Incredibles 2

Jun 18, 18 Incredibles 2

IN CINEMAS NOW!

SYNOPSIS:

In “Incredibles 2,” Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is called on to lead a campaign to bring Supers back, while Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) navigates the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life at home with Violet (voice of Sarah Vowell), Dash (voice of Huck Milner) and baby Jack-Jack—whose superpowers are about to be discovered. Their mission is derailed, however, when a new villain emerges with a brilliant and dangerous plot that threatens everything. But the Parrs don’t shy away from a challenge, especially with Frozone (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) by their side. That’s what makes this family so Incredible. Written and directed by Brad Bird (“Iron Giant,” “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille”) and produced by John Walker (“The Incredibles,” “Tomorrowland”) and Nicole Grindle (“Sanjay’s Super Team” short, “Toy Story 3” associate producer).

Thanks to Disney Pixar Australia

#Incredibles2

REVIEW:

Nerida

A sequel to The Incredibles has a lot to live up to. Pixar’s fresh, funny look at an ordinary family with extraordinary powers became an instant classic when it was released in 2004 – for very good reason. Writer-director Brad Bird struck a sublime balance between domestic drama and tongue-in-cheek satire – celebrating and sending up superheroes in equal measure. So, 14 years on, is Incredibles 2 worth the wait? Fortunately… yes. It doesn’t quite redefine or revitalise the genre, the way its predecessor did, but it’s still brilliantly funny, thoughtful and a pure joy to watch.

 

The film picks up exactly where The Incredibles left off – revealing that, as in often the case in real life, the happy ending was neither entirely ‘happy’ nor an ‘ending’. When we meet the superpowered Parrs again, they’re trying to figure out how to fight crime – not just as a team, but as a family. It’s more complicated and frustrating than any of them expects, especially when a botched mission yields catastrophic results… and a ban on superheroes.

 

This turn of events allows Bird to capitalise on the one element of Incredibles 2 that remains unique even in these superhero-obsessed times: the fact that the Parrs are a proper family, bound together by blood, love, duty and responsibility. That dynamic – anchored by the profoundly relatable tensions between husband and wife, parent and child, brother and sister – was what made the first film such a delight to begin with.

It’s fair to say, however, that not everything about Incredibles 2 feels quite as effortless as it did for its predecessor. This time around, Bird’s screenplay isn’t as light and nimble in its examination of superheroes and the people who help and hinder them. The characters of Winston (Bob Odenkirk) and Evelyn Deaver (Catherine Keener) are more grounded, for example, but also less interesting than the likes of supervillain Syndrome and super-sidekick Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson). The biting meta commentary of the first film is sorely missed. Some of the characters aren’t given much space to grow, either – Dash moves the fastest of them all, but feels like he doesn’t really go anywhere.

 

14 years on, you’d be perfectly justified to ask if there’s any point to Incredibles 2. After all, we now live in a cinematic era in which the superhero genre has established itself firmly in Hollywood. We’re intensely familiar with tales of ordinary people living and grappling with extraordinary powers. In the decade and a half(ish) that has passed since, Pixar has also released a bunch of sequels to films that didn’t require or deserve them (*cough*Cars*cough*). It’s enough to make you doubt if the Parrs have anything left to say – and if it would be said well. Thankfully, the wit and wonder of Incredibles 2 proves that good things do indeed come to those who wait – and that we’d be happy to wait for even more.

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Ocean’s 8

Jun 13, 18 Ocean’s 8

IN CINEMAS NOW!

SYNOPSIS:

Danny Ocean’s (George Clooney) estranged sister Debbie (Bullock) attempts to pull off the heist of the century at New York City’s star-studded annual Met Gala. Her first stop is to assemble the perfect crew: Lou (Blanchett), Rose (Bonham Carter), Daphne Kluger (Hathaway), Nine Ball (Rihanna), Tammy (Sara Paulson), Amita (Mindy Kaling), and Constance (Awkwafina).

