Wichita and Little Rock, where they must face off against evolving zombies, meet other survivors and adapt to the joys and pains of their makeshift family life. Joining them are Avan Jogia and Zoey Deutch, and there are reports that Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray (who died in the first film) are in the film too. If Zombieland 2 is anything like the first, then it definitely going to be a brilliant movie.

US – 15th March 2019

Though I’m not the biggest horror movie fan, I thoroughly enjoyed Jordan Peele’s 2017 success, Get Out. This year, Peele directs and writes Us, the story of Adelaide and Gabe Wilson, a couple who take their children to their beach house. Their fun with friends is disturbed when some unexpected and uninvited guests turn up. Starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke and Elizabeth Moss, the film looks to be pretty awesome. Knowing that it’s directed by Peele and has the acting abilities of Nyong’o and Duke, it’s safe to say Us is going to be good anyways.

STAR WARS: EPISODE IX – 19th December 2019

The intergalactic adventures of Rey, Finn, Poe, Kylo Ren and BB8 continue this year, with Star Wars: Episode IX. Not much is known about the film’s plot, but it should be awesome. Mark Hamill is to play Luke’s ghost, Billy Dee Williams is back as Lando Calrissian and archive footage of Carrie Fisher is being used for Princess Leia’s character. What’s more, JJ Abrams (The Force Awakens) is back to direct, so it’s going to be a great conclusion to this trilogy.

Thanks for reading this week’s post. What are you most looking forward to seeing this year? Let me know in the comments or on Instagram. Follow this blog to be the first to read my reviews!

Once again thanks for reading this week’s post. Join me next week for a TV show/game review. See you then!

The Best of 2018

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

As we near the end of 2018, it’s fun to look back at what a long and awesome year of movies and TV shows we’ve been treated to. And like most things in life, there’s the good and the bad. In this review, I take a look back at the best of 2018’s movies and TV shows that I watched. I’ll try to keep spoilers down to a minimum but you have been warned! There will be indications as to which movies or TV shows contain spoilers and links to reviews of those which I have reviewed.

BOJACK HORSEMAN: Season 5

Kicking off this list is everyone’s favourite cartoon horse and washed-up celebrity, Bojack Horseman. Netflix released season 5 in September and it showed Bojack taking the job on Flip McVicker’s new show, Philbert. Princess Carolyn continues to look for a child to adopt, Mr Peanutbutter and Diane go through a rough patch and Todd creates a sex robot who becomes the head of whattimeisitrightnow.com. Bojack Horseman season 5 delves deeper into Bojack’s mental state and sees him internally struggle with his insecurities while trying to deal with the joys and troubles of the outside world. One of the best things about Bojack Horseman’s recent seasons is the music, and season 5 is no exception. The ending was admittedly a little disappointing but season 5 as a whole was one of the best seasons of Bojack Horseman. Season 6 has been confirmed, and I for one can’t wait.

BLACK PANTHER

2018 was a year of diversity within Hollywood, and one of the films that portrayed this best is Marvel’s Black Panther. Directed by Ryan Coogler, Black Panther marks a turning point in the future of Hollywood movies. With a predominately black cast, Black Panther tells the story of T’Challa rising to the throne of Wakanda and finding the balance of being a good king and a hero while encountering a powerful enemy who poses a huge threat to  T’Challa and his country. Black Panther smashed records and was an entertaining movie that combined beautiful cinematography with great action and a good storyline to produce a film that will be loved for generations to come.

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR – Contains spoilers!

The biggest film of 2018 and now the fourth highest grossing movie of all time, Anthony and Joe Russo directed Avengers: Infinity War, a film that was loved by billions this year. It saw most of Marvel’s heroes (with Hawkeye and Ant-Man missing) face off against the biggest villain yet, Thanos, who is on a mission to collect all six infinity stones and kill half the universe. He succeeds and in a literal snap of his fingers, half of the universe turned to dust. It’s now down to the remaining heroes, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Bruce Banner, Black Widow, Hawkeye (now Ronin), Nebula, Rocket Raccoon, War Machine, Okoye, M’Baku, Ant-Man and Pepper Potts to try to rewind time and undo the decimation. All this will be revealed in next year’s Avengers: Endgame, which is gearing up to be the biggest movie of next year too.

