True Spirit is a solid inspirational story.

An Australian teenager plans to become the youngest sailor to have travelled the world alone. In doing so, the intrepid 16-year-old not only seeks to fulfil her dream, she also faces her greatest fears at the same time.

True Spirit is based on the true story of Jessica Watson a 16 year old who was determined to sail around the world all by herself, she accomplished this in 8 months and is the youngest person to do so. 

True Spirit might be your standard inspirational movie, but at the very least it has the quality to back it up. While the writing and the filmmaking can have a very Disney Channel Original Movie type feel to it, it’s the performances mostly from Teagan Croft and the family themes that push this one to the finish line. There’s some genuinely heartwarming moments and inspirational ones that really get the viewer invested in what’s being shown, there’s some genuinely nice shots of the ocean and the atmosphere of being alone at sea is definitely present. 

As I said the writing can be on the weak side, particularly during the beginning when the movie is getting the ball rolling, however the movie at least backs it up with the charming performances and telling Jessica Watson’s story quite well. 

True Spirit is available on Netflix. 

6/10 C+


Quick Review: Viking Wolf (2022)

After witnessing a grotesque murder at a party in her new town, a teenager starts having strange visions and bizarre desires.

I really don’t have a whole lot to say here unfortunately, I was definitely interested in Viking Wolf mainly due to it’s premise, but unfortunately with the exception of some ideas being explored but never really being touched further. The rest of the movie is filled to the brim with werewolf movie cliches that don’t bring anything new. 

The movie itself looks nice enough, but the acting, writing and characters who have very poor development weigh this movie down badly. There’s some shots that are nice to look at and there’s a bit of gore that’s at least decent enough, but otherwise it’s just an overall very forgettable bad werewolf movie. 

Viking Wolf is available on Netflix. 

3/10 D-

You People is bad

A new couple and their families reckon with modern love amid culture clashes, societal expectations and generational differences.

Over the years I’ve been much more positive when it comes to bad movies especially in my reviews. I can recognize in a lot of cases there was at least some level of attempt to try and craft something interesting or good. You People is not one of those movies. 

The only positive I can give this movie is Eddie Murphy, Nia Long and Julia Louis Dreyfus who honestly try their hardest with such an embarrassing script that wastes such a great cast. There’s so many issues here that really played into how terrible You People ended up being but if we are going to talk about the worst it’s two major things, the writing and the horrendous comedic timing. 

I’ll start with the comedic timing mainly due to how flat out in your face it really is, something that you quickly notice about this movie is it builds a joke and doesn’t seem to know how to end it. So it continues the joke until the movie has no choice but to move on, there’s this one scene where Jonah Hill and Sam Jay are talking and they name drop Drake at least 9 to 11 times (yes I kept count) that whole joke was for one scene that ultimately didn’t add much to the plot. There’s so many other scenes like this that drag a joke on for far too long and each and every time it’s worse than the last. 

Then there’s the writing that is just abysmal, as I said before some of the actors try to make it work but it just doesn’t work at all, there’s a lot of celebrity name drops, attempts at cringe humor that just end up being completely embarrassing and a first act that is very fast paced for some reason. Which doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense because the movie is 1 hour and 58 minutes, so why was there a need to completely brush through the first act? We don’t get to see Jonah Hill and Lauren London bond very well at all, so how is the viewer supposed to buy in their relationship? 

You People is by far the worst movie I’ve seen so far this year, I know that’s not saying much since we are only a little bit in the year. But this just really baffled me to be quite honest. 

You People is available on Netflix 

1/10 F

JUNG_E is a beautiful film with well done dramatic moments that is mixed in it’s ideas.

In a post-apocalyptic near-future, a researcher at an AI lab leads the effort to end a civil war by cloning the brain of a heroic soldier — her mother.

JUNG_E is directed by Yeon Sang-ho directed of Train To Busan, The King Of Pigs, Psychokinesis and a few others. And unfortunately it’s disappointing to hear this but, there just isn’t a whole lot to say about JUNG_E. 

I will say that it is an improvement over Peninsula that honestly doesn’t mean much when you remember just how disappointing Peninsula was, JUNG_E nails it when it comes to the more emotional dramatic moments that Sang-ho uses in a lot of his films. Heck that’s one of the many reasons why Train To Busan is so loved by many and is still talked about to this day, there’s one scene in particular during the third act that really hits it out of the park especially when combined with the score of the film. The score is also really strong here, it hits those emotional notes really well and it has the atmosphere to back it up too. Lastly the film is absolutely gorgeous it’s a beautiful film to look at and really adds to the overall tone it’s going for. 