Thanks to Roadshow

#Oceans8

REVIEW:

Nerida

From the first scene, it is clear that Ocean’s 8 plans to follow the exact same beats as the original, which may be enough to turn off viewers who are looking for something original. However, the movie picks up as soon as Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) begins recruiting her partners-in-crime for her planned robbery at the Met Gala. Sandra Bullock proves equal to the legacy of George Clooney as the lead, and her team of robbers are impeccably cast. Each one possesses their own particular brand of coolness; iconic actresses Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter delight as much as newer actresses Rihanna and Awkwafina. Anne Hathaway in particular seems to have a lot of fun playing the prima donna Daphen Kluger. Their confident performances give the sense of female empowerment that the film undoubtedly wanted.

 

Unfortunately, the film does not spend enough time with the characters, and instead delves into the comparatively lacklustre heist-plot. Aside from the glamorous dresses and celebrity cameos, the Met Gala is not different enough from previous settings to stand out. Strangely, the level of difficulty of the robbery seems softened for the female version. This may be because audiences know what to expect from previous films, or because the writing is simply lazy. At multiple points, plot holes are hastily stitched together or ignored. On top of this, the movie contains unnecessary flashbacks and explanations, further dulling the excitement. Instead of making good use of the spectacular cast and fun characters, the writers and director feel like they cannot deviate from the formula established by previous Ocean films. This is not only boring, but it also leads to the aforementioned plot holes.

 

Viewers who have not seen Ocean’s Eleven or who are just looking for some brainless fun will be satisfied, but those hoping for a new spin on the series will be disappointed. It is not the all-female cast that hurts this movie; they are the film’s greatest strength. It is the unwillingness to break out of an old creative mould that prevents the female version from being as good as it deserves to be.

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Avengers: Infinity War

Apr 27, 18 Avengers: Infinity War

IN CINEMAS NOW!

SYNOPSIS:

19 films and thousands of hours of work by thousands of people have all lead up to this moment – An unprecedented cinematic journey ten years in the making and spanning the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” brings to the screen the ultimate, deadliest showdown of all time.

The Avengers and their Super Hero allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

Thanks to Marvel Studios Australia and New Zealand

#InfinityWar

REVIEW:

Nerida

Over the past decade, Marvel has earned itself the benefit of the doubt. The studio has consistently delivered smart, funny, brave films that both embrace and transcend their comic-book origins. The 18 blockbuster movies produced since Iron Man first blasted off into the stratosphere in 2008 have not only reinvented superhero films as a genre – they’ve helped to legitimise it. Indeed, Marvel’s two most recent films – Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther – have received the kind of accolades usually reserved for edgy arthouse flicks.

 

And yet, it’s perfectly reasonable to be apprehensive about Avengers: Infinity War. This is a blockbuster film that’s been ten years in the making, its plot hinted at and scattered throughout 18 other movies. It features 30 or so characters, each with their own complex backstories and motivations. And all of them are coming together in a bid to stop a giant alien dude from destroying the universe. It sounds ridiculous, and feels impossible.

 

But that’s precisely what makes the final product such a monumental achievement. Masterfully directed by the Russos, Infinity War is bold, brainy film making at its very best: the kind that will lift your spirits, blow your mind and shatter your soul – occasionally in the same scene. It demonstrates on an epic scale what Marvel has known all along: that special effects and tightly choreographed action are there to serve the story. For all its blockbuster spectacle (and there’s almost too much of that), the film works because it’s anchored by the heart, humour and humanity of its characters.

 

From the outset, it’s immediately clear that neither the film’s directors nor screenwriters (Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely) are interested in playing it safe. Most other superhero films are bled of high stakes – the hero in the title might suffer untold trauma, but it’s a super-safe bet that he or she will make it to the end alive. There’s no such guarantee here. Within the first ten minutes, we are confronted with the dark, twisted depths to which Thanos and his acolytes in the Black Order will sink in order to achieve their goals. Death, as well as genuine loss and sacrifice, is intrinsic to the narrative drumbeat that drives Infinity War ever forward, and the film is all the better for it.