DEADPOOL 2 – Contains spoilers!

Ryan Reynolds is back in red spandex to break more fourth walls and kick ass in Deadpool 2, the highly anticipated sequel to 2016’s Deadpool. To stop a young mutant and the Juggernaut from creating a horrific future, Wade must team up with Cable and Domino to save the day. Reynolds proves again that he was made to play Deadpool, the jokes were more self-aware and hilarious and the action was something to adore. David Leitch (director of Deadpool 2 and John Wick) was perfectly suited to direct the sequel and, together with Ryan Reynolds’ incredible acting and great writing from Rhett Reece and Paul Wernick, Deadpool 2 was a brilliant sequel and certainly lived up to the hype plus plus.

READY PLAYER ONE

Steven Spielberg directs Ready Player One, a story set in 2045 where everyone lives in a huge virtual reality world called the Oasis, where the late creator, James Halliday, has left an Easter Egg challenge where the first gamer to find all three Easter Eggs would inherit the Oasis and half a trillion dollars. With gorgeous animation and an engaging storyline, Ready Player One was a great film that I had fun watching, and the hidden real-life easter eggs made the film even better.

McMAFIA: Season 1 – Contains spoilers!

Way back in January of this year, BBC released a thrilling look into the world of the mafia. The series followed Alex Godman, the son of an ex-mafia Russian family trying to forget the past. Alex is lured into the dark and hidden realm of crime that sees Alex being brought closer to those who have wronged his family. Meanwhile, Alex’s family have no idea about his actions that bring him closer to the mafia. Eventually, Alex tells his family about his actions with Vadim (the family’s nemesis) and the mafia, before heading to Moscow for one final confrontation with Vadim, before becoming the top of the food chain and was backed by the government by the looks of it while also cutting off all ties with his family back home in a dramatic and brilliant finale that had me on the edge of my seat. BBC have commissioned the show for an eight-episode season 2 that hasn’t begun filming yet, but I am already excited for season 2 and wondering what’s next for Alex Godman.

BLACKKKLANSMAN

Similarly to Black Panther, BlacKKKlansman brought more diversity to cinemas by bringing a true story to life before showing it’s relevance into modern-day America. Starring John David Washington and directed by Spike Lee, BlacKKKlansman tells the true story of a black police officer who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the late 1970s. The film ends by looking at the events in Charlottesville last year, where the Ku Klux Klan launched the ‘Unite the Right’ Rally to promote their ideology of white supremacy. The film provided a shocking and eye-opening look at racism in the last 50 years, and the way that Lee was able to direct and portray this in a movie was fantastically done.

GAME NIGHT

One of the best comedies of 2018, Game Night is a film I am looking forward to rewatching. The Fabergé Egg chase was one of my favourite scenes of cinema this year. Game Night had a good cast with even better character chemistry and jokes that were brilliant. I thoroughly enjoyed this film the first and second times, and it is definitely one of my favourite comedies of all time.

AMERICAN ANIMALS

Another true story film that took me by surprise this year was Bart Layton’s American Animals. It’s the true story of the 2003 Transy Book Heist, where 4 young men dared to try to steal a book worth $12 million but it goes horribly wrong. Told in Reservoir-Dog-esque way that gets the real men to explain and talk about the heist American Animals was a film that wasn’t heard of or seen by many this year but deserves to be.

THIS IS AMERICA

Yes, it’s not a movie or a TV show, but Childish Gambino’s music video is definitely deserving of some praise. Not only is an awesome song, but the music video looks at the life of being black in America and some of the issues, such as gun violence and police brutality. The ‘This is America’ video and song is one of Gambino’s best songs and it carries a strong and powerful message.

Thanks for reading this week’s mega-review of my favourite movies and TV shows, the best of 2018. Follow my Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) for the latest in movie news, behind the scenes pictures and more! Also, give this blog a follow to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. I wish all you the best for 2019 and hope that you join me next year for more movie reviews! Next week, I’ll be revealing some of the big movies and TV shows coming out in 2019 that I’m looking forward to and hopefully you are too. See you then!

