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Moonlight – Review

The last of the three Best Picture nominees I wanted to see before the Academy Awards themselves. The reason this film caught my attention was the amount of online reviewers I follow giving it high praise and some including it in their top 10 lists.

I liked it but it didn’t live up to the hype. It’s good but I just wasn’t amazed the way other people seemed to be. It’s probably due to my genre preferences though as this is just as good as the other Best Picture nominees I’ve seen but because I tend to prefer movies that are fun I didn’t get the same enjoyment out of it that other film reviewers had.

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The film has a great cast. It’s great seeing more from Mahershala Ali who was fantastic in Luke Cage. It’s a shame he’s only part of the first act as his character gets most of the best lines. The three actors playing Chiron do a great job of making you feel like you’re watching the same person in each act.

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I’d say the first two acts of the film are the strongest with the third act being a good conclusion to the story but dragged on a bit at times. Out of the three nominees I saw I think this and La La Land have the best chance of winning the Best Picture Oscar.

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Digimon Adventure tri. 4: Soshitsu

The newest of the Digimon movies that are also episodes. It’s at this point where the release schedule starts to effect the quality of these movisodes.

There’s some interesting lore that gets explored in this right from the start as we finally see a bit of the original generation of Chosen Children (Digidestined) that existed before the original series and the Harmonious Ones. This puts some of the newer characters from the tri series in a new context. Also the evil version of Gennai gets more screentime and he’s really creepy, the fact he appears to only be a henchman is particularly interesting.

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The problem with this is that the formula has gotten tiresome. One or two members of the original team have a problem that takes the full movie to resolve resulting in their partner Digimon reaching their Mega/Ultimate stage. This particular story feels like it should have only covered one or two episodes instead of four, which it’s only doing to be a movie. I actually found Sora and Biomon’s character arc to be interesting (except the love triangle teasing, bored of that) but it was stretched out for too long keeping them from exploring the other interesting themes introduced more.

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There’s two more of these movies left with the next one set to come out some time this year (no month has been specified yet though). Hopefully that means the next one will start answering questions. What happened to the 02 characters and the real Gennai? Are Tai and Meiko going to be a thing? Does Joe’s girlfriend really exist?

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WITCH – Review

This is going to be a bit different from my usual reviews as it’s not a movie but a live performance by three of my friends. Together they’re part of a group called Circle of Spears and this was my first time getting to see said group perform.

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The show itself is based on the witch trials of Elizabethan times but actually focuses on the process that determines if a trial will take place or not. It gives an interesting look at the history and after the show ended we were also told about some of the real life cases that inspired it. The three actors each do a great job portraying these characters and while as their friend I’m obviously going to have some bias in this area I can tell that their friendship really helps them to play off each other really well not just in their performances but the with the show’s writing too.

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I had a good time seeing this, it’s a small production but even without my bias as their friend I think the show itself is good and worth checking out if you have the time. You can check their website if you’re interested in checking it out, they have a list of upcoming performances of this show along with the option to purchase tickets. And for those of you hoping to see a movie review I should have another one of those coming soon.

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Hidden Figures – Review

I don’t normally watch films based on true stories. I don’t dislike them or anything, I’ve seen some pretty good ones, but promotion for the films don’t really get me interested in them so when I see them it’s usually because my family are watching a movie together. But from the things I heard about this film from online reviewers this is one of the three Best Picture nominees at this year’s Oscars that I became interested in seeing (the third being Moonlight which unfortunately isn’t showing in my local cinemas).

It was good. The history was interesting and the cast are all talented. The film handles the racism and sexism subject very effectively and doesn’t limit itself to the more obvious examples either. Some of the more effective scenes in the film are focused more on the subtle ways prejudice would hold these women back.

 

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The three different stories are told well with each of the three leads giving great performances. Sometimes the scenes focused on their personal lives outside of work did feel a little rushed and while that is understandable given that they aren’t the focus there were a couple of moments where the fast pacing stood out.

