Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
Forgot your password?
Don't have an account? Sign up here
Already have an account? Log in here
and the Terms and Policies,
and to receive email from Rotten Tomatoes and Fandango.
Please enter your email address and we will email you a new password.
No user info supplied.
The Princess Switch is like Disneyâ(TM)s The Parent Trap (1998) with a modified plot, Christmas setting, and double the dose of Vanessa Hudgens. The film follows Stacy De Novo (Hudgens) who runs into Lady Margaret (also Hudgens), they realise they both look identical and decide to swap lives for two days, one living life as a royal and the other as a persevering baker.
Whether you check out the trailer, poster, or synopsis for this film you know exactly what youâ(TM)re going to get, a romance film with a simple predictable plot and cheesy humour sprinkled throughout. But this doesnâ(TM)t result in a bad movie because it is very self aware, it knows what it is, embraces it, and doesnâ(TM)t try to paint itself as something incredible. One of the biggest things The Princess Switch has going for it is the heart and Christmas spirit so cleverly weaved into the main plot. Without the Christmas angle youâ(TM)d lose a lot of the heart and life in the story making it a pretty dull watch. But because of the setting it actually enhances the film and gives the events a little more meaning and some lighthearted messages.
If youâ(TM)re looking for a story with complexity or something that will shock you with its developments then this isnâ(TM)t it. It progresses more or less how youâ(TM)d expect it to and moves along at a very quick pace, which with a runtime of 1 hour 40 minutes goes by in no time. The story is actually mildly engaging and never gets to the point of being boring. The cheesy humour sprinkled throughout doesnâ(TM)t hit the mark in terms of producing any audible laughs but itâ(TM)s cute and it knows itâ(TM)s being silly so you can just enjoy it whether youâ(TM)re laughing with it or at it.
As far as the performances go, there werenâ(TM)t really any scenes demanding some masterclass acting but I enjoyed everyoneâ(TM)s performances. Vanessa Hudgens plays the dual roles quite convincingly despite having to put on a questionable British accent. Sheâ(TM)s very charismatic, uplifting, and brings life to all of her scenes to where it might not be the greatest movie but Vanessa makes it a fun time regardless. Sheâ(TM)s the face of the movie and the only one who really stands out among the cast. Sam Palladio who plays Prince Edward and Nick Sagar who plays Kevin Iâ(TM)d say are both good in the movie. They donâ(TM)t really have a tonne to do but they do have a role in their respective romantic story arcs and theyâ(TM)re serviceable there. Alexa Adeosun plays Stacyâ(TM)s daughter and for a young actress with no previous acting credits she does just as well as everyone else in here.
In the end, The Princess Switch is a Netflix Christmas movie thatâ(TM)s a fun easy watch you can just kick back with one night. The humour is silly and the story is pretty basic however the inclusion of Vanessa Hudgens and the presence of a positive Christmas spirit make it a decent watch. Itâ(TM)s got themes of family and love woven into the story which makes it a sweet watch this holiday season.
Return to The Wizarding World with another entry in the Fantastic Beasts franchise which follows Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) on his next adventure. Tasked by Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) with putting a stop to Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), Newt travels to Paris where trouble and magic ensues.
I enjoyed the first film in the Fantastic Beasts franchise with its major negative being the unfocused and rather busy plot. Unfortunately this issue isnâ(TM)t handled any better in The Crimes of Grindelwald where the story is constantly jumping all over the place and as a result is a bit of a mess. I didnâ(TM)t have a lot of fun with this sequel overall, and that is for the most part due to how the story progresses and the pace at which it does so. Of the various subplots all moving towards a common ending I didnâ(TM)t find the majority of them too engaging. A couple of characters storylines I was invested in but the majority I wasnâ(TM)t completely on board with. There are a lot of moving parts with a lot of information being thrown around and at times itâ(TM)s a bit too much to absorb. The unfocused nature of the story made it hard for me to really engage in all components of the plot as the jumping around was jarring and some subplots were considerably more interesting than others. It does have a number of surprises and pretty decent payoffs up its sleeve but getting there is a chore.
