Review: The Babysitter (2017)

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“Things get messy when you make a deal with the devil.”
– Bee

SYNOPSIS: The events of one evening take an unexpected turn for the worst for a young boy trying to spy on his babysitter. – via IMDB

Ah! This movie! This is so my cup of tea, and I enjoyed the hell out of this. Chop, I am so with you on this one, it’s great! Everything works.

The cast is really what makes this – they all seem to be having an absolute blast, and that comes through. I think that Judah Lewis was fantastic as Cole, and Samara Weaving was great as Bee. She totally nailed down that sort of girl next door thing but with an extremely healthy dose of crazy. The two of them play off one another really well, and I loved watching them together. She really was like the best babysitter, and you could understand how he saw her as probably his best friend, even if it meant she had to stay his babysitter.

I would like to thank McG and co from the bottom of my heart for a shirtless Robbie Amell for essentially the whole movie. Yes, for science, and your contribution is immensely appreciated. So. Much. He was hilarious to boot, too, but still. Science.

Okay, back to the movie, right? Sorry, can’t help it, he was distracting in the movie, too. I think the humour for The Babysitter was spot on, and definitely had me laugh quite a few times. This movie totally embraces how crazy it is, and it just works. I really loved the little cuts in the movie to show certain events (the pocket knife, Cole’s plans, etc). I also think that things were just pretty weird all round. The Babysitter is a load of fun, and just goes for it every step of the way.

Anyway, as you can tell I had a great time with The Babysitter. If you are into horror comedy, this should totally work for you. It’s a total blast and it has some fantastic moments and silly characters, with a solid score and it looks stylish, too. Absolutely worth the watch!

Review: The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

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“Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
– Andy Dufresne

SYNOPSIS: Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency. – via IMDB

Seriously. Truly. Wow. I definitely know there are more eloquent reviews on this movie, and it has been discussed endlessly, and it is that great and all, but I am going to try and share my two cents about this movie. I decided to rewatch The Shawshank Redemption recently after watching Gone With The Wind. Not because they are remotely the same or anything like that, but because I was in the mood for serious(ly) fantastic movies.

Well, this certainly ticked those boxes.

The Shawshank Redemption has a great story to tell, sure, but it is the characters and the performances from the actors that played them that are really the stars here. Everyone lives their role, gets right into it, and because of that you are swept up into the narrative as delivered by Red. Red tells you Andy’s story, we see Andy’s story, and it is told with such spirit that you can laugh like crazy in some places and just love all that is going on, and then be driven to sadness and heavy contemplative silence within five minutes of one another. It’s an amazing thing when a film can so successfully balance the opposites like that.

Andy suffered some extreme situations while in Shawshank, but there were also some amazing things that he achieved, even while imprisoned. Naturally there are the men who went on to become Andy’s friends, headed up by Red. The band of men have great camaraderie between one another, and they really all respect each other and get along. They are quite tight-knit, and it is sweet. The Shawshank Redemption is a story told from within a prison, but there are large sections of time where you forget this fact when watching the men together, and then the point is run home when you realise that they have to barter to have a few beers while working, or that they have to report to someone the whole time.

The movie doesn’t really dwell on the crimes these men committed to land them in Shawshank. It focuses a lot more on Andy’s story, sure, but also how these men have adjusted to life, and how they have worked through the acts that landed them there. Some for the better, some not so much. It’s also something to say about the storytelling that the free, law-abiding men are all twisted and crooked, and the men on the inside, the convicted criminals, are often portrayed as the more trusty, honest lot. Interesting times.

The score for this is absolutely fantastic, and truly lends itself to the experience. The performances are all great, and the pacing for the story drags you in and makes you forget all about the clock, and I love it when a movie is able to do that. You feel genuine hope, happiness, anger and sadness when watching The Shawshank Redemption, and it is great when a movie can make you feel all these emotions, not just some of them. I would highly recommend The Shawshank Redemption, and if you have seen it, I think it is high time for a rewatch.