 

Elf: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #43

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

As it’s Christmas very soon, I decided to review one of the most festive movies around. Usually, when you say Christmas movies, the first films that pop into people’s minds are Die Hard (review here), Home Alone and Elf. Seeing as I reviewed Die Hard last week, Elf was next in line to be reviewed.

Directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man and next year’s The Lion King), Elf tells the story of Buddy, a human who is accidentally taken to the North Pole as a baby and raised as an elf. When Buddy grows up, it is revealed to him that he is actually a human. Buddy’s decides to travel to New York to meet his father, Walter Hobbs, who is a grinch. What follows is a sweet and hilarious story about family and Christmas.

Will Ferrell plays Buddy the Elf and one of Ferrell’s most notorious roles to date. He brings a sweet charm and enthusiasm combined with a childlike naivety to Buddy’s character that makes him lovable and a hilarious character. It does reach a point of Buddy being a bit of a nuisance in places, but nonetheless, Buddy is a great character who is brilliantly played by Will Ferrell. Walter Hobbs, Buddy’s grinchy father, is played wonderfully by James Caan. Though Walter Hobbs was the main antagonist in Elf, the way that Caan played Hobbs was done well and his acting ability was put to good use in the film. Of course, there was a love interest in this film, and it was Jovie, a shop assistant at Gimbels, who was played by Zooey Deschanel. Jovie was a good character and all, but I felt she was just put in to lengthen the run-time and create a few more comedic moments in the film. Elf also featured Peter Dinklage, who played Miles Finch. Honestly, I’ve seen Elf about 10 times and can’t remember who he has. All I can remember is Buddy chasing him and mistaking him for an elf. Dinklage did a great job playing Miles Finch, but he was just a forgettable character.

The music was classic Christmas stuff (Let it Snow, Rocking Around the Christmas tree, Sleigh ride and so forth) which was well suited to the film. I liked the song choices throughout the film as it made the movie more enjoyable to watch. There’s nothing to criticise here.

ELF, Will Ferrell and Artie Lange, 2003 (screen grab)CR: New Line Cinema

Buddy discovers​ that the Gimbel’s Santa is not the real Santa.

Elf’s storyline is one that is quite smart and straightforward, a human who is raised as an elf is sent to reconnect with his human family but his dad is a grinch. The human tries to convince his dad to enjoy Christmas time and hijinks occur. It’s where additional parts are thrown into the film that it starts to deteriorate. You have so many subplots squeezed in to get more laughs out of the audience, and it worked in some places but flopped in others. It’s evident that Will Ferrell really enjoyed making this film and he really put everything into making this a great film, but I felt that too much was packed into what was an already good film. The comedy was well done by Ferrell, and it’s clear that he’s mastered the art of making people laugh. It was mainly the additional subplots that ruined the film.

Overall, Elf gets a 7.2/10 from me. It was a good movie that featured great comedy from Will Ferrell but threw too much into the film to make it longer. Admittedly, Elf is not Jon Favreau’s greatest work but nonetheless is a good film. To get you in the festive feeling, Elf is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Thanks for reading this week’s review. Follow my Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) for the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures and more! Also, follow my blog to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. I hope you all have a merry Christmas and join me next week for a yearly look at the best movies and TV shows we were treated to in 2018. See you then!

Game Night: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #39

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

One of my favourite things about flights (if there ever was something you could love about flights) is in-flight movies. As a film fanatic, it’s awesome to see new movies that you have yet to see being shown on board. On the flight to and from Beijing, I was treated to a wealth of brilliant movies that were on my watch list. From American Animals (review coming soon!) to Upgrade, there were so many choices. One of the films that I’ve wanted to see since it’s trailer release way back in January was Game Night. It has a fantastic cast, an interesting plot line and seemed promising.

