Jumanji: The Next Level review “A rare breed of sequel”

Jumanji: The Next Level posterSleeper hit: a term used in the entertainment industry for a film that plays successfully for a long period and becomes a big success, despite being a surprise to critics, audiences and industry analysts.

You could say that Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is the very definition of a sleeper hit. The first trailers were underwhelming, showcasing some ropey CGI, body swap comedy tropes and a lack of respect for the Robin Williams 1995 classic. Yet, in spite of all this, the film ended up grossing nearly $1billion worldwide.

Why? Well the film was actually pretty good. Sure, it wasn’t spectacular but a combination of a witty script, brilliant self-awareness and a roster of characters that were so well written they made Jack Black actually likeable, meant it shot straight to the top of the box office. Continue reading

Klaus review “Christmas came early”

Klaus movie posterAh, Christmas. A time of joy, of family, of eating way too much food. Christmas movies are one of life’s simple pleasures, and even though you only get to watch them once a year, there’s a definite space in everyone’s heart for their favourite one. Netflix has well and truly jumped on the Christmas bandwagon, releasing their first movie in mid November. Named Klaus, it’s a testament to the origin of that infamous character we all know and love: Santa Claus.

Although it does ignore the religious aspects of Christmas, Klaus takes a darker turn. When a spoiled, rich postman arrives on the tiny island of Smeerensburg after a challenge set by his father, the luxuries he has become accustomed to are no longer within his reach. The island is split in two – two warring families rule the land, and it’s people are equally as hostile and violent. However, when he ventures north of the main town, he finds a cabin full of toys, and a strange man with a long white beard. Continue reading

Last Christmas review “The swansong George Michael deserved”

Last Christmas movie posterAfter a shoddily low amount of Christmas releases this year, Last Christmas feels like a twinkly fairy light shining in the dimmed light over older releases, bringing a fresh lease of life to the world of the Christmas movie. Written by the legendary Emma Thompson and Greg Wise, it explores Christmas through the eyes of George Michael’s music. Does it, however, give you the same feeling that the song Last Christmas does?

Last Christmas follows Kate, a lazy, grimy, unkempt woman, who works as an elf in an all year round Christmas shop. However, she has a dark past, and after overcoming a mysterious illness last year, she isn’t quite herself. After meeting Tom, a man described as having something ‘serial killery’ about him, Kate puts her trust in him to start the journey back to herself. Continue reading

The Irishman review “Scorsese treads no new ground”

The Irishman poster

Scorsese is back! But wait, it gets better… Following a 13-year hiatus from the gangster genre, he returns to the fold with a 3.5 hour-long epic starring all your favourite wise guys from the 80s and 90s. The Irishman, also titled I Heard You Paint Houses in the opening credits (there must have been some sort of mix-up in the marketing department), sees Robert De Niro return to Scorsese’s roll call as real-life gangster Frank Sheeran, a lorry driver turned crook made infamous by his association with the Bufalino crime family.

I must admit, after seeing the cast, the trailer and the reviews that followed, I was very excited as I sat down to watch The Irishman. Not only do we get a Scorsese gangster film, but we get a Scorsese gangster film with Harvey Keitel, we get Joe Pesci back from retirement and, to top it all off, we get De Niro and Pacino, two of Hollywood’s greatest actors, sharing screen time for only the third time in cinema history. Continue reading

Frozen II review “Let it go Disney, just let it go”

Frozen 2 poster2013’s Frozen was and remains a cultural phenomenon for kids around the globe. Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and reindeer Sven made their way into popular culture and have never retreated, becoming some of Disney’s most beloved fictional characters.

Kaching! With that and nearly $1.3billion in box-office takings behind it, plus all the profits from toys, books and games, Frozen was a gargantuan hit on another level to anything else we had seen in the genre and it remained the highest-grossing animated film of all time until The Lion King came along earlier this year and spoiled the fun.

A sequel then was never a surprise. What was a surprise however is just how long it took Disney to get Frozen II to cinemas. It’s been six whole years since we’ve seen Elsa and the crew in a full-length film and for kids who grew up with its predecessor, this new addition needed to be more mature to keep the attention of new and existing fans. But what is the finished product like? Continue reading