Malcolm And Marie Review: Zendaya and John David Washington Shine in an Underwhelming Netflix Original

Malcolm and Marie was released on Netflix about a week ago, the original starring Zendaya (Marie) and John David Washington (Malcolm) follows a dysfunctional couple returning home from Malcolm’s film premiere. Things quickly get heated between the stubborn and emotionally distant filmmaker and his ex drug addict turned actor partner whom claims she was the basis of his film’s success before being discarded without any thanks.

A story told in almost real time, the two go back and fourth throughout the course of the film going deeper and deeper into personal attacks of character and uncovering the true nature of their relationship that goes far deeper than Malcolm failing to thank Marie at the premiere. Each segment being swiftly cut up with periods of briefly calm interactions before the flurry of raised voices and verbal abuse.

Malcolm and Marie is an intriguing concept from it’s outlook, but in many ways falls short in attempt to be something that it isn’t and in the end coming off as more pretentious than purposeful. For starters the entire film is shot on Kodak and in black and white, there is no explanation for that decision as far as the actual film goes as it seems to be set in the modern day with phones and various other modern devices shown throughout. The language is modern and the setting (whilst limited to just one place) is without doubt modern in its architecture and design.

So why film this in black and white?

The only practical reason that I can muster for the choice is the production going with the black and white feel as some form of comment on the nature of both relationships and life itself being at the surface level black and white but inherently complex should you dig a little deeper. Whilst this is a considerable point to make, it just doesn’t make sense in a film so evidently trying to reject the idea of unnecessarily politicism in the art form. Malcolm spends big portions of the film just ranting about the problem with the industry’s need to constantly politicize and find social impact in every film that comes out, which is why the choice for Malcolm and Marie to film in black and white is just a bit strange.

The crux of the film from the outside is promising but although there are some quality moments sprinkled across Malcolm and Marie the film just doesn’t pack the emotional punch it so desires in it’s subject matter. There are a lot of different reasons for this, whilst the back and forth between Zendaya and John David Washington as Malcolm and Marie is impressive it starts to lose it’s kick after a while and you end up losing the feeling of suspense or intrigue and rather find yourself on a merry-go-round of a heated statement from either Malcolm or Marie, followed by a calm or even inexplicably happy period which then loops back to the other producing some abuse of their own.

Rather than packing the emotional impact that seems to be intended from a film like this Malcolm and Marie loses it’s novelty fairly quickly and feels more like watching an emotionally based yet still pretentious debate of ideals rather than a gut-wrenching exploration of the implicit issues that Malcolm and Marie find in their relationship and that some viewers may find in their own.

However, there certainly are some heavy hitting lines and more than valid points made throughout the film and the back and forth is definitely entertaining however in a film so rooted in the dialogue it’s important to also consider what that dialogue is actually attempting to achieve/convey and in the case of Malcolm and Marie it seems to fall short of the mark.

Zendaya and John David Washington clearly gave this piece the best that they possibly could and in many ways the successes that it does have is due to their personal performances, even if the production itself is somewhat mediocre. Zendaya puts on the role of a now sober drug-addict turned actress who is intelligent yet equally mentally estranged and traumatized by her past life, a tough role to take on in a film centralized around dialogue and body language rather than setting or chronological events, but Zendaya has proved her worth once again as a far more flexible actress than many may choose to accept her as.

John David Washington seemed the perfect fit for his role as ‘Malcolm’, an emotionally devoid man-child yet creative intellect whom seems to put his artform above all else and suffers personally from it. You can’t help but get attached to Malcolm in some way throughout the film and for a character with so many fundamental flaws you can only say that feeling is due to such a fine effort on the actors part.

Points made about politics, social climate and society as a whole aside, Malcolm and Marie at it’s core is a film about the nature of love itself, yes that nature is explored through one particular story of love but it is clear that Malcolm and Marie is attempting to do more than just tell a story but rather comment on the intensely complex and dysfunctional nature of love itself through the intensely complex and equally dysfunctional nature of Malcolm and Marie’s partnership. Is this concept executed to the best of it’s ability absolutely not but with two fine actors putting in performances far outweighing the script itself, Malcolm and Marie is not an entire waste of time.

Watching the interactions between Malcolm and Marie throughout the course of the film swing back and forth, teetering between straight up emotional nuclear warfare and love for the other is extraordinary to see and the jagged changes of pace (whilst becoming quite predicable over time) will hold your interest enough to still appreciate Malcolm and Marie for what it is.

What really is able to push this film just above mediocrity is the underlying topicality and the clever dialogue (mostly out of Malcolm) that is put across in a both comedically charming yet also thoughtful manner, questions of political correctness, the status quo of the film industry, the basis of what ‘art’ truly is and questions on the basis of human existence itself are littered throughout the back and forth between Malcolm and Marie. The argument about whether or not much of the consideration of foreign idea’s outside the crux of the film is necessary is of course one to consider but although an element of comedy is present in much of that dialogue, Malcolm and Marie contains plenty of truth said in jest.

Malcolm and Marie has all the tools to put on an impressive display, and though leaving much to be desired despite the quality performances from both Zendaya and John David Washington is still an experience worth undertaking. It is the various moments that make Malcolm and Marie worthwhile rather than the culmination of all it’s parts and taking this film for what it is rather than what it attempts to be is the best course of action upon hitting play.

