The Northman and all the images you see in this review are owned by Focus Features
Directed by Robert Eggers
So not only did The Daniels make one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time, we got a movie from Robert Eggers just a few weeks after! Either someone out there likes me or I’m being set up for a huge downfall, which admittedly is thematically consistent with Eggers’ other work. Both The Witch and The Lighthouse were two of the best movies in their respective years and it looks like Hollywood is taking notice as they’ve given him a blank check to make his unique form of creeping dread and otherworldly terror as big and bombastic as any summer blockbuster! Do the bigger budget and expansive production give Eggers the room he needs to make the best movie of his career, or is he better suited for something on a much smaller scale? Let’s find out!!
Back in the time of The Vikings, there was a king named Aurvandill (Ethan Hawke) who was unjustly slain by his own brother (Claes Bang) in front of the young prince Amleth (Oscar Novak) in a power grab for his kingdom and his queen (Nicole Kidman). The prince manages to escape and swears vengeance on his uncle which he nurtures into a finely distilled ball of pure rage and spends the next twenty years bulking up and kicking butt until he is ready to take back his kingdom. Now a grown man (Alexander Skarsgård), Amleth pillages the countryside with a group of like-minded and similarly buff Viking dudes until he gets word that his uncle has been deposed and is living with the queen and their two sons on some farm in Iceland. He heads over there on a slave ship to try and get close to him while meeting the fair maiden Olga (Anya Taylor-Joy) who may or may not be a witch, and is similarly interesting in killing the man who will be enslaving them both. Amleth manages to stay unrecognized as he becomes one of his uncle’s slaves and plots his revenge which includes sewing chaos during the night and stabbing dudes with a magic sword he finds. Still, this proves to not be as simple a task as Amleth believed it to be for all those years, and now he’s faced with the true consequences of his actions which forces him to weigh the cost of his vengeance against the balance he hopes to restore with that blood. Will Amleth be able to avenge his father, save his mother, and be the hero that would make Odin proud? Will his uncle catch wise to this hulking blonde brute being the instrument of his torment, and even if he does realize his identity, is there anything he can do to stop his nephew from carrying out his quest? Is it just me or does a blood feud really do wonders for your physique? I mean jeez, they didn’t even have EMS back!
[THENORTHMANCD1 – I guess when you can’t get whey protein in a jar you just have to get it the old-fashioned way by drinking the blood of your enemies!]
The Green Knight and all the images you see in this review are owned by A24
Directed by David Lowery
The first trailer for this movie dropped in February of 2020 which was mere weeks before the world pretty much came to an end and movies were either shelved or released on streaming services for exorbitant prices. I was definitely interested in seeing it as I had a vague understanding of what The Green Knight story was and seeing it realized on the big screen with such interesting visuals and an AWESOME looking design for the titular knight seemed like a slam dunk to me! I was ready to open a spot for it on my top ten list of 2020 based on the trailer alone, but we all know what happened next, and much like Sir Gawain himself we all had to wait one year to see how it all worked out. Was it worth holding out until we could return to theaters to release it, or was it would it have been a better idea to just toss it onto HBO Max and hope that everyone forgets it before the studio puts out their next movie? Let’s find out!!
In the time of legends and poor hygiene, a young knight name Gawain (Dev Patel) was going about his life without much knighting to speak of. Sure he had the title, but he spent most of his days waiting for glory and honor to come to him rather than seek it out himself. Fortunately for him, opportunity presents itself at the King’s Christmas party where a mysterious green Knight offers anyone there a simple challenge! Strike him once however they wish, on the condition that in one year’s time they will take the same blow from the Green Knight. Feeling plucky and looking to prove himself, Gawain takes up the challenge and with one swift strike, chops the Green Knight’s head off! Well so much for taking a blow next year, am I right? Well… it looks like this will still come to pass as the Green Knight casually picks up his head and rides off into the night! I mean it’s KINDA on Gawain to not assume some magical shenanigans were at play, but still; he has one year to make up his mind as to whether he will got to face the Green Knight at his chapel and go through with this game despite him being PRETTY sure that his own head is not so easily reattached. Gawain seems to be willing to face his fate as he mounts a horse and starts his journey, but things are not as straightforward as they seem; not with the path ahead of him or the convictions in his own mind. Will Gawain preserve his honor and face the Green Knight’s blade despite how unfair this all seems? What challenges will he face along the way, and are they enough to make him waiver in his convictions? Seriously, WHY DOES THIS GUY LOOK SO COOL!? Maybe that’s how he gets people to fall for this; he just charms them with his rugged good looks!