November Blind Spot Review: City of God (2002)

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“You need more than guts to be a good gangster. You need ideas.”
– Rocket

SYNOPSIS: Two boys growing up in a violent neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro take different paths: one becomes a photographer, the other a drug dealer. – via IMDB

Man, I have been meaning to get to this movie for years and years and just never have, and finally I can cross it off my list. I don’t know about Top Ten Movies of All Time material or anything (which is where I see this movie listed often), but this movie is definitely fantastic and well worth the watch. It is heavy and handled exceptionally well, and comes across as authentic, not some attempt at a sob story from a dangerous area.

First off, City of God does not pussyfoot around in terms of the violence, drug use, and life in the slums. Oh no. You get kids with guns doing drugs and killing people and it is just the way it is, and you get a look at junkies, you see robberies and plenty murder. I have no issue with it, but I think some people might find it a little hardcore. I think it told the story in a gritty, brutal manner, and didn’t sugarcoat things.

City of God has an array of characters, and they are all interesting, all bringing a new facet to the story, and I quite liked that. The story is so interesting and immersive, being told in disjointed chapters which all fit together seamlessly as they are laid out. I was mesmerised from the off. It takes a few minutes to get rolling, but once it catches it barrels right along and it is so good. It is so heavy to see the conditions that people live in, and how the violence and danger was simply accepted as a way of life.

There are some heavy scenes that come up throughout the movie that just get your blood boiling (Li’l Zé, you are a supreme dweeb). Benny is a character you cannot help but like – he is just likeable. Yes, he’s in the whole drug racket and is respected and will do what is necessary, but he is also more level-headed and fair, so the people like him more. Rocket, our main peanut, is in a sticky situation all throughout the movie as he does not want to be either a cop or a hood, and I can’t think you would have a lot of options in the slums. Li’l Zé is a freaking crackpot crazy – no two ways about it o.O

Anyway, City of God benefits from a good cast that presents to us an uncomfortable but important and engrossing story. It is gritty and brutal, authentic and heartfelt. The film is shot well and the score works hand in hand with the visuals to draw you in. You become invested in what you are seeing, and the movie truly provokes viewer engagement throughout. You are fascinated, but you don’t want to be these people. For people uhming and ahing about this because it is subtitled, get over it. The story is awesome and you will hardly be aware of those subtitles.

Rapid Review: Star Wars Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)

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day 25 the force awakens poster

“There’s been an awakening. Have you felt it? The Dark side, and the Light.”
– Supreme Leader Snoke

SYNOPSIS: Three decades after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, a new threat arises. The First Order attempts to rule the galaxy and only a ragtag group of heroes can stop them, along with the help of the Resistance. – via IMDB

Alright, so obviously I have decided to write reviews here. I have been dead nervous, but that’s just the way it is. Sometimes you just love something so much and want to share it with the world, but you have no idea how. Well, that’s how I get when it comes to Star Wars. I never know how to share my appreciation. So I was really nervous when I heard that Disney had bought out George Lucas and they announced another movie. So much could go wrong. Then there was the whole directors debacle, and I was not having much of it. But when it was announced that J.J. Abrams was going to helm The Force Awakens, I started to get excited. The man is so geeky, totally gets sci-fi, and understands how to handle such a huge franchise for refreshing or rebooting or whatever. I mean just look what he did with Star Trek. I thought he did a great job. So when it was finally time, I hustled right on down to my cinema to check it out, and I wasn’t disappointed, despite having some complaints about some things.

kylo ren lightsabre the force awaken

Okay, now let’s get down to it. That score will forever remain perfect, and I felt like a child sitting in the cinema, watching the story unfold. When Kylo Ren stepped out on screen, I almost exploded. I was so excited. I had suspicions as to his identity, but that was irrelevant. Everything about him was just hardcore – that outfit, that mask, his phenomenally mesmerizing voice… all of it. Not to mention how he uses the Force, his strength, and the fact that he wields my favourite lightsaber in the Star Wars universe. That thing is amazing, and I never understood why people flipped out. Later on, when we get a good look at Kylo Ren? Dat hair. Like OMG. I just wanted to run my fingers through it. Over and over again. It was too gorgeous for words. Adam Driver was just so delicious. Wow.

