Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

Lawman Luke Hobbs and outcast Deckard Shaw form an unlikely alliance when a cyber-genetically enhanced villain threatens the future of humanity.

Dwayne JohnsonJason StathamIdris Elba

Director: David Leitch • Year: 2019
IMDB Rating: 7.1/10 • My Rating: 5/5

“I’m what you might call a champagne problem.” ~ Deckard Shaw

My Review

Obviously I think this is the perfect Summer action movie. Not only is it a spin-off of a franchise I love very much, it features F&F alumni Johnson and Statham, as the titular Hobbs & Shaw. The only thing that could top this would be the addition of a super-hot super villain: step up Mr Elba, AKA Brixton, AKA Black Superman.

Oh but it’s not just about the holy trinity. Vanessa Kirby does sterling work as Hattie Shaw, sister of Deckard and daughter of the amazing Queenie (Helen Mirren). In fact she more or less steals the show. CIA Operative Hattie is hot on the heels of a team of techno terrorists when she is forced to take potentially lethal action. To stop a deadly virus getting into the wrong hands, she injects it directly into her own body and becomes public enemy #1 – portrayed as a traitor to her firm and the security of the world, she’s now on the run with almost nowhere to turn.

Almost.

Step in the boys who are less than thrilled to be back in each other’s orbits. In fact, it’s questionable they’ll ever be able to put their differences aside to actually get shit done. But Shaw’s not going to give up on his sister, even though they’ve been estranged for a long time. When he works out who the leader of the group is, the level of threat they’re dealing with becomes unmistakable – and they have little choice but to tolerate each other at least for the time being.

And Brixton isn’t just any nemesis. He’s a genetically engineered super-soldier, unbeatable in almost every way – though his faceless puppeteer has the power to shut him down any time – unless he successfully enlists our heroes into the fold. Will he turn their heads with the promise of ultimate power? I think we all know the answer to that one.

Well, H&S has everything you need. Witty bants between Frowny and The Rock, steamy chemistry via Hattie and Hobbs – cars, explosions, muscles. It’s amazing and fun – the ultimate popcorn movie – and frankly, I can’t wait to see it again. As shit hits the fan in massive bursts, our newly assembled trio have to find a way to get off the grid, get the virus out of Hattie before it enters her bloodstream – and prepare for war.

If only there were some sort of an island setting for them to escape to? Maybe an endless supply of FAMILY SPIRIT to keep them motivated?

My Comments

My favourite parts of this movie are… all of them. While I am biased AF, I truly believe in the sentiments of this neo-action classic. Sure it’s big, brash and slick – but it has its heart in the right place and I love it for that. I want to know so much more about the Shaw Family, while a spin-off of Somoan island life would be incredible.

I’m not sorry at all that I love the fuck out of Jason Statham movies. He’s supremely watchable on the big screen, an actor who knows his limitations and has pure star power (and an awesome physical grace). He’s no Sir Ian McKellen and that’s fine – I’ll always love him for who he is. Meanwhile, Johnson brings his likeability to yet another big budget blockbuster and God bless him. He’s so comforting and the chemistry between the two just works.

My final word on this is that I’m newly obsessed with Vanessa Kirby and I demand more of her as action hero. She’s incredible.

What are you watching?

Spider-Man: Far From Home

As I type this, I realise this will inadvertently contain *spoilers* for Endgame. So if you’re not up to date, maybe skip this. I don’t want Tom Holland to come to my house and scold me for ruining it for everybody. Uh, actually…

Jks. But yeah, *Minor spoilers*

Following the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019), Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever.

Tom HollandSamuel L. JacksonJake Gyllenhaal

I don’t really know if I have much to say about this one. I enjoyed it a lot but agree with my husband that it feels too soon to be dipping back into the MCU. There’s a poignancy to it due to the events of Endgame but that was only a couple of months ago. Maybe giving it six months, a year would have worked better.