5.5/10

21st Century Fox Movies You Need To Watch

21st Century Fox movies have captured audiences for decades and whilst the huge studio doesn’t hit the mark every time they certainly have some serious titles in their arsenal, some of which you just absolutely must see no matter the type of moviegoer you are. From mind bending sci-fi thrillers to action packed comedies to arguably the greatest Christmas film of all time these are 10 21st Century Fox movies you need to watch...

The Martian (2015)

Matt Damon in The Martian
Matt Damon in The Martian

Based off the Andy Weir novel of the same name The Martian is the quintessential space exploration story gone wrong and with Matt Damon at the helm Fox bagged themselves seven Oscar Nominations and an absolute must watch in both it’s category and just in general.

Star Wars Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)

Mark Hamill, Carrie Fischer and Harrison Ford in Star Wars: A New Hope
Mark Hamill, Carrie Fischer and Harrison Ford in Star Wars: A New Hope

Fox has lost a lot of the rights to the Star Wars franchise but still has the rights to A New Hope and were the company behind it’s production (Along with the rest of the Original and Sequel trilogy) and timeless release. The first Star Wars movie to be released, A New Hope and the Star Wars franchise as a whole tops the lists for some of Fox’s best work and is still well and truly a must-watch even after all these years.

Life Of Pi (2013)

Suraj Sharma in Life of Pi
Suraj Sharma in Life of Pi

Fox once again taking a top notch novel and converting it impressively into a top shelf film. Considering so much more beyond it’s surface level Life of Pi packs and enthralling story and far deeper consideration of big ideas for those that choose to delve into them and is for many one of the probably underrated yet still massive successes in 21st Century Fox movie history.

Logan (2017)

Hugh Jackman in Logan
Hugh Jackman in Logan

21st Century Fox decided to put the last piece of Wolverine’s puzzle together in the 2017 smash hit Logan and in doing so arguably created one of the best films in the characters entire character ark. Hugh Jackman did the role more than justice and Fox executed the ending of his story in the role that was surprisingly perfect. Even for those whom distain at the idea of ‘superhero’ movies Logan is absolutely worth giving a shot and no doubt one of 21st Century Fox’s best movies in recent years.

The Revenant (2015)

Leonardo Di Caprio in The Revenant
Leonardo Di Caprio in The Revenant

Fox clearly took a giant leap of faith with The Revenant giving such creative control to the production team and cast and it turned out unbelievably in their favor bagging Leonardo Di Caprio his one and only Oscar to this day and delivering an action packed primal film for fans around the globe. Whilst not necessarily praised as highly in terms of critics as some of the other picks on this list The Revenant is not to be taken lightly and is a unique experience that as far as 21st Century Fox movies go is definitely worth a look.

Avatar (2009)

Credit: Photo by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock (5885988bd) Sam Worthington Avatar – 2009 Director: James Cameron Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation USA Scene Still

Fox claimed the title for the highest grossing movie of all time up until the release of Avengers Endgame with the visual masterpiece that is Avatar. Released back in 2009 Avatar changed the perception of what movies were able to do and shaped the sci-fi landscape that we see today. For many this may well be Fox’s best film ever but all whom have watched it no doubt consider it to be easily in the upper tier of the company’s arsenal.

Deadpool (2016)

Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool
Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool

Did Fox do anything astoundingly impressive for the industry with Deadpool, no, but did they create one of the best action/comedies going around, absolutely. Ryan Reynolds was a perfect pick for the role and it’s surprising to know that it actually took a very long time for the company to back starting production of the film. With a quality storyline pushed by a hilarious cast you really can’t go wrong with Fox’s Deadpool.

Alien (1979)

Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley in Alien
Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley in Alien

21st Century Fox clearly has a knack for sci-fi thrillers, and the original Alien is no different. A masterpiece of its genre at the time which still holds up today this sci-fi/horror is a movie of it’s kind at it’s very best. A movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat at all times and very quickly invested in it’s main characters/themes Alien is no doubt a must-watch Fox film and deservedly on this list.

Home Alone (1990)

A young Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone
A young Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone

Home Alone is going on this list, did it change the landscape of the industry no, was it revolutionary in it’s area, well sort of, but you just cannot say that Home Alone isn’t at the very pinnacle of Christmas movies and will put bums in seats year after year even three decades after it’s initial release. Fox is behind arguably the greatest Christmas film ever made and just had to be on this list.

Cast Away (2001)

Tom Hanks in Cast Away
Tom Hanks in Cast Away

Last but absolutely not least, Cast Away is a Tom Hanks masterclass and a rollercoaster of emotions from the start right to the very end, you’ll struggle to muster another film that takes on the idea of a man stripped from everything and brought back to his primal instincts better than 21st Century Fox’s Cast Away. Without doubt one of the studio’s best and with Tom Hanks steering the ship Cast Away is absolutely a Fox must-watch.

21st Century Fox movies have been dominant players in the industry over many years and in many cases when that iconic logo pops up on you’re screen you’re due for a quality experience. Are they free from some poor efforts over the years absolutely not but there is no doubt about it. 21st Century Fox has produced plenty of must-watch films over the course of it’s existence with hopefully many more to come.