What hurts JUNG_E however is mainly the lack of world building and a lot of the ideas just not fully coming together, the world of JUNG_E looks and sounds really awesome the problem is we don’t get a whole lot of in depth information about it. We get some basics but admittedly some of the basics really end up being Sci-Fi cliches, being 99 minutes also really didn’t do the movie any favors either. It definitely needed more time in the oven to properly tell the story of the world and have it’s ideas fully develop. 

Overall JUNG_E is definitely not bad and is a decent movie but could have been so much more. 

JUNG_E is available on Netflix. 

6/10 C+

Dog Gone is a forgettable dog movie.

When his beloved dog goes missing, a young man embarks on an incredible search with his parents to find him and give him life-saving medication.

Dog movies have always been a small but fun little genre that audiences can easily get into, some dog movies are definitely better than others with a lot of modern ones being on the weaker side. Dog Gone is based on the book Dog Gone: A Lost Pet’s Extraordinary journey and the Family Who Brought Him Home by Paul Toutonghi, which is based off of a true story who lost their dog named Gonker back in 1998. An interesting true story but how well does the movie do? Well let’s find out! 

Dog Gone is directed by Stephen Herek who has directed quite a few recognizable movies such as Critters, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, The Mighty Ducks, 101 Dalmatians (1996) and a few others. Which is admittedly why the movie does pretty well during the first half of the movie, there’s plenty of charming moments that really match a lot of the charm Herek puts into his work. It’s obviously not as effective since it does have the Netflix Lifetime movie feel a lot of the time. But at the very least it has some level of charm that does add to the movie, having that said a huge amount of the movie has the dog go missing which is where the movie starts to show it’s cracks. A lot of the movie is focused on family issues that while could have been interesting to explore ultimately really do not add very much and are very surface level at best, there’s even an almost bar brawl that was definitely a choice to put in a dog movie. 

The main problem here with Dog Gone is the acting and writing just don’t back up the movie at all, while there isn’t anything horrible there certainly isn’t anything good here either. Nobody really gives a performance that is particularly rememberable, Rob Lowe has a few moments that are unintentionally hilarious but that’s really about it. 

Dog Gone is unfortunate case of a movie that could have been a cute little dog movie and while it is just that during the first act of the movie, the rest of it drags and is very tedious. I definitely get what they were trying to go for here but as I said before the family elements are just not well developed and the rest of the movie is very dull unfortunately. 

Dog Gone is available on Netflix. 

4/10 D+

The Pale Blue Eye has great performances but with a weak script.

Veteran detective Augustus Landor investigates a series of grisly murders with the help of a young cadet who will eventually go on to become the world-famous author Edgar Allan Poe.

The Pale Blue Eye serves as an origin story to Edgar Allen Poe (kind of) I will give credit where credit is due it’s definitely one of the better Edgar Allen Poe movies that have come out recently. But that really doesn’t mean much when the movie itself falls short, Christian Bale and Harry Melling are both quite great especially Harry Melling who actually does a far better job as Edgar Allen Poe than you would expect. The film itself is shot pretty well and the location helps the movie standout a bit from a lot of other gothic horror films, unfortunately that’s where the movie really ends for me. While the story itself is interesting in concept the movie really doesn’t do anything with it, it’s way too slow for it’s own good especially combined with a 2 hour and 8 minute runtime that just draws out. The worst offender is the twist ending that was way too predictable but at the same time made very little sense, it’s honestly one of those endings that completely breaks a movie and truly makes the rest of the movie seem incredibly pointless. Finally The Pale Blue Eye does barely little to differentiate itself from other gothic horror movies, while yes the filming and the locations help out a bit just about everything else is working against it. A lot of this movie is a gothic horror movie with an Edgar Allen Poe overlay over it, it’s a shame because this did have potential but unfortunately much like a lot of Scott Cooper’s work the ideas are most certainly there the execution is just severely lacking.

The Pale Blue Eye is available on Netflix.

4/10 D+

Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths is beautifully made but lacking in direction.

A renowned Mexican journalist and documentary filmmaker returns home and works through an existential crisis as he grapples with his identity, familial relationships and the folly of his memories.

I can absolutely respect the craft that went into Bardo as it has some of the most exciting cinematography and camera movement of the year, Darius Khonji did a really fantastic job with the cinematography and really deserves a huge round of applause. Everything else is a huge mixed bag unfortunately, Alejandro González Iñárritu clearly has a lot of talent but the writing just did not come together all that well here. Daniel Giménez Cacho gave a great performance and there were parts of Silverio Gala’s story that were pretty investing, there’s some chaotic energy to the movie that is pretty neat and very welcoming. But for the most part the movie is way too self-indulgent for it’s own good and never settles on what it’s trying to say themes of Mexican culture identity, filmmaking, journalistic ethics In documentary filmmaking and more were explore but not nearly enough to give the idea of what Iñárritu is trying to really say here. The 160 minute running time doesn’t exactly help either, there’s times where the viewer becomes very tired and checks the nearest watch. It’s unfortunate because I’m sure there is a good movie here it’s just not showing up unfortunately.

