REVIEW: Free Guy (2021)

Jodie Comer as Molotov Girl and Ryan Reynolds as Guy in FREE GUY — Photo: Alan Markfield / 20th Century Studios.

Directed by Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum) — Screenplay by Matt Lieberman & Zak Penn.

It feels like I have been waiting for Free Guy for so long, and, in a way, I have. The first trailer was released back in 2019, then its theatrical release was delayed again and again due to the COVID-19 pandemic until it was finally released in the summer of 2021. And now it has finally been released on Disney+ in select regions. I actually always enjoyed the trailers, but, I must admit that, a small part of me was trepidatious about the film because I worried that I would have the same problems with Free Guy that I had with Ready Player One. But even though Free Guy does have plenty of references, I never thought it was as overwhelming as I thought the aforementioned modern Spielberg dystopian action film was. I quite enjoyed this movie, warts and all.

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REVIEW: No Time To Die (2021)

Daniel Craig as James Bond and Ana de Armas as Paloma in Cary Joji Fukunaga’s NO TIME TO DIE — Photo: Nicola Dove / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios / Universal Pictures.

Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga — Screenplay by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Cary Joji Fukunaga, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

When I rewatched Sam Mendes’ SPECTRE the other day, I was reminded of the fact that the previous film in the Bond-franchise was released all the way back in 2015. A lot has happened since then, so much so that you may have even forgotten about all of the behind-the-scenes drama that transpired long before No Time To Die became the first major film to be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After several rounds of rewrites, the shift in director, production, and the pandemic, the fifth and supposedly final film in the Daniel Craig-era of the James Bond-franchise has now finally been released. Thankfully, in spite of the real world drama that threatened to ruin it, this is actually a spy epic that is suitable as a true tribute to Daniel Craig’s bumpy but extraordinary time as the iconic agent. It isn’t the best film in the Craig-era, but it is a very memorable chapter in the franchise.

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‘The Chestnut Man’ is the Best Danish Netflix Original Thus Far – Netflix in the State of Denmark

Mikkel Boe Følsgaard & Danica Curcic, the stars of Netflix’s THE CHESTNUT MAN — Photo: SAM PRODUCTIONS.

In recent years, Netflix has gained a foothold in basically all corners of the world. As it becomes a global streaming service, Netflix is also starting to churn out local foreign language content that can grow a global audience. In recent weeks, that has happened with a show like the South Korean survival drama Squid Game, which has been compared to everything from The Hunger Games to Saw. But, of course, the most famous non-English language Netflix original series are Money Heist from Spain and Dark from Germany.

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REVIEW: Skyfall (2012)

Daniel Craig as James Bond and Javier Bardem as Raoul Silva in SKYFALL — Photo: Columbia Pictures / Sony Pictures Releasing.

Directed by Sam Mendes — Screenplay by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan.

This week, I will watch and review No Time To Die, which is supposedly the final film in the Daniel Craig-era of the Bond-franchise. So, in anticipation of the aforementioned 25th Eon Bond-film, I decided to take a brief look back at one of the most popular Bond films ever made; the wildly successful Skyfall. As this film was released several years ago, I have decided to discuss the film with some spoiler details in this review, so make sure that you have actually seen Skyfall before you go any further.

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RETRO REVIEW: The Matrix Revolutions (2003)

Keanu Reeves as Neo and Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith — Photo: Warner Bros.

Directed by Lana & Lilly Wachowski — Screenplay by Lana & Lilly Wachowski.

Filmed concurrently with Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions was met with a lot of disappointment when it was released. In the years since they were released, Reloaded and Revolutions have mostly been disregarded as underwhelming sequels to the original 1999 film. As you would know, if you had read my reviews of the previous two films, I think that Reloaded was a frustrating sequel to a near-masterpiece. So, how do I feel about the trilogy capper? Honestly, I kind of feel similarly, even though I have to say that I don’t think the ending itself is as disappointing as I’ve heard some remark. I quite like the ending, even if it is a little bit on the nose philosophically.

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RETRO REVIEW: The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

Keanu Reeves as Neo in THE MATRIX RELOADED — Photo: Warner Bros.

Directed by Lana & Lilly Wachowski — Screenplay by Lana & Lilly Wachowski.