If you can think of any other Fox classics/must-watchers put them down in the comments below!

The Best Streaming Services For Australians in 2021

The days of needing to physically go out to a cinema to see the latest film releases are well and truly past us, and whilst there is of course still big value in making a day out of going to the cinema many nowadays choose the comfort of their own couch and home along with a streaming service for most, if not all their movie needs. Especially given the global pandemic that has ravaged the industry and the ability for cinemas to run over the last year it seems that now is as appropriate a time as ever to take a look at The Best Streaming Services Available to Australians in 2021.

Netflix

Netflix logo

Netflix has dominated the scene for many years now and still stands as the most used service with over 182.8 million subscribers as of April 2020. With a plentiful catalogue of Movies and Tv shows Netflix is no doubt the most well known service, but lets have a look at some of the pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Considerably cheap subscription options (Starting at $10.99 per month in Australia)
  • Massive catalogue (Thousands of Movie and Tv titles)
  • Easy setup
  • Offline playback (Downloadable content)
  • Support across almost all devices
  • Netflix Original films

Cons:

  • Latest Tv episodes not available right away
  • Outdated library (Newer content takes time to come to the platform)
  • Catalogue depends on location (Different titles depending on where you live)

Overall Netflix is a really quality streaming service and arguably the best if you’re looking for variety and aren’t too concerned with a somewhat outdated library. The platform is well priced between $11-$20 per month and has a good support service available if you have issues.

Disney Plus

Disney Plus Logo

Disney Plus has burst onto the streaming scene over the last few years surpassing 73.7 million subscribers last year. By making everything Disney associated exclusive to it’s service it has quickly become one of the most popular services available, priced really well at $8.99 per month or $89.99 a year Disney Plus is definitely a good option for those looking to stream content in 2021.

Pros:

  • Very well priced relative to other streaming services
  • Exclusive Disney, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars and National Geographic titles that can’t be streamed on other platforms
  • Disney Plus Originals
  • Good device compatibility

Cons:

  • Licensing issues leading to many titles not being available yet
  • Unreliable interface (Bugs, errors and general problems are fairly common)
  • Limited Fox content
  • No way to manually adjust streaming quality

Disney Plus is the perfect and realistically the only streaming platform for viewers looking for anything Marvel, Star Wars, Disney, Pixar or National Geographic and with a low price tag is definitely a good option overall, only really being held back by interface issues and obviously a narrower catalogue compared to other services.

Stan

Stan Logo

Stan is certainly one of the smaller services out there, but with a still considerable 2.1 million subscribers as of August 2020 it definitely shouldn’t be counted out when on the search for a streaming platform. Exclusive to Australia and with reasonably priced plans starting at $10 a month Stan might just be for you.

Pros:

  • Good device compatibility
  • Easily navigated and well made interface
  • Decent catalogue of Movies and Tv shows
  • Original Tv shows
  • Focus on Australian content

Cons:

  • Some Tv shows not fully available (Only some episodes)
  • Not the best recommendation system

Stan in essence is the Australian Netflix, and with good device compatibility and user interface plus many quality originals is a good option for those looking for a well priced homegrown streaming service that is Australian made and run. The focus on Australian content is a big player for viewers who appreciate/are looking for it and coupled with a growing library of global content Stan will continue to grow for years to come.

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video logo

Amazon seems to be branching into every market it possibly can, Amazon Prime Video is no different. With a huge catalogue and costing just $6.99 a month or $59 per year the service is well and truly competitive price wise and boasting over 50 million subscribers worldwide is no doubt a big player in the Australian market.

Pros:

  • Huge Catalogue
  • 4K and HDR streaming quality
  • Offline download options
  • Allows users to rent or buy content
  • Occasional sports content

Cons:

  • Loses content to other services due to licensing issues
  • (Although Larger) Lesser quality catalogue compared to other services

Amazon Prime Video has come a long way since starting in 2011 as a regular video rental service to become one of the big players in the streaming market. Competitively priced the service mainly stands out with it’s Originals which continue to grow in popularity, and though the catalogue isn’t of quite as high a standard (Although much larger) compared to other services (Mainly due to licensing issues) Amazon Prime Video is still a quality option.

Direct Comparisons:

Pricing:

Netflix Disney PlusStanAmazon Prime Video
Starts at $10.99 per month$8.99 per month or $89.99 a yearStarts at $10 per month$6.99 per month or $59 a year
Service Plan Comparison

Subscribers:

Netflix (Global)Disney Plus (Global)Stan (Exclusive to Australia)Amazon Prime Video (Global)
182+ Million73+ Million2+ Million50+ Million
Subscriber Comparison

Catalogue (Tv Shows):

NetflixDisney PlusStanAmazon Prime Video
798 shows284 shows 632 shows1345 shows
Tv Show Amount Comparison

Catalogue (Movies):

NetflixDisney PlusStanAmazon Prime Video
3,600+ Movies500+ Movies1,300 + Movies18,405 Movies
Movie Amount Comparison

Choosing the Best Streaming Service For You?

All in all it’s clear that Australia has plenty of fantastic streaming services to offer and it really depends on the type of viewer you are when choosing the right one for you. Pricing is fairly consistent across all the options but still is important to consider long term in order to get the best value out of your decision.