Directed by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley (who have previously collaborated on films such as Spider-man: Homecoming and Horrible Bosses) and starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams is the comedy Game Night. Max and Annie are a competitive couple who regularly have game nights with their friends. Recently, their neighbour, Gary, divorced his wife, and the pair hasn’t invited him to a game night since. When Max and Annie begin to try for a baby, it is unsuccessful for them as Max is stressed out. This is because his brother Brooks is in town, and Max feels inadequate compared to him. At a game night hosted by Max and Annie, Brooks embarrasses Max in front of all his friends, before inviting them all to a game night at his for the following week. At Brooks’ game night, he reveals to the guests that someone will be kidnapped and they must work in their couples to figure out where they are. As an incentive, Brooks says that the winner will get the keys to his car, a Stingray Corvette, which also is Max’s dream car. The night goes horribly wrong when real kidnappers intervene and take Brooks. It’s now down to Max, Annie and their friends to save Brooks and game night itself.

First off, this was actually a hilariously awesome movie. I rewatched it on the plane as I loved it so much. Jason Bateman played Max, a fun-loving guy with brother issues. Bateman is a great actor and Game Night is no exception from his talents, but there were definitely people who were better than him. The same could be said for Annie, played by Rachel McAdams. She was fantastic in this film and had me in fits of laughter at parts, and this film further proves her brilliant acting ability. For me, the best character has to go to Billy Magnussen’s Ryan. Ryan was one of the funniest characters who never failed to make me laugh. He was an interesting character, and that’s down to Magnussen’s flawless acting in this role. Ryan was such an amazing character that he’s earnt a spot on my favourite characters list (find the list here!). This was my first time watching Billy Magnussen in a film/TV show, and he didn’t disappoint. His date for the majority of this film was Sarah, played by Sharon Horgan. Horgan’s comedy was well suited to the tone of the movie and was so perfectly suited to the comedy from Billy Magnussen’s Ryan. Another hilarious character was Kevin, played by Lamorne Morris. I found his comedy in the film started off really good but gradually fell as the film went on. He was still funny in the film, but half of it came from situational comedy with his on-screen wife, Michelle. Kylie Bunbury played Michelle, and as previously mentioned comedy was mainly from scenes with Lamorne Morris’ Kevin. The main six characters (Max, Annie, Ryan, Sharon, Kevin and Michelle) had one of the best character chemistry dynamics I’ve seen in a film. In their respective couples and as one group, the characters had such a lovable relationship that was so brilliantly portrayed by them. It was evident to see that Brooks, played by Kyle Chandler, disrupted this dynamic. Chandler played Brooks well, especially in terms of making him an unlikable character. His humour had its moments but majority of the time it fell flat and failed to make me laugh. It’s worth mentioning Jesse Plemons’ character, Gary. He provided a (not-so-big) plot twist, and while some may have thought he was a good, funny character, I found myself thinking the opposite. The plot twist was decent, but his character was just awkward and failed to make me laugh.

The music was something to be majorly appreciated. It could have been better, sure, but for what it was, you had to respect it. I like how the movie both started and ended with a Queen song, both related to the film somehow. The movie made good choices in terms of songs used. I liked the use of ‘Semi-Charmed Life’ by Third Eye Blind for Annie’s little karaoke scene and ‘Quando, Quando, Quando’ by Engelbert Humperdinck for the film’s credits (where the credit’s featured a hilarious plan from Gary). The best songs in the movie were ‘We are the Champions’ at the film’s ending and Drake’s ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’ for the reveal of which celebrity Michelle had slept with. I actually loved that scene, but I’ll come on to the best scenes later.

Game Night Day 14

Ryan successfully steals the Fabergé Egg, which leads to the best scene in the movie.

The storyline was good and I like the idea of taking something that is relatable but taking it to the next level, but it did reach a point of going too far. The film tackled the story well, but it was too rushed in places. All it needed was just a few extra minutes for a few scenes to improve on the movie. The film didn’t fall down the usual hole that most films do, whereby they are too slow moving. However, it’s better to spend more time on something while it may be slow moving (even though I hate this!) than to actually rush through scenes. One of the best things that Game Night had was the camera work. It reminded me of some of the camera work seen in Edgar Wright’s films. It had imaginative scene transitions, my favourite being Max and Annie falling on a train which transitioned to the dice being rolled in Risk. The tilt-shift shots that made the city look like something out of a board game were visually stunning, and I loved the camera work for when the characters were in the car, as it looked like something out of a video game like Grand Theft Auto. The best camera had to go to the one-shot take but played on a different level. This was seen when stealing the Fabergé Egg, in a fantastic chase scene which left me in complete awe over how incredible the camera work and the scene execution was. Click on this link to watch the scene.