 

In a film with so many moving parts, some elements don’t work quite as well. A couple of characters that you might have expected to be right at the forefront – including an original Avenger or two – fade into the background. The film tumbles from dizzying fight scene to dizzying fight scene, and while most of them are fantastically choreographed, there are some purely dumb moments that literally revolve around attempts to prevent Thanos from clenching his fist. In effect, this is a superhero mêlée that’s part over-the-top and part overkill, and might prove too much for those who don’t already care for this franchise and the characters in it.

 

Minor quibbles aside, though, Infinity War is yet another step in the right direction for Marvel. It continues the studio’s tradition of placing a premium on rich, complex storytelling that respects both its characters and its audiences. But it also refuses to make things easy for itself. The film ends even more bravely than it began, with a final ten minutes that will haunt and horrify you in equal measure. It’s a stroke of bold, brilliant genius – a narrative risk so audacious that you’ll want to follow Marvel wherever it goes next.

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Tully

Apr 23, 18 Tully

I have 5 double passes for the preview screening of TULLY, 6:30pm, Tuesday 8 May, at Palace Barracks Cinemas

For your chance to win a double pass, answer the question below:

“What do you think is the best thing about being a parent?”

Put your answer on Twitter, Instagram (with the hashtag #Tully, tagging @reviewbrisbane), Facebook, or below!

In Cinemas MAY 10
But see it first, at the preview screening!

SYNOPSIS:

When Marlo (Academy Award® winner Charlize Theron, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD) is gifted a night nanny by her brother (Mark Duplass, SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED) she is hesitant to the extravagance at first, but soon comes to form a unique bond with the thoughtful, surprising and sometimes challenging young nanny named Tully (Mackenzie Davis, BLADE RUNNER 2049).

Academy Award® nominated director Jason Reitman (UP IN THE AIR, JUNO) and Academy Award® winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (JUNO) reunite for this brilliant and refreshingly modern new comedy-drama, in cinemas nationally May 10.

Thanks to Studiocanal

REVIEW:

Nerida

The film TULLY,  once its layers get peeled away, brings forwards Cody’s refreshing take on modern-day maternity (in a film that carries her stamp more than Reitman’s). It is neither blandly conventional (far from it), nor a Juno for adults – though Tully is infused with Juno’s infectious wit. This very welcome creative reunion of the Young Adult trio is a winning combination right from the start, especially when the story morphs into something out of a fairy tale once Marlo’s happily married, well-off brother (Duplass) decides to give her the gift of a nighttime nanny. Having watched a nicely stitched montage of Marlo’s hectic days and sleepless nights, we find ourselves on her brother’s side almost immediately.

 

Enter Tully (a smiling, overeager Davis, perfectly cast), the competent and knowledgeable (on any topic) nighttime helper. You could perceive her as a contemporary Mary Poppins, who can fix things with the snap of her fingers. Or perhaps liken her to Pulp Fiction’s Mr. Wolf, in charge of cleaning up daily domestic crime scenes created by raucous kids.

 

With fluid, wise dialogue and tender female-bonding scenes as comfortable to slip into as cozy loungewear, Cody gradually builds a heartwarming relationship between Marlo and Tully, making memorable screen heroes out of everyday women. This often laugh-out-loud-funny film generously puts itself in service of all mothers shamed by society for seeking help or wanting to preserve a bit of their former selves. “You don’t have to do it all by yourself,” the film reminds. Tully’s surprising finale may be gentler than Marlo has earned throughout the film, but its simple, common-sense message remains quietly radical. This collaboration between Reitman and Cody is bound to make mothers everywhere feel a little less alone.

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Love, Simon

Mar 28, 18 Love, Simon

 

IN CINEMAS MARCH 29

SYNOPSIS:

Everyone deserves a great love story. But for seventeen-year old Simon Spier it’s a little more complicated: he’s yet to tell his family or friends he’s gay and he doesn’t actually know the identity of the anonymous classmate he’s fallen for online. Resolving both issues proves hilarious, terrifying and life-changing.