Amazon Prime Video has an absolutely huge catalogue but lacks quality for it, Netflix has a more refined list but is edging more towards originals, Stan puts in an effort to push Australian content and Disney Plus targets it’s own audience with exclusive rights to big franchises. Currently it seems that Netflix stands as the best option for most due to such a wide and quality catalogue, however there are big cases to be pushed for Stan, Disney Plus and Amazon Prime video as well…

The Dig Review: A gentle but powerful true story brought to life

Based off a true story Netflix has once again proven it’s ability to make quality originals, even if there are a few lackluster attempts sprinkled in between…

In the build up to World War Two there was little else on the mind of Basil Brown but one thing, a mound on the property of his then employer Edith Pretty. A self proclaimed ‘excavator’ with little formal qualification Brown had been sent to the property of Edith Pretty on what appeared to be a simple dig, it was that same simple dig that turned very quickly into the nationally recognized treasure hunt of a lifetime in which he proved his worth to be far beyond that perceived by his peers.

The twice widowed Edith Pretty (Carey Mulligan) decides to finally pay for the excavation of some mounds out in the paddocks of her land in Suffolk England, Basil Brown (Ralph Fiennes) is sent from the local museum and quickly gets to work. With a few stumbles along the way Basil unearths a site like no other in one of the mounds and quickly finds himself surrounded by credit hungry archeologists whom alongside him get digging. All the while Edith is suffering from a slowly debilitating condition with her son watching on.

Where to start, ‘The Dig’ was filmed in a picturesque Suffolk very near the actual discovery site, and the visuals in this film are nothing short of jaw-dropping. From the vast, green, hilly plains to the simple pre-WW2 home interiors scene by scene ‘The Dig’ makes use of simplicity beautifully and chooses the times and places to extract all else but the scenery from the shot almost to perfection. I really can’t understate the beauty of this film, and in many ways it is that very visual beauty that both dictates the mood and sets the scene all throughout ‘The Dig’.

Director Simon Stone chooses grey sky’s and foggy outlooks on vast plains with simple but both comforting and melancholy piano scores suited their climate to hit home the idea of an impending Second World War but equally so the impending events far closer to Edith Pretty and Basil Brown.

‘The Dig’ is well casted and in my opinion Ralph Fiennes was the perfect man for the job of Basil Brown. Quiet and humble yet likeable and daring when needing to be Fiennes takes on the role of a man with a primal passion for both his craft and his values and plays it to perfection. Carey Mulligan also puts in a strong performance going outside her comfort zone as Edith Pretty but particularly her chemistry with Fiennes is what makes the film as engaging as it was.

Taking on a whole array of different ideas and concepts thematically ‘The Dig’ is a gentle but gritty story of life and death, of love and loss, and of past and present. Does it consider these ideas all to their greatest potential, perhaps not, but it certainly has the kick to make one consider their own thoughts on them. The backbone of the plotline being the ‘Dig’ itself the film splits itself into quite a few noticeable character arks and storylines, that of Edith Pretty and her son Robert, of archaeologists Peggy Preston and her husband Stuart Piggott and of course that of Basil Brown himself.

Action isn’t the goal of this film and pace isn’t either, however substance is. The main problem that ‘The Dig’ faces is the fact that it may just consider too much to really have considered anything in the best way. This isn’t to say that the ideas of love, loss, life and death in this story aren’t provocative of reflection in a viewer, however in it’s attempt to tackle so much there definitely is the sense maybe a better job could’ve been done hadn’t so many different idea’s and storylines come into the picture at once.

With that being said ‘The Dig’ is a humble British period piece that is able to produce far more than one might expect from the outset. Based off the true events of one of the great archeological finds in British history and pushed by the powerful performances of all in lead roles this film chooses to do more than just tell a story, but equally teach a lesson. Whilst a straying storyline and competing ideas may hinder from ‘The Dig’ reaching it’s full potential, it is a subtle yet powerful Netflix original watch that well and truly exceeds expectation.

8/10

10 New Movies Releasing in 2021 to Get Excited About…

New movies are always something to get excited about, but especially after so many delays in 2020 the new year holds a plethora of new movies for fans around the world to get pumped for. In fact there are so many big movies set to release this year that it’s hard to decide what to be the most excited about, so I made a list. Here’s 10 new movies releasing in 2021 to get ready for…

No Time to Die (October 8th)

The newest release in the Bond series was actually set to come out in April however was postponed to October due to Covid-19 disruptions. The movie is still coming out in 2021 though and even after everyone thought Daniel Craig may have been finished in his most famous role he will return to the screens once again for ‘No Time to Die’.

The King’s Man (Expected August)

Going back in time to the origins of the independent intelligence agency ‘The King’s Man’ was hit hard by pandemic pushbacks, but it would be fair to say that even if not in August the film should hit the screens at some point in 2021.

Black Widow (April 29th)

Scarlett Johansson will return to the big screen once again as Black Widow in the standalone piece which as of right now is set to come out on April 29th. Marvel fans have a lot to look forward to in the upcoming release of ‘Black Widow’ and after a promising and well received trailer no doubt this will be a hit at the box office.

