The Kid Who Would Be King and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Joe Cornish
What, a kid’s movie in January? Man… I don’t want to waste my time watching this, especially after seeing Into the Spider-Verse! Is any movie gonna be as good as that one? No? Then why even bother! Wait a minute… this is directed by Joe Cornish? As in… THE Joe Cornish? As in Attack the Block Joe Cornish!? Well why didn’t you lead with, imaginary person I’m pretending to have a conversation with! Yes, after a rather long hiatus between Attack the Block and this one where he stepped back to be a writer instead of director, he’s finally back with his second film after such an extraordinary first feature! Seriously, if you haven’t seen Attack the Block then stop reading this review and go see it now! Now, I tell you!! You want to know why John Boyega is in Star Wars!? GO WATCH THAT MOVIE!! Anyway, does the triumphant return of Joe Cornish mean we have yet another masterpiece on our hands, or did he stay away from the director’s chair this long for a good reason? Let’s find out!!
In what I can only assume is a Post-Brexit London, Alexander Elliot (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) is your run of the mill kid who gets bullied mercilessly at school but has a funny best friend named Bedders (Dean Chaumoo) whose got his back when he needs it. One day he stands up for his buddy when he’s getting taunted by older kids Lance and Kaye (Tom Taylor and Rhianna Doris) who end up chasing him down to a construction site which JUST SO HAPPENS to be empty and there JUST SO HAPPENS to the sword Excalibur sticking out of the ground. You’d think someone would have excavated it, but instead they cleared all the dirt around the sword and left it sitting there in case someone felt the urge to pull it out. This is good news for Alex who DOES have such an urge and voila! He pulls it out and all heck starts to break loose! Well not at FIRST, but the sword leaving its resting place has awakened the dark sorceress Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson who’s… in the center of the Earth I think, and it calls out to the wizard Merlin (Angus Imrie and Patrick Stewart) who heads back to London post haste to meet the new king! After some shenanigans and a fight with a giant monster that shows up at his house, Alex learns that he is in fact the next king of… Well I GUESS England (or maybe the whole UK now?) and must gather some knights to finally stab Morgana to death once and for all! Through even MORE shenanigans, he manages to enlist the help of the bullies to join him as his fellow knights along with Bedders, and so they must now find a pathway to the center of the Earth! So where do they start? Um… well, Alex’s father gave him a book on Arthurian lore when he was a kid, so maybe they should visit him on the other side of the country since he seems to have known about Alex’s King-ness well before anyone else! As good a place to start as any I guess! Will Alex and his crew find where Morgana is hiding and stop her before she can take over the world? What challenges will they be forced to face along the way, and is Alex ready for such a huge responsibility at such a young age? Can we maybe get this movie, but with the cast of Attack the Block instead? I mean I’m sure John Boyega costs a lot more now, but it’d at least make a lot more sense to me!
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Directed by Gareth Edwards
In what will surely be a yearly tradition until the day we all die, Disney has given us our holiday present in the form of another Star Wars movie. We’re only at two so far which means they PROBABLY aren’t gonna start half-assing these just yet, and in fact this one seems to be willing to take a few more risks than what we would normally expect from franchise features like this. Okay, the fact that it’s a one-time spin off means that they’re only so much damage this can do if it blows up in their faces, but the tone of the trailers and the nature of the story they’re telling at least inspires some hope that the franchise has gotten so big that they’re willing to let it take some chances. Does this experiment in growing the series turn out to be a total success, or will this somehow be the worst prequel yet? Okay, I kind of doubt that’s even possible, but you never know!