There were a few scenes in the movie that I loved so much. The opening with ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ with the montage of Max and Annie dominating in every game was the perfect introduction for the movie. Everyone meeting at Max and Annie’s for game night was great fun to watch and was a smooth and interesting way for us to meet every character. Admittedly, Ryan’s character introduction was the best for me, the highlight being his montage of past dates, as it was side-splittingly hilarious. The next best scene was Ryan and Sharon going to ‘Murder We Wrote’, which saw Chelsea Peretti (Gina from Brooklyn 99) in a hilarious role, where it is revealed that the kidnappers are real. After this scene, we get a juxtaposing scene with Max and Annie who haven’t discovered this yet. Though it was in the trailer, the scene of removing the bullet from Max’s arm was good fun to watch, but ruined by the trailer. From there, the next best scene was going to the mansion and discovering the secret fight clubs (and Ryan’s reaction to this was amazing!). In the mansion, two great scenes took place. The first was the reveal of which celebrity Michelle had slept with. It featured Drake’s ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’ and a fake Denzel Washington in a pay-off to an inside joke and a funny scene. The second was the Fabergé Egg chase scene. It used a one-shot take in a style similar to that of Ryan Coogler’s that was just so awesome to watch. Click on this link to watch the scene, I promise that it is worth it! The ending was a nice end to what was a fantastic film, showing a nice conclusion to the film we’d just seen as well as giving us the possibility for a sequel.

Overall, Game Night gets an 8.6/10 from me. It was a film that I was hyped to watch and it definitely delivered. It had gorgeous camera work, brilliant acting and really good comedy, despite having a few little issues that didn’t ruin what was a super movie experience. Game Night is a film that I can’t wait to rewatch and I highly recommend it to everyone. It has comedy, action and everything else you could want from a movie. Game Night is available on Now TV from Friday 16th November, on HBO (if you have a subscription) and should be added to Amazon Prime over the Christmas period.

On Monday 12th November, the world lost a real-life superhero. Stan Lee, co-creator of Marvel Comics, passed away, aged 95. Stan was a living legend, and his work for Marvel Comics has paved the way for the world of cinema for years to come. His creations such as Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four will live on, but the universe will never forget Stan Lee. May he rest in peace.

Thanks for reading this week’s review. Follow my Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) for the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures and more! I’ll be doing more polls soon, so give it a follow to have your say! Also, follow this blog to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. Next week, I review what is considered to be one of the best movies of all time, if not the best. The clue is Morgan Freeman. Can you guess which film it is? See you next week for its review!

Johnny English Strikes Again: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #35

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews! Just as a heads up, this review will contain spoilers. Spoilers will be in areas with bold warnings, but the spoilers won’t ruin what is a hilarious film.

There are some things that you associate with a country. Baguettes and croissants remind people of France, kangaroos and didgeridoos remind people of Australia and so on. Some things are unmistakably British. The Queen, fish and chips, football, and of course, spies. Since 1935 when ‘The 39 Steps’ were made, spies have been one of the biggest parts of Hollywood’s releases, with the James Bond franchise having grossed just over $7 billion at the box office. Only recently have spy films started to incorporate comedy within them, such as Kingsman and The Spy Who Dumped Me. One of the earliest examples of this was 2003’s Johnny English. 15 years later, and the series lives on, with the latest addition, Johnny English Strikes Again, hitting cinemas globally this month.

David Kerr directs the third instalment in the Johnny English, where Johnny is now retired as a teacher. When a hacker infiltrates MI7 and reveals all of the current spies out in action, Johnny is called back in to track down the hacker and bring him to justice. Johnny is reunited with Bough and together the pair must use their (lack of) skills to defeat modern technology and succeed in their mission.