Cherry (February 26th)

‘Cherry’ is one of those films that I just can’t help but be excited for, a Russo brothers film starring Tom Holland in a role that really puts him outside his comfort zone is something that could either be top notch or highly underwhelming and given what we know about the movie thus far it shows some serious promise. Set to release on February 26th hopefully ‘Cherry’ can pull a top performance from Tom Holland to please fans around the world.

Godzilla vs. Kong (March 25th)

Yes ladies and gentlemen, Gozilla vs. Kong. Whoever came up with this idea is nothing short of a genius because it almost sounds too good to be true. Set to release on March 25th the battle of the titans that is ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ is not going to provoke anything meaningful but good lord it is set to be one hell of a ride.

Free Guy (May 21st)

I feel like I’ve known about this movie for so long yet ‘Free Guy’ isn’t set for release until May 21st of this year. Based of the story of a bank teller (Ryan Reynolds) becoming self-aware that he is a background character in a video game the blockbuster (although nothing groundbreaking) looks promising and Reynolds rarely does a bad job in these types of roles.

Top Gun: Maverick (July 1st)

Supposed to hit the screens back in December of 2020 ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ was pushed back to July 1st but will no doubt be one of the bigger releases of the year and with a big budget of 152 Million USD along with Tom Cruise returning to the Top Gun sequel, fans should be excited to see him return to the role after more than three decades.

Dune (October 1st)

Based off the 1965 novel by Frank Herbert ‘Dune’ is another big budget film coming out as of right now on October 1st. There are plenty of reasons to be concerned for this film especially considering the fact that it has actually been tried and failed before in the form of a 1984 Dune movie, however there are also plenty of reasons to be excited too. With an on the rise Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Jason Mamoa, Oscar Isaac and Rebecca Ferguson all in lead roles backed by a big budget ‘Dune’ certainly looks to be promising.

Spider Man Sequel (December 17th)

Marvel have confirmed that there is to be a new spider man movie releasing in 2021 and although untitled as of right now (To the public that is) the movie has a release date of December 17th. Perhaps the most exciting thing about this sequel is the fact that there has been confirmation of a return of both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield in some way shape or form, news that only makes the new Spider Man even more anticipating though it won’t come until the end of the year.

The Father (April 1st)

‘The Father’ is maybe one of the smaller movies on this list but following the story of a defiant yet aging father whom begins to question the fabric of his own existence in an attempt to make sense of his changing scenery is just destined to be a hit amongst many who decide watch it. With a release date set on April 1st I won’t have any hesitation in going to see this one the first chance I get.

2021 is shaping up to be e big year for the industry, let me know if there are any other movies you’re excited for down in the comments below!

Can ‘The Batman’ Rival it’s Genius Predecessors?

Whilst we’re still a long while away from the massively anticipated release of ‘The Batman’ which is set to hit the screens some time in 2022 (Current release date March 22) you can’t help but be excited to see what Robert Pattinson can do in the iconic role and even more so what Matt Reeves can do from a directorial point of view.

No doubt it is going to take some serious quality for the diehard Dark Knight trilogy fans to be able to wholeheartedly accept ‘The Batman’ but you must say considering it’s predecessors, even for casual fans this movie does have a LOT to live up to. The Dark Knight trilogy stands as arguably the best ‘superhero’ story of all time and especially ‘The Dark Knight’ which is considered by so many to be the best ‘superhero’ film ever made, so should we be looking for a step up from Pattinson?

Filming for the movie has well and truly got underway and the initial trailer released back in August definitely shows some promise.

Behind the scenes photos of Robert Pattinson filming 'The Batman'
Behind the Scenes images of ‘The Batman’ in filming

But should fans be nervous? Well, there are a few reasons that might lead ‘The Batman’ to struggle to stand up on it’s own:

DC Attempting to Please Everyone…

DC needs to be really careful in its approach creatively as far as ‘The Batman’ goes, because they are well and truly aware of the fact that their fanbase is really divided into two key groups relating to the new release. One is looking for a completely unseen and new creative approach towards the character that does the previous trilogy justice but doesn’t hug onto its direction for safety, the other is so attached to the previous trilogy that it wants to see nothing other than an extension of what they feel is DC at their very best.

Poster for 'The Dark Knight'
Will the success of ‘The Dark Knight’ trilogy be too much for ‘The Batman’ to excel

This is a problem for DC and a cause for concern for a few reasons, the first of which being the fact that if DC decides to overly consider public outpour that is hitting media leading up to ‘The Batman’ they more than likely will get caught up attempting to please everyone and in doing so end up producing a movie that gets tangled between trying to stand as it’s own piece and doing justice to the previous one.

It also means that Matt Reeves may well struggle to find complete creative freedom under the production company that we’ve seen time and time again choose safety over creative integrity, a decision that has led to their downfall and the eventual Marvel dominance over the last decade.

Unrealistic Expectations:

The problem with producing one of the most highly regarded superhero trilogies of all time is that anything following that body of work is going to come under serious heat and criticism according to a public sense that the next new film needs to be bigger and better in almost every faucet.

While it would be unfair to say fans shouldn’t be excited for ‘The Batman’ it is tough to put so much unbelievable pressure and unattainable expectation on a movie where eventually even in the case that it is good, the fact that it isn’t moviemaking genius deems it a flop. Robert Pattinson is coming back into the blockbuster industry after spending a fair bit of time producing lower budgeted flicks and there is no way for the ‘Twilight’ star to succeed in a role that is being placed under impossible expectation.

