Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
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When Queen Atlanna shacks up with Jango Fett from the Star Wars Universe, half human, half Atlantan Arthur Curry / Aquaman is born. Unfortunately for the Curry family, Queen Atlanna is taken back to the ocean depths to fulfill an arranged marriage which results in the birth of another son, Ed Warren who would go on to later fight ghosts in The Conjuring universe. When the existence of Aquaman is discovered, his mother is sent to The Trench to be eaten by all kinds of nasty beasties for her betrayal. This means Ed Warren grows up blaming Aquaman for his mother's death and The Green Goblin decides he needs to rain Aquaman in the ways of Atlantans so that one day he may take the throne for himself as the one true heir. Meanwhile, wannabe king pirate and future Aquaman villain Black Manta is also plotting his vengeance against Aquaman who he blames for his father's death.
I missed this at the cinema but at the time I wasn't that bothered, I have seen all the superhero movies at the cinema except this one which is probably the one I was least looking forward to. However, after it made a ridiculous amount of money and got some decent reviews I realised the error of my ways and I do regret not seeing it on the big screen now because no matter what you think of the film overall, one thing you have to agree on is that it is visually stunning and quite beautiful. There is one scene in particular that really stuck out where Aquaman is descending the depths to The Trench, followed by a single light as every frightening creature and abomination living there follows him down. That scene in itself was a piece of art.
The rest of the film, although not quite as artistic is still very entertaining. The action sequences are well executed and Jason Momoa seems a little more relaxed in the role this time around after his brief appearances in the other DCU films. I did think that secondary villain Black Manta could have been fleshed out a bit more, although his origin story is there it was done very quickly, it would have been nice to have seen a bit more of Aquaman growing up too and getting used to his powers. The back story to Atlantis was done well and the whole underwater city with it's array of fantastical creatures looked amazing. For DC this is their version of Thor, its a bit more wacky and fantastical than DC's other cinematic properties but they have injected a great sense of fun into it. Will be interesting to see where they take it.
Rick Dalton, a former star of TV westerns who has now been relegated to bad guy of the week on various other shows of 1960's and his stunt double Cliff Booth are both struggling to make it in a Hollywood that is changing fast and leaving them behind. As they both struggle to stay relevant, moving between sets and countries to keep the work flowing, a new star moves to town in the form of Sharon Tate, the actress wife of Roman Polanski who was famously murdered by Charles Manson's followers.
One thing Quentin Tarantino has got spot on with this film is the look and style of the 1960's. We see clips of films and tv shows starring Rick Dalton that play out perfectly like a 1960's TV show, the look and feel of them is quite an achievement, you wouldn't believe they weren't from the 60's. The rest of it I felt was a bit disjointed. Two thirds of the film is Rick and Cliff negotiating themselves around Hollywood and I was starting to lose interest. Luckily my interest was peaked again when Cliff first encounters Manson's followers on the film lot they occupied. From this point I was waiting for Manson and his followers to cross paths with the 2 leads and it did not disappoint. You're going to need a strong stomach for the orgy of violence that occurs in the final 10 minutes , it was certainly a memorable ending to a film. This is one of those films I think I may need to watch again before I can truly decide whether it stands up to Tarantino's other greats.
A troubled teenager brought up in the foster care system in the UK finds himself moving to a new home where he stumbles upon an underground rap battle scene. Finding himself skilled in this area he soon gains fame but when he finds the mother who abandoned him living in the same town, his anger and resentment at painful memories from the past mean he becomes a whole lot more hostile and embittered in his battles with his new friends.
The film obviously owes something to 8 Mile as it moves along similar themes, however, I would say I enjoyed this more. The rap battles are well written, clever, funny, brutally honest and in some cases very offensive. The story itself is well played out, Connor Swindells was a very decent lead and the film had a lot more heart behind it. The anger and emotion behind his encounters with his mother felt very real and moving. Worth seeing.
Wildlife is a portrait of a 1960's American family on the brink of collapse. It's a coming of age story for 14 year old Joe who is abandoned by his father when he leaves the family home to take on a low paid job fighting forest fires after losing his job (and sense of purpose) at the local golf club. Joe then witnesses the affect this has on his mother as she struggles and soon abandons all expectations and values of family life for the 1960's nuclear family and begins an affair with a local seedy business man.
The film essentially is about 3 members of the same family who don't seem to know each other at all. The youngest lead is forced to grow up fast as he finds himself powerless to stop the demise of his parent's marriage. The 3 leads were very good, the film is beautifully shot and the only slight downside was I thought Jeanette's character changed very quickly, I would have expected it to take a little longer than it did for her to do what she did in the story. Apat from that it was a very decent film.
Brickhouse US lawman Luke Hobbs and British ex military turned bad guy turned good guy Deckard Shaw who first appeared in the Fast and Furious movies at film 32 now have their own spin off. This one finds Shaw's sister steal a really nasty virus from Black Superman Brixton who has plans to wipe out humanity and start again with a race of super humans. Brixton himself is genetically enhanced so much so that he even manages to punch The Rock in the face! Behind all of these sinister plans is a mystery voice controlling everything, a voice that I am sure will be revealed in a sequel that will now doubt be announced in the next 10 minutes. Anyway, there is punching and kicking and shooting and some things blow up and then the film ends.
Now one of my deepest and darkest secrets in life is that I actually really enjoy the Fast and the Furious movies. They have got sillier and more over the top with each movie but I still find them immensely enjoyable. I don't have an excuse, it's just the way things are so deal with it! So with this love I was obviously drawn towards this silliness also. However, this one lost me. There were some enjoyable aspects to it, the banter between Hobbs and Shaw is funny, the action sequences are so ridiculous they will also make you laugh plus there is one particular cameo that also had me laughing too. So far this sounds like a comedy but it is also supposed to be an action film and that's where it loses out, the action is just too ridiculous and silly that it ends up looking like a cartoon plus the whole sci-fi element of genetically engineered super soldiers just didn't seem like a good fit. There were also things like a timer counting down to add tension but the timer seemed to still be counting down 4 hours later and it was only a 30 minute timer and our 2 heroes took 2 and a half hours of film time to discover that if they worked together they might be able to defeat the bad guy and the biggest flaw, how is Deckard Shaw even a good guy after what he did in previous movies?! It doesn't make a whole lot of sense. There are brainless and enjoyable action movies out there but it's a thin line and this movie crossed it.