By far, the biggest highlight of the film are the performances which are on-point across the board. Eddie Redmayne leads the film as Newt, his charisma and the uplifting nature of his character make for a compelling protagonist who is easy to get behind on this adventure. The supporting performances from Ezra Miller (Credence), Dan Fogler (Jacob), Alison Sudol (Queenie), and Katherine Waterston (Tina) are strong and they all have some very effective emotional scenes to capitalise on throughout the story. Newcomer Jude Law makes a number of appearances here as a younger Albus Dumbledore and I enjoyed Lawâ(TM)s performance as the professor as well as the role he plays in the film. Heâ(TM)s a very different Dumbledore here which is as expected but I thought his presence not only made sense for the story but also wasnâ(TM)t overused or forced in at any point. By far my biggest concern going into this sequel was how Johnny Depp would be as Grindelwald as I wasnâ(TM)t sure Iâ(TM)d be able to take him seriously. But surprisingly, he was quite possibly my favourite part of the film. Depp does away with the over-the-top mannerisms and plays an evil and formidable antagonist very convincingly as he did with Whitey Bulger in 2015â(TM)s Black Mass.
Director David Yates has had his finger on the pulse of the Wizarding World since Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) and it shows in how despite the story woes this film mostly retains that magical tone synonymous with the entire franchise. Visually the film is astounding, the effects work used to bring to life the various beasts, magic, and environments is one of the filmâ(TM)s biggest strengths. If you want to believe magic is real, this film doesnâ(TM)t do anything to make than any less of a reality.
Despite the positives such as the visuals and performances, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald suffers from a convoluted plot with a few too many moving parts resulting in something thatâ(TM)s a bit of a mess. The execution of the story and the buildup over time isnâ(TM)t very engaging but the payoff in the end does still have me looking forward to the future of the franchise. Fans of the Wizarding World will no doubt get more out of the story with all of the small details and easter eggs but there is still some enjoyment to be had nonetheless.
40 years after the events of John Carpenter's original Halloween Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has been preparing for her final confrontation with The Shape, and when he escapes from captivity she finally gets her chance at revenge.
David Gordon Green helms this direct sequel to the original 1978 classic and you can tell that as well as being a sequel this is a love letter to the original written by fans of the franchise. Halloween is littered with visual and audial references to the original that add to the enjoyment for fans of the franchise but aren't at all jarring for someone who is coming fresh into the franchise. I love the callbacks from the various shots calling back to moments in the original to the presence of John Carpenter's iconic and still chilling theme. The story being told here is thrilling and a return to the slasher films of old but it's still very much in line with how a typical slasher film would progress. The pacing for the most part is pretty spot on, the first act has a couple of rough patches where it's a little up and down in the process of setting up Laurie and Michael's paths to cross. But once the second act kicks in it's a straight path to the finish line and it only gets better and more intense from there as Michael leaves behind a trail of blood and destruction.
Once I got a feel for the new characters and where things are heading I was hooked and on the edge of my seat right through to the end. The most engaging moments are those that focus on Laurie where you get to see what living in fear for 40 years does to a person and their family. How she's been training and what she is going through now that Michael is once again on the loose is a fascinating story point that I would have loved to even see a little more of. Some of the stuff revolving around Laurie's granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) I wasn't as highly invested in but I still found her journey in this story interesting.
The star of the show however is and will always be The Shape. Halloween is his night and he has waited 40 years to continue the killing spree he began and never got to fully see to its conclusion. This is his movie and watching Michael navigate the world leaving bodies in his path makes for a tonne of haunting fun. He's a terrifying figure looming in the darkness and you never know exactly when he's going to strike, but what you can be sure of is that it's going to take a lot to stop him. The way he is shot as he moves through this film is fantastic because you get enough of him but never so much that the camera is always fixed on him. Green makes this great creative decision where the camera is rarely focused on Michael, instead it's the house, the street, or the environment he is in that the camera moves through and Michael you always know is somewhere close by. It gives every scene this heightened suspense harking back to the tone of the original. The cinematography as a whole from Michael Simmonds is stellar with a number of well shot sequences standing out to me long after the credits began to roll. The confronting nature of how the brutal action sequences are shot is fantastic as it's all in line with the character and the regard he has for human life.