Directed by Greg Berlanti (TV’s Dawson’s Creek, Brothers & Sisters), written by Isaac Aptaker & Elizabeth Berger (TV’s This is Us), and based on Becky Albertalli’s acclaimed novel, LOVE, SIMON is a funny and heartfelt coming-of-age story about the thrilling ride of finding yourself and falling in love.

Thanks to 20th Century Fox Australia

#LoveSimon

REVIEW:

Nerida

This film is about so much more than coming to terms with one’s sexual orientation. In fact, what makes this movie so special is the universal theme of how to be who you truly are and live with integrity, even when you might be subject to adversity because of it. It’s a film about finding the courage within yourself to be who you truly are no matter what. This is precisely what makes the film relatable to anyone who watches it.

The theme may sound serious and heavy, but director Greg Berlanti skilfully balances humorous entertainment with real, vulnerable, and sensitive emotion. I heard this from many who watched the movie: never before has a movie made them laugh and cry so much in the span of a couple hours.

All the acting was great and nuanced, and you will definitely walk away relating to many of the characters because of it. The music was fantastic. Don’t be surprised if many of the songs are stuck in your head afterwards. And the script and dialogue will stay with you for long after you watched the film. There are some REALLY powerful moments!

I highly suggest you watch Love, Simon as soon as you can! This film has already become a cultural phenomenon of sorts, and deservedly so.

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A Wrinkle In Time

Mar 27, 18 A Wrinkle In Time

IN CINEMAS MARCH 29

SYNOPSIS:

Through one girl’s transformative journey led by three celestial guides, we discover that strength comes from embracing one’s individuality and that the best way to triumph over fear is to travel by one’s own light.

Meg Murry is a typical middle school student struggling with issues of self-worth who just want to fit in. The daughter of two world-renowned physicists, she is intelligent and uniquely gifted, as is Meg’s younger brother, Charles Wallace, but she has yet to realize it for herself. Complicating matters is the mysterious disappearance of Mr. Murry, which has left Meg devastated and her mother broken-hearted. Charles Wallace introduces Meg and her fellow classmate Calvin to three celestial beings (Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Who) who have journeyed to Earth to help search for their father, and together they embark on their formidable quest. Travelling via a wrinkling of time and space known as tessering, they are transported to worlds beyond their imagination where they must confront a powerful evil force. To make it back home to Earth, Meg must face the darkness within herself in order to harness the strength necessary to defeat the darkness rapidly enveloping the Universe.

Thanks to Walt Disney Studios Australia

#WrinkleInTime

REVIEW:

Nerida

Children’s books will never be easy to adapt for new generations. Not just because of generational gaps of the state of mind when it was written, but also the expectation of holding filmmakers to the standard that a book indirectly sets (even if it doesn’t translate to film). While in recent years, Ava DuVernay has established herself directing impressive urban dramas (Selma, Middle of Nowhere) and finds herself stepping into the Disney fantasy land, and while young children can have fun in her world, adults may find a few more wrinkles than expected.

Ava DuVernay is very much staging an ambitious world visually, and while it’s interesting to view, it doesn’t allow enough on the surface or even depth to understand how the “wrinkles” operate. While I’m okay with the idea of the children going into a world unlike their own, I found myself asking “what is anything and why doesn’t it click like it should?” We are told many times on screen that Meg and her brother have great minds, but we never really get to see what makes them so brilliant like the film says they are. For a film that’s trying to really inspire young minds into STEM, I really feel that this wasn’t explored enough. There’s points when Meg’s brother becomes the central focus and he goes from over his years to unexplainably odd and it becomes hard to digest on screen. And as for Oprah playing the witch, it just sounds like Oprah talking like Oprah. Take what you can from that.

It’s not all bad within the world though. There’s enough colorful elements that I could see young children finding enjoyment in the fantasy world. The set pieces have some interesting ideas and surreal moments in visual repetition and ever changing geography.

A Wrinkle in Time sadly has too many wrinkles to give it a recommendation, but I wouldn’t tell people run away either. It has interesting ideas, but trouble connecting it altogether. Colourful, but maybe too intense to the eye. The heart and soul is very much seen in Ava’s work, but I feel the heart wasn’t in the right direction.

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