Bardo is available on Netflix.

5/10 C

Lady Chatterley’s Lover is well crafted but lacking in strength.

After falling out of love with her husband following a war injury, Lady Chatterley pursues a torrid affair with the gamekeeper on their estate and begins to uncover her own internal biases.

I think I respect Lady Chatterley’s Lover when it comes to the craftsmanship more than I do when it comes to parts like the writing, the film has some strong performances from Emma Corrin and Jack O’Connell who actually have very strong chemistry between one another. The costumes are very well detailed, the filming is quite beautiful and the direction from Laura de Clermont-Tonnerre (director of The Mustang) is very well done with really strong craftsmanship and a lot of attention to detail in a lot of scenes as well. Unfortunately what bogs this down is the script being on the weaker side, there’s just not enough strength in certain scenes that really could have used the extra push.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover is available on Netflix.

6/10 C+

The Wonder is a grounded story with strong themes.

Set in The Irish Midlands in 1862, the story follows a young girl who stops eating but remains miraculously alive and well. English nurse Lib Wright is brought to a tiny village to observe eleven-year old Anna O’Donnell. Tourists and pilgrims mass to witness the girl who is said to have survived without food for months.

The opening shot of The Wonder immediately sets the dark tone of the movie quite well and sort of serves as a thesis statement of the film, the major things that really keep this film a float are the cast combined with the score. Florence Pugh once again absolutely nails it here, like in many of her other roles she truly dives into her performance and puts so much acting power into it. Which results in some very raw moments that really push the film to a darker direction, Kíla Lord Cassidy who is a newcomer also knocks it out of the park quite well, like Pugh her performance brings some rawness into the mix and really works well with the script. If you have seen a Sebastián Lelio (Gloria Bell, Disobedience, A Fantastic Woman and a few others) film before you know exactly what type of direction you are going to get here and that is not a bad thing at all. Something Lelio really excels at is telling very grounded stories that have a lot more themes then you would think and The Wonder is no exception. The score is very cleverly used especially when its used during moments where the plot really starts to tip upside down, it starts to feel like everything is falling apart in a metaphorical sense. The only main criticism is that the first act is a bit too slow and takes awhile to get going, the first act is by no means bad in anyway it’s just sort of left in the shadows of the rest movie due to just how much happens later on. Once you start to get what exactly is going on and really digest it all, it really starts to come together and create a very dark painting.

The Wonder is available on Netflix.

8/10 B+

Christmas Streaming Movie double feature: Scrooge: A Christmas Carol and A Hollywood Christmas.

On Christmas Eve miserly businessman Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley and the spirits of Christmas past, present and future in the hope that he will learn the error of his ways.

Scrooge: A Christmas Carol is exactly what you expect it to be, it’s basically yet another take on the classic story by Charles Dickens. And it pretty much plays out all of the events of the story you expect to, only this one is a musical. The songs are surprisingly very charming and are by far some of the best parts of the movie, there’s a ton of energy to them and the singing voices are quite great as well, unfortunately what does bog the movie down is the character designs. Which really looks like those mobile game ads you commonly see, the three ghosts are exempt from this which they actually have some pretty neat designs and are voice very well! Olivia Colman voices Ghost of Christmas Past while Trevor Dion Nicholas voices Ghost of Christmas Present, both do a really solid job and bring so much charm to their roles, plus the two are actually pretty funny. Luke Evans as Scrooge is fine enough, he gets the job done but it’s nothing really to write home about. As I said before the story plays out exactly how you expect it to and if you can past the character designs you will find a genuinely fun movie here. It’s probably not something that you will ever revisit but for what it is it’s not half bad.

Scrooge: A Christmas Carol is available on Netflix.

6/10 C+

A successful Christmas movie director begins living her own Christmas movie when a handsome network exec shows up threatening to halt production on her latest film.

A Hollywood Christmas is HBO Max Christmas movie number four (not even halfway through December yet). This is not as bad as expected but good lord is this the definition of bland, it’s essentially about a movie director who wants to make a Christmas movie and wants to keep the Christmas formula until some network executive threatens to halt production. The premise itself actually leads to a couple moments that got a laugh out of me and I’ll give the movie credit it actually tried to use it’s premise in a interesting way. Well at least at first…it slowly but surely starts to evolve into the bad Christmas type of movie we all know and it does very little to recover. The writing is very forgettable, the characters aren’t anything to write home about and the rest of the movie is sort of a mess. A Hollywood Christmas isn’t offensive or anything, it’s just another very forgettable Christmas movie that after the credits roll you won’t ever come back to.

A Hollywood Christmas is available on HBO Max.

4/10 D+