With fans already passing a fair bit of hate the way of Pattinson and really the entire approach that ‘The Batman’ seems to be taking, it’s important neither the cast/production team nor the studio allow that to affect the film in any way because it will more than likely just do unnecessary damage.

Changing The Traditional ‘Batman’ Persona:

It has been reveled that ‘The Batman’ is going to appreciate the origins of Batman but also attempt to take a new stance on the way the character is portrayed, personally I feel it might be good to see a bit of character insight in a new light but there is no doubt traditional fans who’ve known Batman as a gritty and stone cold vigilante may be concerned with this, and they have a right to be.

Many pin the blame on Pattinson whom they feel is developing a ‘Twilight’ style Batman and while we really won’t have a great idea of what’s being done behind the camera until the movie hits the screens the fact that a new side of Batman is in the works is reason to both be excited and concerned.

More than likely ‘The Batman’ will be a noir driven adventure and fingers crossed Pattinson will be up to the challenge because such a significant change to the status quo would be daunting for even the best actors, and that is without going into the nature of the passionate fanbase surrounding Batman.

Can Pattinson stand up in his new role as ‘Batman’

Considering this is one of Pattinsons biggest ever roles and really one of his first in the type of role that ‘The Batman’ requires him to be, it’s important that fans consider his adaption as a piece of it’s own and try to avoid directly comparing it to the work of Christian Bale’s whom previously donned the cape and mask. Although I think everybody knows that is not going to happen.

At this point all fans can do is hope he knocks it out of the park and puts in a quality performance, and hopefully with the direction of Reeves and the full support of the studio we’ll see a well received release some time in 2022…

Best Inspirational Movie Quotes of the 21st Century

20 Of The Best Movie Quotes of the 21st Century

(In No Particular Order)

“Why do we fall, sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.” – Alfred, Batman Begins

Alfred speaking to Bruce Wayne in 'Batman Begins'

“Don’t ever let somebody tell you you can’t do something.” – Chris Gardner, The Pursuit of Happiness

Will Smith in 'The Pursuit of Happiness'

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.”Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Dumbledore in 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone'

“Every man dies, but not every man really lives.” –William Wallace, Braveheart

William Wallace in 'Braveheart'

“Do, or do not. There is no “try”. – Yoda Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

Yoda speaks to Luke in 'The Empire Strikes Back'

“Great men are not born great, they grow great.” –Mario Puzo, The Godfather

"The Godfather'

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” –Ferris Bueller, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

“Sometimes it is the people who no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.” –Alan Turing, The Imitation Game

Alan Turing in 'The Imitation Game'

“You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” -Sean, Good Will Hunting

Matt Damon and Robin Williams in 'Good Will Hunting'

“You’ve got this. Most of the time, the challenges you face are those you were already built to handle.” -Gladiator

Russel Crowe in 'Gladiator'

“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” – Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry, Ron and Hermione in 'Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban'

“The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.”– Bob Harris Lost in Translation

Bob Harris and Charlotte in 'Lost in Translation'

“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything” – Tyler Durden, Fight Club

Tyler Durden in 'Fight Club'

“Oh yes, the past can hurt. But you can either run from it or learn from it” – Rafiki, The Lion King

Scene from 'The Lion King'

“I know what I have to do now. I’ve got to keep breathing because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?” – Chuck Noland, Cast Away

Chuck Noland in 'Cast Away'

“Get busy living, or get busy dying” – Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption

'Red' and Andy Dufresne in 'The Shawshank Redemption'

“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get” – Forrest Gump

A scene from 'Forest Gump'

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world” – John Keating, Dead Poets Society

Robin Williams in 'Dead Poets Society'

“We buy things we don’t need, to impress people we don’t like” – Tyler Durden, Fight Club

Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden in 'Fight Club'

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us” – Gandalf, The Lord of The Rings

The cast/characters of 'The Lord of the Rings'

Netflix’s ‘Outside the Wire’ Takes on big ideas but struggles to impress

Just a few days ago ‘Outside The Wire’ was released by Netflix as one of their first films of the New Year, the plotline takes on the scenario of a 2036 civil war between Russia and Ukraine over territory. US marines along with newly developed robotic soldiers known as ‘Gumps’ (Genius name right) are sent in as ‘peacekeepers’ and the film follows the journey of Lieutenant Thomas Harp (Damson Idris), a disgraced drone operator whom is punished for disobeying orders in his attempt to save troops. Sent into the field with no specialized training nor experience initially as a way to fully ‘Understand his work’ Harp quickly learns from his superior Captain Leo (Anthony Mackie) that there is a much more complex reason for his field call. Oh and did I mention Captain Leo is a one of a kind cyborg developed by the military under a developing program to institute types of ‘supersoldiers’ into the military, the catch is that they’re completely similar to humans in almost every way. The two quickly get moving and set out on a winding journey to ‘Save the World’.

As far as casting goes this film has been done very well, Anthony Mackie puts in a near perfect performance in his role as a difficult to understand, secret harboring yet frustratingly likeable cyborg/soldier and has some clever moments. Damsin Idris likewise does extremely well in his role as the ‘rookie’ thrown completely into the deep end but whom is slowly developing his moral compass and ability to act upon situations not just behind the screen. Supporting roles are done well also and there really isn’t much to complain about from a casting perspective.