That said, I don’t really care that much. I jumped at going to see this on opening night because I love Spider-Man perhaps the best of all the Avengers. And Tom Holland more. Also, Jake Gyllenhaal has joined the team and how magical is that?

Far From Home wasn’t disappointing in any way – it was heart-warming and sweet, with all the time we spent with Peter and his pals being the best and most fun. So fun in fact, against the backdrop of a handful of European landmarks, that I was almost annoyed to be torn away for the elemental/Mysterio action. Give me two hours of Ned (Jacob Batalon), Peter and MJ (Zendaya) just walking around cities bouncing off one another and I’d be perfectly happy.

In case you’ve not seen the trailer: Peter is off on a European school trip with his friends and it’s come at the best time, as he’s feeling the pressure of being Spider-Man. He’s missing his mentor and the everyday rigmarole of being your local neighbourhood hero is getting to him. All he wants is the Summer off and who deserves it more, frankly.

When Happy (Jon Favreau) passes on Tony Stark’s parting gift to Peter, it soon becomes clear that his wish for less pressure is a pipe dream. The message within suggests he’s being shaped to become the new Iron Man. But is he ready?

Ready or not, he’s forced to take some action when he meets Quentin Beck, a mysterious hero from a parallel universe. Nicknamed Mysterio by the kids (by way of the Italian news media), Beck has come to fight the monsters he calls Elementals – you know the drill: Fire, Ice, Air and Earth. Mysterio seems like perfect Avengers material when you figure Nick Fury (Jackson) doesn’t actually have any on his books at the moment, so it looks like he’s along for the ride. Could he be the replacement mentor Peter’s looking for?

While I love the low-key moments, some of the more fantastical sequences really make the film – and you’ll know what I mean when you see them for yourself. I’m not going in on Mysterio/Quentin Beck (Gyllenhaal) and what he’s all about because I had that spoilered when the boys in the office were talking about his origins in the comic books. It’s an interesting premise though and I’m into it.

That’s about it. The MJ/Peter Parker will they/won’t they story-line is adorable and I really like the concept of a 16-year-old (23 IRL, thank God) wanting to be just a normal 16-year-old boy for one summer. As with Homecoming, Far From Home rocks some amazing supporting characters in the form of Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori), Betty (Angourie Rice) and teachers, Mr Harrington and Mr Dell (Martin Starr and J.B. Smoove, respectively).

Massive shout out to Marisa Tomei‘s May Parker too. What a warm, charismatic and supportive woman. I LOVE her surprise romantic interest more than cocoa puffs. I can’t wait to see what happens next and judging from the first post-credit scene. it’s going to be epic.

Film details:

Spider-Man: Far From Home
Year: 2019
Director: Jon Watts
IMDB Rating: 8.2/10
My Rating: 4.5/5

What are you watching?

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

Super-assassin John Wick is on the run after killing a member of the international assassin’s guild, and with a $14 million price tag on his head – he is the target of hit men and women everywhere.

Keanu ReevesHalle BerryIan McShane

Johnny is back and he’s on a strict deadline, to get underground before he’s officially considered ‘excommunicado’ and therefore fair game to any assassin lucky enough to get to him first. With a $14 mill bounty on his pretty head, he’s a hot commodity – with one catch – he’s motherfucking John Wick. You didn’t think it would be that easy, did you?

Set less than 30 minutes after the end of John Wick 2, our hero needs to get to The Director in order to secure safe passage out of NYC, to Casablanca, Morocco. The Director (Anjelica Huston) is a mysterious woman from John’s past who really shouldn’t be helping him according to the High Table but whatcha gonna do? She allows him to cash in one last favour and it’s the one he wanted.

Meanwhile, The Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon) – a High Table employee – is kicking arse and taking names around the Big Apple, admonishing those who have helped JW.

Both Winston (McShane) and Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) are in the dog house for (respectively) giving John a head start to escape and helping him kill Santino D’Antonio (the crime lord he murdered on Continental ground, against strict High Table rule). They’re given seven days to give up their positions or face serious consequences.