The movie begins a long time ago in a galaxy far far away where little Jyn Erso (Beau Gadsdon) has her life completely uprooted when her family is found by Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) who is a high ranking member of the galactic empire. Why did this guy hunt halfway around the galaxy for them? Well it turns out that Jyn’s father Galen (Mads Mikkelsen) is an Empire scientist who defected and they need him back to finish some super weapon they’re working on. The good news is that Jyn manages to escape the Empire with the help of a family friend Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker). The bad news is that her mother (Valene Kane) got killed in the process and dear old dad got kidnapped. Flash forward to sometime later where we meet grown up Jyn (Felicity Jones) who’s been rebellious youth-ing all around the galaxy and winds up at Rebel headquarters where they have a proposition for her. Go with the rebel agent Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) to find her father and stop him from finishing the Death Star as he seems to be looking for a way out once again. Okay, it’s not QUITE that simple, but that’s the basic idea of what they’re trying to do! Anyway, they’ll point her in the right direction in the hopes that her skills and connections will kill two birds with one stone; she gets her dad back and they get to stop the Space Nuke from being completed. Of course, nothing is as easy as it seems and there’s plenty of treachery to go around as the mission becomes only more difficult once the Empire get wind of what they might be up to. Can Jyn save her farther before the Empire find out if he’s been undercutting their progress on the super weapon this entire time? Does Cassian have a hidden agenda that he’s not telling Jyn about? On a scale of one to Vader, how screwed are they?
The Legend of Tarzan and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by David Yates
I had no idea this movie was even coming out until maybe a month or two ago, and it seems like the studio wants it that way. They’ve been trying to get a live action Tarzan movie out since AT LEAST 2003 (probably to capitalize on the Disney film) and you can really tell that this shit was cobbled together from a production that’s been willed into existence by sheer stubbornness at the refusal to let a bad idea (or at least a good idea with no good way to bring it to life) just go away and to work on something else. Still, the Disney movie WAS pretty good and he’s a character that’s endured for over a hundred years now as he was a creation of Edgar Rice Burroughs; the king of badass genre stories. Do they manage to eke out an enjoyable action flick from this timeless source material, or will this suffer the same fate as the Conan remake and John Carter which were the last two Burroughs adaptations? Let’s find out!!
A quick refresher on the story of Tarzan that we all know (as told by Phil Collins). AHEM! A paradise untouched by man; a simple life, the apes lived in peace. But dangers are in fact no stranger here! The son of man known as Tarzan is taken in by the apes after his parents are killed, but in this version it’s actually the apes that killed his dad… so I guess that makes things a bit awkward here. Despite that; the power to be strong, the wisdom to be wise, all these things came to him in time during his journey from boy to man! But in time he ALSO wanted to know about these strangers like him. One stranger in particular was Jane Porter whose every gesture and every move she made in turn made Tarzan feel like never before, and soon he had this growing need to be beside her. Now if you only know the story from the Disney Movie (pretty much anyone born after 1990 and are HOPEFULLY getting all these clever jokes I’m making), you all know that his story ends with Jane staying with him in the jungle. Not true here (and in pretty much every other version of the story from my understanding) as he goes to some other world far beyond that place; namely England. Thankfully this brings me to the ACTUAL movie I’m talking about (also meaning I can stop quoting Phil Collins lyrics) which involves a domesticated Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård) who’s being asked by the British government to go to back to his home (The Congo) for… some reason. Actually, I’m not sure why Jim Broadbent (playing A British PersonTM) wants him there so badly, but I do get why Samuel L Jackson wants him there who’s playing George Washington Williams; an ambassador for the US who wants to see if the rumors about the Belgians enslaving people in their colony is actually true so he can report it back to his government. Tarzan (also known as John Clayton) begrudgingly accepts the assignment and also begrudgingly accepts that Jane (Margot Robbie) is gonna go along with him. Waiting for him in The Congo though is Christoph Waltz playing Captain Léon Rom who is assigned by the King of Belgium to get some damn diamonds out of that colony by any means necessary, and Tarzan is the key to getting them. How? Well there’s a tribe there whose leader is SUPER pissed at Tarzan and has agreed to help Waltz get the diamonds if he will deliver Tarzan. Needless to say that Rom goes about this in the most dickish way possible which includes kidnapping Jane, and so Tarzan must go after them to save his wife and stop them from doing any more evil shit in his home country; all of this with the help of Samuel L Jackson of course. Can the two find out what Léon Rom is up to and save Jane before it’s too late? Just what is Christoph Waltz up to other than to pillage the country of all its natural resources? Wait, this movie is somehow less than two hours!? Well it certainly FEELS a lot longer, that’s for sure.