Rowan Atkinson returns to play the titular character and shows that age is no restriction when it comes to making movies. Atkinson is known most famously for playing Mr Bean because of his physical comedy ability. Johnny English Strikes Again further proves that Atkinson is a master of it. Atkinson could have said nothing in this film and it would have been hilarious nonetheless. Whether it be dancing hyperactively to Darude’s Sandstorm or cooling his mouth after eating a hot nut, Atkinson nails this role once again. Ben Miller is also back to play English’s right-hand man, Agent Bough. It was great to see the duo reunited and the chemistry and comedy between them were fantastic. He was a fun character and I liked the way that Miller played him. Olga Kurylenko played Ophelia, a spy against English. I can’t reveal too much about her character, but she was a good character, well played by Kurylenko, but I felt we could have had some more character development of Ophelia, as we were just thrown in with her being there. They did develop her character a bit as the film went along, but nothing was really done with these developments. The Prime Minister was played hilariously well by Emma Thompson. I would have loved to have seen more from her character, but other than that she was great in this film.

The music was actually one of the best parts of the film. It had something for everyone, from ‘Venus’ by Bananarama to Changing by Sigma, even with Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s ‘Two Tribes’. The best music moment is a spoiler for what was the funniest part of the movie. All I’ll say is it’s Darude’s Sandstorm in a hilariously fantastic scene.

johnny-english

Johnny shows off his moves on the dancefloor.

If you don’t wish to read any spoilers, skip this next paragraph and continue reading from the next bold indication mark.

 

In all honesty, this film was funnier than I was expecting. As Johnny English is marketed as a comedy, any jokes are spoilers. Johnny English Strikes Again doesn’t fall down the usual hole of using up all the good jokes in the trailer. I found that the first half of the movie used up all of the jokes from the trailer, making the first half more boring than the second. As mentioned above, the funniest moment featured Darude’s Sandstorm. We see Johnny take a pill causing him to be hyperactive. He heads to a disco room in the hotel he’s staying at and dances wackily in time to Sandstorm, slowing down and speeding up with the music. The comedy was fantastic and better than expected.

The villain, Jason Volta (played by Jake Lacy) was kind of predictable. I figured out in the first 20 minutes what was going down. One thing that annoyed me about the film is that Ophelia was revealed to be a Russian spy, but didn’t really do much with it. The film could have had more too it and was quite simple, lacking in areas that, if expanded on (as it was only 90 minutes long) could have made for a better movie.

There are no more spoilers, and it is safe to continue reading.

Johnny English Strikes Again was quite formulaic. There’s a problem, Johnny English is called in, comedy and action take place, Johnny accuses someone who you know is the villain but MI7 think he’s crazy and has no clue he’s right, MI7 get mad and fire him, Johnny comes back and proves that he was correct and saves the day before the film ends on an awkward yet somewhat funny cliffhanger. You could argue that this is the same for most movies, such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but with Johnny English, it’s the same guy doing the same antics repeatedly, just with different comedy and different situations that he’s thrown into. In the MCU, you have different people with different backgrounds against different threats. Admittedly, the MCU is also formulaic, but not so much as other franchises like Johnny English and the Fast and Furious series. Another thing that I didn’t like is how the film would give itself away. Bough would say that something may happen, Johnny would say that he was being silly and ignore it, then it would happen five minutes later. The comedy was better than expected and actually made the film better, and that’s mainly down to Atkinson’s brilliant acting. His physical comedy combined with situations in the film was the best part of the film. However, the film was flat in places. It had its moments of great comedy and action but failed to keep me entertained throughout.

Overall, Johnny English Strikes Again is a 7.1/10. It was a good film that was interesting in places, and hilarious in others, but didn’t have much else going for it. The only reason why it got a 7.1/10 is down to Atkinson’s acting ability and humour that made the film so much better than expected.

Thanks for reading this weeks review. I know I said I’d review a prison thriller for this week, but my friends and I made plans to catch Johnny English last weekend. Sorry, this weeks review was out late. Follow me on Instagram for the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures and more. Follow my blog to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. Join me next week when I actually review a prison thriller from recently. Not many people have seen it, but I can promise that it’s a good one. See you then!

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #32

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

There were a few films that were released last year that surprised people. The Last Jedi tore Star Wars fans into loving or loathing the 8th instalment. Baby Driver (check out my review for it here) left audiences loving Edgar Wright’s work. But one that surprised me was Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. I was expecting the usual Sony, with jokes that fall flat on their face and just an all-around mess. It was actually quite the opposite. Here’s my review on Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle!