Jamie Lee Curtis' return is one of the biggest draws of this sequel, seeing her jump right back into her most iconic role without the burden of the sequels weighing on her is awesome. And she plays the role so damn well, from the moment she first shows up on screen I'm like this is a very different Laurie Strode but an understandably different Laurie considering what she's gone through. She's gritty, intense, and determined to get her revenge and Jamie sold me on that in every one of her scenes. Judy Greer plays Laurie's daughter Karen and she has a good arc throughout the story in how it focuses on her fractured relationship with her mother but I did find her to be one of the least intriguing characters. She was fine as a secondary character I just wasn't as engaged in her journey as I was Laurie's or even Allyson's. Andi Matichak who plays Allyson is fine in the film, to be fair as the majority of the focus is on Laurie and Michael she doesn't have a whole lot to do but she puts in a good enough performance to where I wanted to see where some elements of her story went.
In the end, Halloween which is the direct sequel to Halloween (if that makes any sense) is a great slasher film that takes the franchise back to its roots and gives us the sequel we have deserved. It has a great story, brings in great new and returning characters, is a thrilling ride right to the end, and is about as good as I think a Halloween sequel can be after so many subpar attempts. Fans of horror should love this film which breathes new life into the now pretty dormant slasher genre without really bringing much new to the genre which is both confusing and impressive. It suffers from some early pacing issues and a couple of story arcs not being too engaging but overall is a thrilling story that doesn't disappoint. The Shape is still a brutal force of nature and it's worth checking out just to see him in action once again.
A Star is Born is the fourth remake of the classic 1937 film of the same name and follows Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) who discovers a struggling singer Ally (Lady Gaga) and helps her find fame whilst also fighting his own personal battles.
As well as starring as the lead, Bradley Cooper directs the film and he has done a beyond exceptional job telling this emotional and deeply moving love story for his directorial debut. The story is one that hooks you in early with the introductions to the two leads which give you all you need to know about them for the time being. They are both well fleshed out over time and the way their relationship develops through the story is thoroughly engaging and full of emotional highs and lows. Because you care about these two so early you feel like you are along this journey with them and it definitely plays on your emotions in a very natural way. It's a moving romantic tale between these two characters who share a special bond but both have so much going on in their lives that it creates plenty of drama. I loved all of the subplots that drop in and out linking to previous scenes and it all runs very smoothly. The plot progresses at a moderate pace, never too quick and definitely doesn't feel like it's dragging at any point. Music scenes are broken up by emotional dialogue and character development sequences and vice-versa making it a very balanced experience.
Speaking of the music, the songs in here whether they are from the vocals of Bradley Cooper or Lady Gaga are just beautiful. There are a number of great ones to where picking a top three would be tough. They're all integrated into the story in a fluid way that doesn't feel like they're just thrown in at any moment. Each song plays into the story, and the lyrics add to the emotional weight of certain sequences that are both uplifting and distressing.
The lead performances from Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga are beyond exceptional and the chemistry they exhibit throughout the movie is brilliant. Bradley Cooper is an actor with a vast filmography of great performances but he plays this very emotionally complex character so well it is one of his best. His character in the film is dealing with alcoholism along with a number of other battles and Cooper plays this side of the character so well it blended the lines between what's real and what's a performance. He is so captivating in every scene that you completely buy into this character and get behind him as if he is a real person fighting real difficulties. And then on the other side you have Lady Gaga who out of nowhere has delivered one of the finest performances of the year. The raw emotion she brings to the role will no doubt move you to the brink of tears and at times put a smile on your face. In what is really her first starring role in a film she kills it and is enthralling to watch more and more as the story progresses. Sam Elliott has a smaller supporting role as the brother of Bradley Cooper's character and even he has some great smaller moments shared with Cooper that had me very invested in their relationship.