Released four years after the original science-fiction action modern classic, The Matrix, the Wachowskis returned to the story with which they had made their names in Hollywood. This continuation was filmed concurrently with the trilogy conclusion Revolutions, which was, incredibly, released in the very same year as Reloaded (half a year later). The Wachowskis tried to recapture the spirit of the original film and to continue its story in a way that would both up the ante narratively as well as with the inventiveness of the action. While I don’t think this first sequel is a complete miss, I must, however, say that I think Reloaded missed that mark. I think it is an underwhelming sequel with unexciting subplots and action that fails to be as breathtaking as in the original film. However, although it is a mixed bag, it is certainly not without some notable bright spots and some memorable sequences.

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RETRO REVIEW: The Matrix (1999)

Carrie-Anne Moss as ‘Trinity’ and Keanu Reeves as ‘Neo’ in THE MATRIX — Photo: Warner Bros.

Directed by Lana & Lilly Wachowski — Screenplay by Lana & Lilly Wachowski.

Sometimes you need a good excuse to rewatch something that was released decades earlier. It could be a re-release, it could be a remake, it could be an anniversary, but, as was the case with The Matrix for me, it could also be a fresh trailer for a new chapter in its franchise. In a couple of months, Lana Wachowski and Warner Bros. will release the fourth film in the Matrix-film series, and, to be perfectly honest, its first trailer got its hooks into me. After watching it, I felt compelled to rewatch the 1999 modern classic, The Matrix, and, let me tell you, I’m glad I did. This movie was much better than I remembered it being, and I think the film, its central ideas, the action, and the overwhelming world-building holds up.

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REVIEW: Midnight Mass (2021 – TV Series)

Hamish Linklater as Father Paul Hill in MIDNIGHT MASS — Photo: Netflix.

Series Created & Directed by Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House; Doctor Sleep) — Available on Netflix.

At this point, I feel like Mike Flanagan is becoming a master of horror. I don’t think it happened over night, though. I think his output was fairly consistent in the beginning, but the latest works in his oeuvre are just outstanding. While I think Oculus, Ouija: Origin of Evil, and Hush were all right, I think Gerald’s Game, Doctor Sleep, and his Netflix shows (The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor) are all great must-watch horror films or shows. I think he has this ability to find beauty in even some of his more frightening works, and that is also true of his latest horror series, Midnight Mass, which I think is pretty much on par with the truly excellent Hill House.

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Additional Bite-Sized Reviews, Summer ’21, Pt. 3: ‘The White Lotus,’ ‘Malcolm & Marie,’ and More

Alexandra Daddario and Jake Lacy in THE WHITE LOTUS — Photo: HBO.

In this edition of my monthly movie and television catch-up article series titled ‘Additional Bite-Sized Reviews,’ I once again talk about my experience of trying to catch-up on some of the 2021 films released earlier this year, but this time I also want to talk about a show that I was surprised I liked as much as I did. What did I like about The White Lotus? Is Malcolm & Marie better than its reputation? Are Antoine Fuqua and Stefano Sollima’s latest action films any good? Well, scroll down to find out what I think about all of that (and more) in yet another jam-packed edition of Additional Bite-Sized Reviews!

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REVIEW: Dune (2021)

Josh Brolin, left, as Gurney Halleck and Timothée Chalamet, right, as Paul Atreides in Denis Villeneuve’s DUNE — Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures / Legendary Pictures.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049) — Screenplay by Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, and Eric Roth.

When science-fiction neophytes first lay their eyes on the marketing material for Denis Villeneuve’s latest science-fiction film, Dune, they should be forgiven, if they immediately remark that it looks like an imitation of Star Wars — or other similar films. Obviously, they would be under a false impression, but, after all, it is a little bit strange that one of Star Wars‘ most obvious sources of inspiration — Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel Dune — has not previously generated a widely known or appreciated adaptation.

In fact, the Dune property is perhaps especially renowned for being difficult to adapt. Famously, Alejandro Jodorowsky tried but failed to get an adaptation off the ground, while David Lynch’s adaptation from 1984 was critically panned. Those ‘failed’ attempts are, in fact, more widely known than the Sci-Fi Channel mini-series that the franchise also spawned. Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. have now entrusted auteur Denis Villeneuve with the job of adapting Frank Herbert’s rich, influential, and dense source material, and I think that was a very smart decision.

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