Brahms: The Boy II and all the images you see in this review are owned by STX Entertainment
Directed by William Brent Bell
You’re unlikely to find a bigger cheerleader for The Boy than me, so when the trailers started coming out for this sequel four years after everyone else had forgotten about it AND it looked like a truly awful mess, well let’s just say that my spirits weren’t very high for this. Seriously, that bit where Katie Holmes makes a face in the trailer and they play the clichéd horror movie sting is one of the most embarrassing things I’ve seen in something allegedly trying to sell you on a movie, and it was so disappointing to see how little they seemed to care about this considering just how good the first one was! I guess getting excited for horror sequels is in and of itself a fool’s errand, but who knows what it’ll REALLY be like before we get a chance to see it. Maybe there are some hidden depths to this that the studio was scared to give away in the trailers, much like the first film, and this is truly worth successor! Yeah, I’m doubtful as well but let’s find out!!
Taking place sometime after the events of the first film, we follow Liza (Katie Holmes) and her son Jude (Christopher Convery) who had a traumatic experience with a break in; leaving her with headaches and night terrors while Jude became mute and now communicates with a notebook. In an effort to try and get them past this, the father and husband Sean (Owain Yeoman) decides to take them on a trip to someplace out in the country where they can get away from it all and reconnect as a family! As it just so happens however, the place they decide to stay in is a hereto unknown guest house (ugh…) of the mansion from the first film, and said mansion has fallen into disrepair under the new owner Joseph (Ralph Ineson) who’s been trying to fix it up but can only do so much as one guy. Of course, Jude ends up finding the Brahms doll somewhere and IMMEDIATELY attaches himself to it which seems to at least be doing a good job of opening him up a bit, but it comes with other weird behaviors and a set of rules that must be followed or else the doll will get very cross with them. Liza’s naturally worried about all this and isn’t helped by her ghastly nightmares of the break in, but Sean isn’t exactly convinced the doll is evil (just a little bit creepy) and believes that Liza is overacting despite the many strange things that start to happen around the guesthouse and Jude’s increasingly bizarre behavior. Is there some secret to the doll that wasn’t in the last film that Liza must uncover in this one? Is Jude being manipulated by whatever it was in the last film, or is there something else that’s terrifying this family? I’m not even sure why they’re friends to be honest. Doesn’t seem like they’d have a lot in common.
Dolittle and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Stephen Gaghan
My GOODNESS have studios been putting out some high priced nonsense recently! We are definitely stuck in the Billion Dollar Blockbuster Bubble where every studio wants nothing but the most expensive movies to maximize their profits, but as is the nature with bubbles all the money Is usually dried up by the time everyone else tries to get in on it which is why Disney is still sitting pretty on their mountain of gold and everyone else is making stuff like Cats and that awful Tarzan movie. With this being the current trend, someone making an overpriced adventure film about Dr. Doolittle feels almost inevitable, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be bad! I LOVE me some overpriced entertainment like Jupiter Ascending and Final Fantasy XIII, so maybe Dr. Doolittle being played by Iron Man and co-starring a wrestler as a CGI polar bear is just what I need to cleanse the palate and finally kick off the GOOD parts of 2020 which so far has been pretty plodding at the multiplex! Is this retelling of the classic story the start of another beloved blockbuster franchise, or are we in for a disaster to rival even that of Cats!? Let’s find out!!