There's not really much else to say about this, there's nothing that stood out as something I disliked so A Star is Born is one of the best movies of the year and the strongest love story of 2018 so far. The performances from Cooper and Gaga are exceptional and drive the plot forward in directions you won't see coming as long as you are a newcomer to the story. Their relationship is a complex one that takes you through a rollercoaster of emotional highs and lows from scene to scene. Bradley Cooper's directing is what really brings everything together amazingly well and he proves he's definitely got talent outside the world of acting. The music is the heart and soul of the film delivered fantastically by Cooper and Gaga, I can't pick out a song that doesn't work with where the story is at the time. For fans of country music, or a compelling love story, or if you just love seeing Lady Gaga perform this is absolutely a must-see film.
Netflix's Apostle follows Thomas Richardson (Dan Stevens) who in 1905 ventures on a mission to rescue his sister from the clutches of a dangerous religious cult.
From the mind of writer/director Gareth Evans comes Apostle, a twisted, bloody, and disturbing story navigating through an equally as twisted and disturbing isolated community. From its trailer Apostle promised to be something dark, horrifying, and transfixing and it is all of those for the most part, with absolutely no shortage of blood. It makes use of a chilling score, distressing visuals, and a pretty thrilling story to hold your attention for the majority of its runtime. It's a very slow burn, at two hours and ten minutes in length it's definitely not sprinting towards the climax. It takes its time to build tension, develop characters, and allow the mystery to unfold in as many horrifying ways as it can think of. Despite the slow pace which builds as it approaches the insanity of the third act I thought the tension was very up and down throughout. I found that it didn't hold the thrilling sense of intensity the whole way through and it dropped in and out here and there through the first two acts. It definitely gets to a higher point by the third act but it doesn't do so smoothly which led to a rocky experience that felt lacking for me. But when it is switched on and focused on the core plot it's great. I was disturbed, unsettled, and genuinely enjoying the ride when it was on the right path.
Where the focus began to waver slightly from the main plot is where the story just didn't hold up as well. When the focus is on Thomas navigating the inner workings of this cult I was intrigued but when it starts to shift to one specific subplot it started to lose me. There is a romantic subplot in here which is in the background for the majority but does come into the forefront for some time and it didn't work for me. It overtakes the core plot at a crucial point and it became more frustrating than anything. I understand what it stood for a that point in the film but there didn't need to be as much emphasis on it to where I felt like I was watching a different story. But nonetheless, the gruelling rescue mission that Thomas is undergoing is engaging and some of the faces he comes across along the way make for great compelling characters. The story doesn't always go where you expect so I commend it for that but I didn't always love the direction. The deviations it takes through the first two acts I thought worked but the insane third act felt a little too different for me to engage with it in it the way I was previously. It's a slightly different breed this third act, the brutality of it fit but when compared to the previous two acts I'd have liked it more if it wasn't as large of a leap in pacing.
As for the performances, Dan Stevens is captivating in the lead role and does well in selling the sheer terror of the situation his character finds himself in and what he is dealing with. He doesn't have a specific scene in which he can show off the full range of his acting ability here which is a shame but he's good nonetheless. Lucy Boynton is an actress who I have loved since discovering her in Sing Street (2015) and she's great in here too. She isn't given a tonne of screen-time or big moments so there's not a lot to go off with her performance but she's one of the highlights. Michael Sheen plays the sinister Father Malcolm and is the standout performer for me. He commands the screen whenever he's on and there's a looming presence associated with his character that never dissipates.
In the end, Apostle is a good movie with some elements that are incredible, intense, and thoroughly entertaining. Then there are some aspects such as the patchy pacing and story choices that hold back how thrilling it could have been. It's a brutal ride but the brutality is warranted and fits within the context of the film. I need to mention the chilling minimalistic score which is one element that never dipped in quality the entire way through. It's a good watch if this sort of film is your thing, but if you're not a fan of brutal and bloody close-quarters action then this may not be the best option for a night in.