Visually and effects wise, the film also stands up well, are there any completely mind blowing scenes no, but there are some nice shots particularly towards the end of the film along with various well put together gunfights across the nearly two hour runtime of ‘Outside the Wire’

However outside of casting and visuals ‘Outside the Wire’ begins to struggle. After watching the film and taking some time to consider, it’s hard not to say there was misplaced potential there, taking on some big ideas in the form of AI involvement in both military operation and general human life in the future along with the state of human conflict and the unfathomably destructive path that may be heading towards. Coupled with the constant questioning of morality as to what makes something right or wrong ‘Outside the Wire’ really did have some serious subject matter to make use of and to be completely honest it struggles to produce.

The violent sci-fi adventure decides to choose safety over potential and in doing so we are treated to almost every clique you could possibly muster through originality gold level lines such as “Sometimes you gotta get dirty to see the real change” along with a bomb countdown with big red numbers at the film’s climax (Which nobody has ever seen before). This doesn’t necessarily mean that ‘Outside the Wire’ is horrible or even difficult to watch but it is somewhat disappointing to be shown such a promising couple of ideas and then receive the same type of dystopian action we’ve seen over and over again.

The timeline of the film is good and the pacing isn’t bad, rarely leaving you feeling neither left behind or requiring things to speed up, however in some ways this also takes away from the film’s ability to tell a meaningful or truly thought provoking story. There are plenty of gunfights and fight scenes with a healthy amount of violence for the type of film this is attempting to be, however considering the fact that Captain Leo is basically a super-soldier it takes quite some time before we see any sort of real power out of him. It just seems that ‘Outside the Wire’ moves too quickly to even consider the weight of its own supposed ‘message’ and decides to place action and pace above all else and in doing so misses the mark.

Decent, Alright, Mediocre, whatever word you want to use ‘Outside the Wire’ is one of the films that will probably achieve more for casual watchers and isn’t necessarily a bad watch. However unfortunately it’s inability to properly address it’s strong subject matter nor deliver any sort of legitimate emotional punch coupled with some other obvious downfalls lead to a gritty and chaotic but in the end disappointing Mikael Håfström film…

5/10

10 A-List Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar

The Academy Awards, more popularly known as the Oscars are regarded as arguably the most prestigious awards in the film industry and year after year stir up both excitement and controversy surrounding various nominations and eventual winners. Public opinion is always going to be divided following Oscar winners and nomination snubs, however there’s still a number of huge stars with plenty of reason to feel that they should have taken out the top spot at least once. So here’s 10 A-Listers who’ve never won an Oscar…

Will Smith

Will Smith as Christopher Gardener in 'The Pursuit of Happiness'

Nominated twice as Best Actor for his performances in ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’ and ‘Ali’ Will Smith is the first name on this list and currently has never taken out the top spot at the Academy Awards. From ‘Independence Day’ to ‘I Am Legend’ even given such an immensely large catalogue of movies across all genres Smith hasn’t bagged an Oscar yet to many fans displeasure.

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise in 'Mission Impossible'

The ‘Mission Impossible’ star has had an illustrious career no doubt about that, but even with big performances outside of his most popular franchise in films such as ‘Minority Report’, ‘Rain Man’ and ‘The Color of Money’ Cruise has never received an Oscar. With three nominations at the awards for his work in ‘Magnolia’, ‘Jerry Maguire’ and ‘Born on the fourth of July’ whilst some still view Cruise as more of a blockbuster actor many still consider him unlucky to not have at least one Academy Award.

Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake Gyllenhaal in 'Zodiac'

Criminally underrated Jake Gyllenhaal has received just a single nomination at the Academy awards for his performance in ‘Brokeback Mountain’ and given his ability to put in quality performances how could he not be on this list. With fine displays in films such as ‘Nightcrawler’, ‘October Sky’, ‘Source Code’, ‘Prisoners’ and so many more it’s surprising Gyllenhaal has received just a single nomination and never taken out a win at the Oscars.

Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr. as 'Iron Man'

Robert Downey Jr. is one of the most well known faces in Hollywood and outside of his most popular role as Iron Man he has been nominated twice at the academy awards for Oscars after his roles in ‘Tropic Thunder’ and ‘Chaplin’ however has never ended up taking out that top spot.

Matt Damon

Matt Damn in 'The Martian'

Outside of his penning involvement in ‘Good Will Hunting’ which won ‘Best Original Screenplay’ as far as acting goes Damon has actually never received an Oscar even after Nominations for his personal performances in ‘The Martian’, ‘Invictus’ and obviously ‘Good Will Hunting’. With appearances in ‘Interstellar’, ‘Saving Private Ryan’, ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ and so many more, many fans consider Damon more than deserving of an Oscar for his work.

Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford in 'Blade Runner'

Harrison Ford has had a long and for the most part strongly received career in Hollywood and from his performances in ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ to those in the various ‘Star Wars’ films it may surprise some to see Ford on this list but he actually has only ever received a single nomination at the academy awards for his work in ‘Witness’ and outside of that has never won an Oscar.