John finds his way to Morocco and calls in on old friend Sofia (Berry), who reluctantly helps him get to The Elder (Saïd Taghmaoui) for help. When The Elder makes it clear the price JW will have to pay for forgiveness it’s almost too much – isn’t it?

What will our boy do?

Ung. This film is pant-wettingly exciting and closes off the first trilogy beautifully, while leaving it wide open for the next instalment. I couldn’t be more chuffed with the stunningly choreographed action sequences and the exploration of JW’s mythology. And despite the intricate world-building, there’s still so much we don’t know – like who doesn’t need way more from The Director and her tattooed ballerinas? Etc.?

There’s double-crossing and new allegiances, uber-violence and dogs. So many wonderful dogs. Not only Good Boy Dog but also Sofia’s incredible fighting dogs, who Halle Berry trained herself in addition to being a butt-kicking queen.

My only criticism, and it’s tiny, is that some of the fights going on just a fraction too long. But the set pieces, the performances and Keanu Reeves make up for everything. I think this might be my favourite in the series to date.

Bring on part 4.

Film details:

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
Year: 2019
Director: Chad Stahelski
IMDB Rating: 8.1/10
My Rating: 4.5/5

What are you watching?

Avengers: Endgame

Nothing can prepare you for the end.

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to undo Thanos’ actions and restore order to the universe.

Starring: Chris Evans • Scarlett Johansson • Robert Downey Jr • Mark Ruffalo • Chris Hemsworth

Bruce Willis had been in the Nakatomi Plaza vent for a very long time

“Whatever it takes.”

*No spoilers*

I didn’t have adequate words when I left the theater on Friday night and I’m not sure I’ve got them now, which is probably just as well as I am terrified about dropping an accidental clanger. I won’t go into any detail to avoid that but I do want to talk about how it made me feel.

Has anyone seen that news article about the young Chinese woman hospitalised because she couldn’t stop crying when she saw it? That about sums it up. I cried from the opening scene all the way through to the end credits. I know this isn’t a surprising reaction for a sap like me but it gives you an idea of my mental state.

So yeah, take tissues. I also took a flask of tea and had to deal with the five tween boys sitting beside me making cheeky comments at my expense. Totally worth it.

“Where’s the beard, dude?”

“We lost. All of us. We lost friends. We lost family. We lost a part of ourselves. This is the fight of our lives.” ~ Steve Rogers

So what’s the verdict then?

Endgame perfectly balances humour with the feels – it’s stressful, exciting, comfortingly familiar and surprising. It’s everything I expected and more – it’s all I needed and much more. Without question it is the perfect end to Phase Three, even if the film itself isn’t perfect.

There’s one thing I really didn’t enjoy and it was a cheap shot – a lame fatphobic joke repeated over and over and although I’m not going to spoil it, I want to mention it. That’s pretty much my only beef with EG – it is very long, it is very busy – but I liked all that and I’ll be doing it all again this week.

All that time over the last decade we’ve spent in the MCU with these characters, every adventure – the Endgame is finally here and I almost can’t believe I’ve seen it now.

It’s over-all joyous. Five stars though I’m tempted to remove one for the fat phobia.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What are you watching?

Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel (2019)

Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.

Starring: Brie Larson • Samuel L. Jackson • Jude Law

*Minor Spoilers*

Vers is a Starforce member on Hala, the Kree Empire’s capital planet. Under the tutelage of her mentor Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), she is learning how to become a fine warrior. Which is all well and good but she’s haunted by nightmares that she doesn’t understand and a past she can’t remember.

Bestowed with special powers given to her by the Kree, Carol is urged by the Supreme Intelligence to think less with her emotions and more with her head, something she very much struggles with because she’s a fucking woman and what are we? That’s right: too sensitive.

“We have to arm wrestle, it’s the Law.”

During her first mission with Starforce, shit hits the fan when the team stumble into a Skrull ambush and Vers is taken hostage by their kingpin, Talos (Ben Mendelsohn). Skrulls FYI are alien shape-shifters and the Kree’s arch enemy.