Taking place AFTER what I presume is the actual Dr. Dolittle story, we find that the intrepid physician who can talk to animals (Robert Downey Jr) has gone fully Will Wonka and is holed up inside his giant wildlife preserve; refusing to see any visitors, human or otherwise. That all changes when one day, out of PURE LUCK, he gets TWO visitors who insist on seeing him! The first is Lady Rose (Carmel Laniado) who is on assignment from the Queen despite being all of twelve years old, and Tommy (Harry Collett) who shot a squirrel and has brought the wounded creature to Dolittle because he feels bad. Lady Rose is there to inform him that the Queen is dying and requires his help which he reluctantly agrees to, and determines that she’s dying of McGuffin’s Disease which can only be cured by a fabled fruit on an uncharted island, so he takes some of his animals friends (Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, and Octavia Spencer just to name a few) on a boat to get the fruit and save the Queen; hoping that once this is finished he can go back to brooding in his house all day. Oh, and Tommy is coming along too because… he loves animals too I guess? Will the Dolittle Crew get to the magic fruit in time to save the Queen? What challenges will they face along the way, and will some of it be intentional sabotage? If one of the cats from Cats was in this movie, would Dolittle be the only one who could talk to it!?
Ready Player One and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Oh! Do I finally get a chance to see this darn movie!? I swear; it feels like EVERY OTHER CRITIC IN THE WORLD got an invite to an early premiere of this while I’m sitting over here waiting for its ACTUAL release date like a total chump! Now I haven’t read the book so I won’t be going into this with much in terms of expectations, but the premise is on that could really get out of hand quickly if it’s not in the hands of the right director. Just imagine how bad Scott Pilgrim would have been if it wasn’t in the hands of Edgar Wright, or if say Adam Sandler somehow managed to make a movie about classic video games attacking us in the real world. GOOD THING THAT NEVER HAPPENED, AM I RIGHT!? Was Steven Spielberg the right one to adapt this material, or will this be a larger misstep for the venerable director than The Lost World: Jurassic Park? Let’s find out!!
The movie takes place in the year 2045 where society hasn’t really COLLAPSED, so much as it’s gotten really apathetic and there’s a whole bunch of trash everywhere. For most people, they’re way of dealing with it is to go into the most EXPANSIVE AND BAD ASS online video game ever made (right after Second Life) called THE OASIS! One such denizen of this virtual world is Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) who lives in one of the slums of Columbus Ohio (they literally just started stacking trailer homes on top of each other) but he has big dreams for the future that will get him out of his boring miserable life! Okay, it mostly involves playing games in THE OASIS as his in-game character Parzival, but that’s proving to be more and more of a viable career path; provided he doesn’t start shouting racial slurs. Like in real life though, he’s kind of stuck at the lower tier of THE OASIS hierarchy and spends most of his time either hanging out with his friend Aech (Lena Waithe) or re-reading the history of the inventor of THE OASIS James Halliday (Mark Rylance) who died about a decade ago. Said creator by the way has stuck three hidden keys within the game that if found will get TOTAL control of his Chocolate Factory… I mean software company, but no one has been able to find even one of them so far; not even the EVIL corporation called Innovative Online Industries (IOI) which is head up by the EVIL Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) that plan to do EVIL things if they get control of the company! So Wade/Parzival is just going along his day to day routine… that is until he meets Art3mis (Olivia Cooke) who is one of the top players in the game, and their chance encounter ALSO leads to him figuring out the first clue that James Halliday left behind which leads him directly to the first key! Now the guy is on EVERYONE’S radar! Art3mis is trying to find the keys for herself and wants Parzival’s help doing it, Aech is stoked that they get all the cool gear that comes with finding that first key, and of course the EVIL IOI is after him to either convince him to join them or DESTROY HIM UTTERLY! Will Wade be able to resist the allures of corporate culture and embark on this noble quest to honor the memory of the greatest game developer of all time? What reasons could Art3mis have for needing to find the keys, and does it have anything to do with IOI’s EVIL schemes? Will Wade get the validation in the virtual world that he so desperate craves in his own life!? THAT’S HOW THIS WORKS, RIGHT!?
The Hurricane Heist and all the images you see in this review are owned by Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures
Directed by Rob Cohen
You know… I get that everyone wants to recreate the lightening in a bottle success that has been The Fast and the Furious series, but how often does chasing a trend like that ACTUALLY work? Heck, DC can’t even follow in Marvel’s footsteps correctly, and they already have a stable of characters just as popular! Getting the director of the original film and touting it as if he has had anything to do with the success of the modern entries in the series seems like just the kind of half-baked and producer driven endeavors to jump on the bandwagon that you’d hope that big studios would be smart enough to avoid, and yet here we are! Still, just because the circumstances surrounding the film are less than ideal doesn’t necessarily mean that the film itself will be bad! A movie about a heist during bad weather could STILL be good… right? Maybe? Okay, probably not, but let’s find out!!