Then there is the super cute BB-8, who is now my favourite droid in the universe. I need one. This surpasses want. For reals now. Need, people. The way he waddles when he is hauling ass somewhere, how badass he is in an attack (more adorable than anything), and the best thumbs-upper I have ever seen… yes. This was destined to happen. Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford returning as Leia and Han was awesome, and I still adore them. I think everyone must piss off about this whole “Fisher got old” thing – I thought she looked amazing. Haters. Love how nobody is bitching about the men being old. Pfffffff.

I know the world is going to fight back on this one, but I thought that Rey was a bit of a flat, bland character. Like sure, she is going places, and I like her well enough, but I am used to Leia, who just walks in and owns everything. She has more guts. I am sure that Rey will get there though. Also, I was no fan of how quickly Rey just grasped the Force, etc. Seriously. Even Anakin, who was supposed to “bring a balance to the Force” needed extensive training, as well as Luke, when he was to help the Rebels. Rey? Screw that, she just gets the Force. Oh well, let’s see.

I was so stoked to see Chewie and the Millennium Falcon, and I really loved how everything looked in the movie (the X-Wings and TIE Fighters being some personal favourites), and the lens flares were signature Abrams and welcome, no matter what anyone says. I know I have an awful lot to say about this one, but come on, it has been a decade since the last Star Wars release (for me, I never got to see any of the originals in cinema), and so a lot of excitement has been building up. I will stop now though. Meaning… I will stop now with this:

Rapid Review: Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)

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lethal weapon 2 poster

“You are not dead until I tell you!” 
– Roger Murtaugh

SYNOPSIS: Riggs and Murtaugh are on the trail of South African diplomats who are using their immunity to engage in criminal activities. – via IMDB

lethal weapon 2 nail gun

GRADE 8I must say that I enjoyed this one, though I was shocked, too. Now that I am older and I understand the nature of my country, to see a film focused so heavily on South African baddies pre the fall of Apartheid was heavy. Now, if you’re from South Africa, just about any movies that refer back to our country way back in the day are bound to peeve you. They are usually stacked full of white guilt and terribly done, too, or done by people that don’t get the history so it becomes a hollow experience. Well, Lethal Weapon 2  didn’t try to be a very serious drama or anything. In fact, it took South African dudes as the bad guys and their awful racial biases and gave us a comedy. There are ridiculous accents (yes, Luke, it is an age old problem) to boot, though they did get some of the pronunctiation down, and I laughed at the Afrikaans tossed in there. I was shocked at the rate the k-word was dropped because here, by us? Say it in the streets. I dare you. Either you are going to get your ass handed to you or you are going to land up fighting a massive legal battle. True story. The plot was alright here, and I liked the small little things that they did to make it authentic for the South African bad guy – how dangerous the country was then (when Murtaugh went with Leo to “move” to SA) and the shipping containers being “Transvaal Lines” and the Afrikaans cussing… very cool. I actually laughed with Murtaugh at his final joke for the movie – racial punning but it was funny. I am probably going to be shot. I liked the reveal of more of Riggs’s past and the death of his wife, that was a little heavy. I was a huge fan of the partnership between Riggs and Murtaugh, obviously, and there were so many things that made me laugh (that commercial!), which is something I really value in a movie. Joe Pesci is introduced here, and while his character irritated me at times, I think he worked really well overall. It is such a cool thing for me to see how tight Riggs and Murtaugh are, and how Murtaugh’s family has taken Riggs in. He really is a part of them. The humour was good, the action was well worth it, there was some cheese, pretty fucking thin ideas and crazy shootouts and investigation techniques. The plot wasn’t bad either, and there were some pretty intense South African throwbacks. Overall, I think that this holds up really well after all the years, so definitely an action film to check out and enjoy!