Jake Kasdan directs the sequel/spinoff/reboot of the 1995 classic, with a fantastic cast including Dwayne Johnson and Karen Gillan. Set in 2017, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle tells the story of four high school students who kind of know each other. The four are put in detention and get sucked into the video game version of Jumanji, choosing characters with certain abilities to solve puzzles and work their way out of the game and back to the real world.  Along the way, the four will go on a Breakfast-Club-like adventure of self-discovery and form friendships with people they’d least expect.

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson stars as Dr Smolder Bravestone. I said in my Baywatch review that Johnson usually plays the same character in every film. Jumanji is a rare exception. Don’t get me wrong, there are moments where he was a strong, cocky, charming, muscular video game character, but he had a more humble and interesting side, which was far more enjoyable in this film. It showed a different side to the Rock’s acting and showed he was capable of a wider acting variety, as well as delivering a great performance. Kevin Hart reunites with The Rock and plays Moose Finbar, a zoologist and Bravestone’s sidekick. Kevin Hart was basically his usual shouty irritatable self, but there were times where he was funnier than he normally is. Karen Gillan plays Ruby Roundhouse, a badass fighter chick, with the personality of a shy and awkward teen. Gillan’s portrayal was fantastic, as she brought some good humour to the character, as well as combining someone who was badass with someone who was socially awkward, which was acted out well. The best character has to go to Jack Black who played an egotistical teenage girl trapped in the body of an overweight male professor. Black was easily the best part of the movie as his comedy was him acting like a teenage girl, but it was just such great acting from him that it was an incredible performance. Nick Jonas played Alex, a teenager who had been sucked into Jumanji since 1996. I feel like he was just thrown into the mix as someone who saved the main characters, though they could have probably saved themselves without his help. The villain of Van Pelt was played by Bobby Cannavale, and he was good, but his intentions were a bit unclear and there wasn’t much of a villain. He was just a barrier for the main characters to overcome.

jumanji-3

Dr Bravestone and his team with the jewel to restore Jumanji

There wasn’t much for music in Jumanji and that kind of disappointed me. You have a great cast and a fantastic film, but choosing to play two songs, one during the credits, is a waste. There was so much potential for more good music to be used but this opportunity was missed. One of the songs was Guns N Roses ‘Welcome to the Jungle’, which should have been played during the opening. And it was too on the nose for my liking.

The plot and storyline were simple yet good. Four teenagers sucked into a video game who have to get out of the game without dying. When you add more ideas into the premise, it becomes a bigger task to solve, but also makes it a better movie, if you do it right. I think having the teenagers overcome a flaw within themselves is a great idea. A bit of a ripoff from The Breakfast Club, but still a good idea. However, it was a little difficult to see where Fridge’s character had a redemption. He basically just walked out of the jungle, fist-bumped Spencer and that was supposed to be enough for us to think he’s changed. Back on that Breakfast Club premise, it’s a good idea, but we need more time to actually understand and connect with the teenagers themselves before we can see them as basically the opposite of themselves through the characters in the game. The movie attempted to do this, and it did a fairly good job but relied on exposition to get the message across.

There were some good moments in the film that were actually pretty funny. Most of it came from Jack Black. They weren’t too memorable but were nonetheless still quite funny. I liked the action and stunts as they suited the tone of a video game and a movie at the same time. The best one that I loved the most was when Moose Finbar was resurrected and Bravestone caught him while hanging out of a helicopter which was on its side. That was awesome.

I’m going to give Jumanji a 7/10. It had a great cast and good action but lacked in some other places. It was better than what I expected and I had a fun time watching it, but there were definitely areas that could have been improved. I look forward to the sequel being made though I don’t know what they’ll do with it, it should hopefully be good.

Thanks for reading this weeks review. Follow me on Instagram (@ryans.movie.reviews) for the latest movie news, behind-the-scenes looks at upcoming movies and everything more you could want. Also, follow this blog to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this weeks review. Join me next week where I review a magical fantasy movie from the guy who found America. See you there!