The movie begins on the day of a SUPER Hurricane that’s gonna hit a small town in Alabama where SUPER METEOROLOGIST Will (Toby Kebbell) is getting a bad feeling about this storm and is trying to convince Washington to send out the National Guard. I mean… I’m not sure why considering the town has already been evacuated and it would only put those service men in danger to have them awkwardly stand around an empty town while it gets rampaged by a super storm, but considering what’s about to happen elsewhere in the city it might have proven to be a good idea. You see, the small town is ALSO home to US mint facility where they take old bills out of circulation and then shred them. The delivery people this time around are Casey and Perkins (Maggie Grace and Ralph Ineson) who have trucks full of the crappy bills and they REALLY need to get a move on if they want to deliver them and get them shredded before the storm hits. However, it’s all one big set up! See, Perkins along with two sexy hackers (Melissa Bolona and Ed Birch) sabotage the security within the facility so that a truck full of MORE bandits (Jamie Andrew Cutler, Jimmy Walker, and Moyo Akandé) can smash through the gate, take out ALL the soldiers patrolling the area, and lock them in the basement while they get the vault door unlocked and rob the treasury blind of dollar bills that were set to be shredded anyway. Of course, they weren’t counting on Casey who JUST SO HAPPENED to be away from the facility at the time and had changed the password to the vault right before she did so. She went off to find Will’s brother Breeze (Ryan Kwanten) to who is a mechanic I think and she needed him to fix something for her, but needless to say that the reception upon her return is less than stellar and she barely manages to escape in the process. Breeze however is much less lucky and HE gets caught by the baddies which prompts will to join forces with Casey to take down the bad guys and save all the hostages; all while the storm of the century rages on around them! Can Will and Casey save this soon to be destroyed money, even if it means killing all the crooks in the process? Will they be able to fight off the savage wind and rain from the hurricane long enough to kill a bunch of thieves for trying to steal money that was going to be destroyed anyway? Is it just me, or is there a BIT too much bloodshed in a movie where the only bad outcome is whether or not money gets stolen; especially when the bad guys can retaliate at ANY time by killing the hostages? At least in Die Hard, Hans Grubber was planning to kill the hostages anyway!
The Witch and all the images you see in this review are owned by A24
Directed by Robert Eggers
It’s probably too soon to say we’re out of the New Year Doldrums just because this movie came out, especially considering it played the festival circuit throughout most of 2015, but whether or not this release can be used to determine a trend at the multiplexes, at least it’s something interesting to break up the mundanity and outright crappiness that we can usually expect for the first two or three months of the year. Does this movie deserve all the praise it’s been getting, or is this another overhyped festival darling that’s being release now because it couldn’t hack it during a better time in the mainstream circuit? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows a family of ultra-religious pilgrims who have voluntarily left the settlement to live on their own and practice their own brand of conservative Christianity in peace. Just to clear, these are the Puritans who thought the Puritans that left England to separate themselves from that sinful country were not pure enough for them. Clearly leaving them to their own devices is going to end well for everyone. Spoiler alert: It does not because not too long after William (the father played by Ralph Ineson) sets up their homestead just outside the woods, the baby son seems to have disappeared out of nowhere. What happened to him? Oh trust me. You will find out very quickly what happened to him. Needless to say that losing one of the kids does not sit well with either the parents (especially the mother played by Kate Dickle) or the baby’s siblings of which there are four (Thomasin played by Anya Taylor-Joy, Caleb played by Harvey Scrimshaw, and the twins Mercy and Jonas played by Ellie Grainger and Lucas Dawson). Now it’s clear to us that somewhere deep inside the woods is a witch, but the family hasn’t come to that conclusion yet and as things get stranger and stranger, they begin to suspect one another which only escalates conflicts and weakens their sense of morality which is easily replaced by fervor. Can this family get over the loss of their child and come together to hash out whatever differences they may have? Will the witch’s devious motivations become clear as her corrupting influence permeates though the unwelcomed guests? WHY IS THAT GOAT STARING AT ME!?