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If you’re interested in seeing some of the Oscar nominated movies before the Academy Awards themselves this is a good one to check out.

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The LEGO Batman Movie – Review

First new film to come out in the cinema this year and one I’ve been excited about for a while. The LEGO Movie was one of the best films to come out in the last few years and one of the film’s highlights was its take on Batman, the perfect parody of the direction DC have taken the character in the last few years. I’ve also been really impressed by the figure designs they’ve made for this movie (including the best design for Killer Croc).

This is the best Batman movie I’ve seen in a long time. It really is a celebration of the Batman franchise as a whole managing to flawlessly mash up drastically different takes on the character together in one world. But while you can see a lot of love for Batman throughout the film it’s also not afraid to highlight all the problems with the dark brooding loner Batman many of us have grown tired of with the central message of the film being that Batman is better when the Batfamily are around.

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Once again Will Arnett is perfect as Batman, a big part of what makes this take on the character work is his voice. The rest of the cast was great too. Ralph Finnes was such a great pick for Alfred, Michael Cera’s take on Robin is a lot of fun and Rosario Dawson’s Batgirl while not a stand out performance is still a neat take on the character.

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Out of the new performances I’d say Zach Galifianakis’ Joker stands out the most. After Leto’s mediocre Heath Ledger impression it’s great hearing an actor bring something new to the Joker’s voice. The way the character is written is also entertaining with the Batman/Joker relationship being treated like an actual relationship. While Mark Hamill will always be the best Joker Zach Galifianakis easily makes it into the top 3 (along with John DiMaggio in Under The Red Hood).

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I also played a bit of the LEGO Dimensions Story Pack. It’s been a lot of fun so far with fun new mechanics and puzzles made with the new characters in mind. I really like the way it uses the Starter Pack Batman by replacing him with the version of the character from the movie with an improved moveset and new dialogue from Will Arnett. I rarely used my Starter Pack Batman but now thanks to the Always Batman Red Brick he’s going to be one of the characters I used the most. I’ve only played two levels so far but I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest are like, with this being the last Story Pack (until Year 3 anyway) I didn’t want to finish it right away.

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If you’ve ever liked Batman you’re going to enjoy this movie. Is it as good as The LEGO Movie? No. Is it my favourite Batman movie? No. But it’s still a great movie and we’re probably not going to get another Batman movie this good until they decide to make a sequel. It’s clear to me that LEGO’s cinematic movies are going to be a lot of fun no matter what, I’m even starting to look forward to the LEGO Ninjago movie coming out later this year after seeing the trailer and I didn’t really care for the show.

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La La Land – Review

I was going to watch this film at some point and since I have an Odeon Limitless account now I figured I might as well see it in the cinema allowing me to see something in the cinema in January and see this film while the Oscar nominations are still somewhat fresh. Interesting note about seeing a Best Picture nominated film in the cinema, most of the trailers are for serious dramas, most of them being based on true stories, including another Best Picture nominee.

It’s good. Would it have made my top 10 last year if it’s UK release wasn’t delayed? No but it would have gotten an honourable mention for being a very well made film with a decent story, catchy music and a talented cast.

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Both leads do a fantastic job playing their roles and deserve the award nominations they’ve received. And since this is a musical it should go without saying that they’re both great singers. Emma Stone in particular gets a song near the end that I was really impressed by her performance of.

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Speaking of the songs they were good with great melodies. Unfortunately the lyrics weren’t that memorable, especially when compared to the other musicals I watched last year such as Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Moana and Spies Are Forever. However I will admit that this could change after listening to them again and I do want to listen to these songs again.

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The film’s visuals are impressive and compliment the music really well. Some of the best scenes are when the instrumental tracks and visuals are the focus including a really impressive ending sequence.

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Overall it’s a fun film that’s worth a watch. While it may not be 2016’s best musical it’s still an impressively made one and a nice start to my Odeon Limitless experience which shall hopefully allow me to see much more films than I would have seen otherwise.