Anyway, Vers manages to escape their evil clutches and plunges to Earth where she promptly meets a very familiar face, Shield agent Mr. Nick Fury. While he’s skeptical about Vers’ very honest account of what she’s doing on this planet, he soon sees enough evidence for himself that she might just be telling the truth.

Carol was a pro at staring

What follows is a cute road trip for two as Fury and Vers search for the mysterious Dr. Wendy Lawson (Annette Bening) who seems to hold the key not only to what the Skrulls are after but who Vers might really be.

I really enjoyed The Carol Danvers story. It’s female-centric in a way none of the Marvel movies have been so far (although there have been moments) but its done really well, without hammering the point home. I buy Brie Larson completely as a pilot and I absolutely love her chemistry with Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).

Girls 4 eva

She’s a competent, likeable hero who can kick arse with or without her fiery fists – and she’s true to herself, learning that it’s okay to think with your heart and not your head if you damn well please. This is a battle I have constantly with myself so I really connect with that aspect of the narrative.

There are a few surprises along the way and it’s genuinely touching to follow Vers/Carol as she pieces together the life she had before she ended up on Hala. While I don’t want to give too much away to those who haven’t caught this movie yet, there is a ‘twist’ you can see coming a mile off. If I’m honest as soon as I saw Jude Law’s goddamn beautiful face, it was already planted in my mind. But I don’t think it ruins anything really.

Green with envy over that big gun

Comic relief in the form of Goose the cat (played by no less than three stunt kitties) is fun and there are moments it veers into Guardians of the Galaxy territory with its humour (which could never be a bad thing). I really like both Maria Rambeau and her daughter Monica (played respectively by Lashana Lynch and Akira Akbar).

There’s such sadness in Maria, who believed her best friend to be dead and now has to come to terms with the fact that she’s alive and doesn’t remember their former life and adventures together. But there’s hope too, of course and yey for that.

Flame emoji forever

Okay so this might not be the very best Marvel film ever made and sometimes it’s just little too spacey for my personal taste – I much prefer the fish out of water on earth aspect of the story – but it’s a strong start and a pleasing introduction to a character I knew little about (DC Girl, innit).

Carol’s presence in End Game is going to be very welcome and I’m extremely excited for next month.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What are you watching?

Update: I can’t believe I hit Publish on this post without gushing about the soundtrack. It’s 90’s perfection and every tune is a bop. Special mention to the mighty Just a Girl by No Doubt which was my teen anthem.

Goose: the best Avenger?

Peppermint

Free for all month this month and that means clearing off some of the old Amazon/Netflix wish lists and hoping for the best. But sometimes your best just isn’t good enough, is it Jennifer Garner (star of this week’s vigilante justice tale)? Continue reading Peppermint

Alita: Battle Angel

Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

I knew I wouldn’t get on well with this. The trailer failed to get my juices flowing and I didn’t think I’d be able to get past the CGI’d central character, Alita (Rosa Salazar). In fact, Alita was the least distracting thing about the film and I have healthy respect for the way she’s animated.

Glynn really wanted to see and enjoy this, so with no expectation (on my part), we took Date Night to the Odeon. While this film wasn’t my favourite – and actually made me scoff a few times because it was so awkward – I enjoyed some of the spectacle. Everything is CGI’d to the hilt and it’s an impressive world built from scratch.

The year is 2563 and a world war know as “The Fall” has left the Earth devastated. We find ourselves in Iron City which is nothing more really than a massive junk yard. Times are tough here and it’s made all the more difficult by the looming sky city of Zalem, which is placed directly over Iron City.

The poor (fiscally and physically) residents of IC are overshadowed by the obscene wealth of Zalem every day of their lives. Some long to beg, steal or borrow their way up there by any means necessary. One day, cyborg scientist Dr. Dyson (Christoph Waltz) is scavenging an actual junk yard when he finds the healthy head and brain of a female cyborg. He brings her home, gives her a body and a heart – and names her “Alita”.