Mark Ruffalo

Mark Ruffalo in 'Spotlight'

Mark Ruffalo is once again a very underrated actor as far as mainstream attention goes and regularly puts in quality performances. With three nominations for supporting roles in ‘Foxcatcher’, ‘Spotlight’ and ‘The Kids are Alright’ Ruffalo has never been nominated for a lead role nor won any Oscar entirely. Given the top-shelf Ruffalo performances found in ‘You Can Count on Me’, ‘The Normal Heart’ and ‘Zodiac’ Ruffalo not being even nominated for a lead performance has stirred controversy in many fans.

Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson in 'Batman Begins'

Say what you will about Liam Neeson but as far as his acting goes he has mustered some great performances, with a loaded arsenal of films such as ‘Batman Begins’, ‘Widows’, ‘Ordinary Love’, ‘Husbands and Wives’ and so many more it may surprise you to know that Neeson has never won an Oscar and has received just a singular nomination for his role in ‘Shindlers List’

Woody Harrelson

Woody Harrelson in 'The Hunger Games'

Woody Harrelson is one of those actors whose persona may lead you to initially misjudge his ability to take on all types of roles and take them on well. The genre blending actor whom feels considerably underappreciated has been nominated three times at the academy awards for roles in ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri’, ‘The Messenger’ and ‘The People vs Larry Flynt’ but couldn’t bag an Oscar for any.

Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson in 'Pulp Fiction'

Last but certainly not least, Samuel L. Jackson has been nominated just once for his role in ‘Pulp Fiction’ and with such a massive array of movie appearances and big roles some feel that Jackson has been unfortunate not to at least get a few more nominations and even wins at the Academy Awards.

‘Swiss Army Man’ Risk-taking and astoundingly unorthodox yet strangely good…

Now, before anything is said about Daniel Kwan and Dan Scheinert’s ‘Swiss Army Man’ this is without doubt one of the strangest film’s I have ever come across in my entire lifetime of watching movies, which is quite the achievement. So with this in mind I can only come to the conclusion that this one will completely divide opinion between ‘Weird Genius’ and ‘What did I just watch’. Just thought I’d mention that.

Released back in 2016 ‘Swiss Army Man’ follows an inherently bizzare let alone unsettling premise and theme which does absolutely everything in its power to completely derail any idea that a proceeding a chain of events leading to a logical conclusion was to follow. Which, to some may prove to be just too much but in many ways it also felt like a breath of fresh air to watch a film in which for the most part, you grasp its core premise yet have quite literally no idea what is going to occur in the next scene. It is absolutely impossible to categorize the experience of this film and in a sense that’s why its such a rewarding one.

Let me just set the scene as to educate you on exactly why this is the case. The film opens by showing it’s protagonist Hank attempting to commit suicide after being clearly stranded on a deserted island, however in the process he notices the body of Daniel Radcliffe, the dead but flatulent body mind you. He then proceeds to mount the body and use the mans farts in a glorious gassy miracle to ride back towards land. Yes, you read that correctly. Once reaching mainland Hank and his now sidekick dead body whom he names Manny embark on a journey through the wilderness to reach society.

Now whilst that may seem like a complete trainwreck of a film the direction taken on this one is yes without doubt risky, however with strong lead performances from both Danielle Radcliffe, whom once again proves his value outside of his infamous role as Harry Potter coupled with Paul Dano in a role that completely changes the usual protagonist into a completely new acting job entirely, there are a lot of good things to be said about ‘Swiss Army Man’. Without doubt the fully committed performances from both leads is why this film is able to achieve its goal with a far more unsettling and profound response from any viewer. Not to mention the fact that Danielle Radcliffe performed nearly all of his own scenes in the mud and on the ground playing a literal dead body.

‘Swiss Army Man’ doesn’t make major usage of setting or impressive visual effects but instead opts for a far more primal feel to evoke response from audiences, whether that be shock, laughter or discomfort and in many cases all of the above. For the type of film ‘Swiss Army Man’ attempts to be it can’t deemed a creative failure and you just absolutely have to hand it to Radcliffe and Dano for their willingness to do whatever it takes for their art, although by the same token it is understandable why some may find this one a tad too far.

However well this film does in it’s mission to both entertain and unsettle, there definitely are moments when surely even the most intrigued and appreciative viewers would find unnecessary and hindering to the experience, something which was inevitably going to happen when pushing the line of what is and isn’t too much.

Some scenes feel somewhat dragged out and perhaps could’ve been wrapped up far quicker and allowed more time for other events to occur. The jokes of the film do also feel old after a certain point and whilst the piece in a general sense definitely does grow on you there may be points particularly through its duller mid-section where you may wish things progressed a bit faster. Although that being said with a strong (but highly confusing) ending that in some ways makes up for previous shortfalls ‘Swiss Army Man’ may just grow on you and will definitely remain in your head for quite a while.

There are very few films which completely revoke the ability for a viewer to class it into any genre, but that is exactly what ‘Swiss Army Man’ is so unbelievably successful in doing via it’s risk-taking and original methods that never fail to provoke almost every emotion there is to muster. Through committed and impressive performances in the lead roles batted with a surprisingly depth-filled plotline upon further thought, this is without doubt one of the most peculiar films going around, but perhaps that is its genius. Although smartly written ‘Swiss Army Man’ at times falls short of the mark but it’s intriguing outside-of-the-box approach has to be respected.

7/10