Alita quickly adapts to her new life but she has little recollection of where she came from. For all intents and purposes, she’s just a normal teenage girl who happens to be a cyborg. When she meets Hugo (Keean Johnson), he opens up her world view all the more. But Alita isn’t just a normal teenage girl and it soon becomes apparent that whatever she is, she’s a warrior. She has incredible survival instincts and is an expert in an ancient martial art.

This comes in handy when she finds out Dyson is moonlighting as a Hunter-Warrior (bounty hunter) and she gets to help him take down some lowly criminals.

Alas, this puts Alita on everyone’s map and not in a good way as she upsets the order of things, pissing off not only the criminal underworld but also the Hunter-Warrior community. All this runs alongside the national spectacle of Motorball, an all-consuming sport that everyone seems to love. Obviously she’s a natural at that too.

And there’s a helluva a lot more to it than that. The film looks good if you don’t mind suspending your disbelief for two hours. The action is satisfying too but it just doesn’t have much of a soul. When it comes down to it, Alita is the best character in it and I think it’s because of her enthusiasm. Both Mahershala Ali (as gang boss Vector) and Jennifer Connelly (as Dyson’s ex-wife Chiren) are wasted. Waltz seems to phone it in. Ed Skrein‘s shady Hunter-Warrior Zapan is horrible –  and the central teen romance is cringe-worthy AF.

While Alita has every right to the ordinary aspects of life, I could have done without the YA romance. Hugo is as terrible as Zapan and I didn’t care for him at all. But you know, as I type this I realise there’s more to like than dislike so maybe you’ll like it more than I did. It’s not a total disaster after all, just not my cup of tea.

⭐⭐⭐ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What are you watching?

Venom

Venom (2018)

 

I say this quite a lot but I went into this with absolutely no expectation, except that Tom Hardy would be fit. I left pleasantly satisfied and that’s because he is perfectly cast as the slightly loser-ish Eddie Brock. There’s a lot of fun to be had here, basically.

Is it anywhere are groomed as Infinity War or Black Panther? Of course not – but there’s a place for it and I enjoyed myself immensely.

Mr Hardy is a dream, an actor that sometimes makes you ponder whether he’s that technically talented – but it hardly matters, he has something a lot of other leading men don’t have and that’s the special something. And obviously I would climb him like a tree.

Tom-Hardy-Venom-2018
Hey babe

Riz Ahmed is also very good as evil Carlton Drake, a slick criminal mastermind who slowly but surely transforms into Venom’s ultra strong arch enemy, Riot. In the beginning, I had some reservations about Michelle Williams as Eddie Brock’s love interest Anne, who starts off pretty simpering. Luckily for everyone concerned, she claws it back and is actually great in the end, a heroine not afraid to get her hands dirty in a bid to make sure Eddie’s okay, even though he gets her sacked.

Support from Slate (whose character, Doctor Dora Skirth deserved better) and Reid Scott as Anne’s new boyfriend Dan is also good – but the supporting star has to be the lovely Mrs Chen (Peggy Lu).

The CGI can be a bit much to keep up with at times because there is so much going on and I don’t really know about all the symbiote science but ultimately I’m not mad at Venom at all.

My Rating

3.5/5.

The Meg

The Meg (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

After escaping an attack by what he claims was a 70-foot shark, Jonas Taylor must confront his fears to save those trapped in a sunken submersible.

*Minor spoilers*

Flippin’ heck. I feel like I’ve waited a lifetime for this movie, the premise and execution of which could have been lifted directly from my own fantasies.

Jason Statham, in a wet suit at his frowny best? Hell yes. Ginormous prehistoric shark with an insatiable thirst for anything unlucky enough to get in its way? You got me. There’s nothing else I need really but I do get more bang that I could ever have wished for. Welcome to my review.

Jonas Taylor is something of a maverick, because of course he is. He is also haunted by past decisions that may have cost a lot of people their lives. Though he stands by what happened that fateful day he lead a semi-successful rescue mission to safety – the sub they were in was attacked by something HUUUUGE and mysterious – he still feels hella guilty about the ones he couldn’t save. So guilty he’s now a drunk chilling in Thailand. Nobody believes his ramblings about a giant sea creature because why would anyone? I would but that’s me. I want to believe. 

“I loved you in Furious 7…”

Meanwhile and fast forward five years, billionaire Jack Morris (Rainn Wilson) is collaborating with Doctor Minway Zhang (Winston Chao) on a project on underwater facility Mana One. Along with his daughter Suyin (Bingbing Li) and a rag-tag bunch of fellow scientists and oceanographers, Zhang is exploring the contents of the Marianas Trench, financially backed by Morris.

You know, just poking around to see what’s what… like you do.

I’m not going to wow you with science here and I’m not going to say anymore apart from when shit goes down – and boy does it – Jonas is called to save the day. When his theory is proven right and he is exonerated as a delusional whack job – it is left up to him to keep the team safe and protect the world from Meg, a sassy and beautiful prehistoric Megalodon.

the-meg-film-summer-horror-jason-stathem
Swish swish, motherfuckers

Is it any good though? Well, I am highly biased but I say HELL YES it is great. It’s exactly what I wanted, needed and expected – the dialogue is shaky and cheesy as hell – but it’s a fun ride. You can’t go into something like this expecting an Oscar worthy movie – that’s not what anyone is here for. It’s fun, it’s stressful, it’s awe-inspiring on the big screen and it’s funny where it needs to be.

As for the performances, I’ll stand by Statham ’til the end. The guy knows his limits and he plays very well to them. His comic timing is good and he look fitter with every passing year. He might not be Sir Laurence Olivier but he’ll always get me off my arse and down to the local multiplex because he gives it everything he’s got. As Jonas he gets to display his trademark furrowed brow a lot and I love him for it.

I was also impressed by Ruby Rose for a change, who still plays the same character she has in everything I’ve ever seen her in but she’s getting better as an actress. Plus, I feel there is an unspoken chemistry between her and Jonas’ ex-wife (and crew member) Lori (Jessica McNamee) – and I want more of that.

Ruby-Rose-The-Meg

Finally, I’m just fucking glad we’re seeing more Asian characters and actors on the big screen – it feels like 2018 has been the year for giving us more of this and it’s so important. Perhaps we can stop white washing things and start hiring appropriate actors to play characters as they were intended?

My Rating

4/5.

Ocean’s 8

Ocean’s 8 (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

Debbie Ocean gathers an all-female crew to attempt an impossible heist at New York City’s yearly Met Gala.

Oh YEAH.

A female-ccentric heist movie with all the glamorous trimmings and then some, this movie is a blast from start to finish. And while I was always living for the cast and the fact boys were pissed off about yet another all female-remake, I’m happy that it’s also genuinely a good movie.

Obviously I can’t pick a favourite from the cast because that would be impossible but I can say that each of Debbie Ocean’s crew get enough screen time to make you love them and that is no mean feat. Where Ocean’s 11 and it’s sequels were slick and enjoyable, Ocean’s 8 dials it down a little bit and just focuses on the fabulousness.

oceans-8-cast-women

It is a lot of fun and is stunning to look at with a wardrobe across the board to die for. The chemistry too makes it even better, though some (male) film critics have criticised the lack of it. I do not see their point at all.

The plot is not too taxing and while some of it is a little far-fetched, I don’t think any of us are here for that anyway, so who cares? What we care about is fit women getting one up on ex-boyfriends, ride or die friendship and the fulfillment of destiny, even if that destiny is just to be a really, really good criminal.

I’m in love with all eight women and I’d watch this movie again and again, if only to study the way Cate Blanchett wears her fringe because it is sublime. I also really enjoyed seeing Anne Hathaway in a sassier role, she’s a very sexy lady.

Damn, it every single one of them is hotter than Hell.

Anne-Hathaway-Oceans-8

My Rating

4.5/5.