Movie Reviews – July 2019

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SO you’re back from your FIFO stint at the mines, and wondering what to watch at the movies? Here are some of the current and recently-released films you might want to catch at the cinemas or on a DVD.

THE LION KING

Chiwetel Ejiofor, James Earl Jones, Donald Glover

IF this photorealistic version of The Lion King had been the original, replete with all its beautiful songs, it would surely have been lauded as one of the most innovative movies ever made, a David Attenborough documentary set to music with a cluster of crooning critters.

As it is though, it’s essentially an almost direct copy of the animated classic, retelling the film and making it look as lifelike as possible while keeping the story and soundtrack relatively the same.

The movie starts off magnificently. Little Simba is such an adorable cuddly cub that audiences will surely warm to him, and the visual spectacle of all the jungle inhabitants congregating in tribute is gloriously breathtaking, taking the viewers from “Aww” to awe in a matter of moments.

From there though, there is a distinct dissonance that makes the film difficult to relate to. The problem is that the facial expressions of “real” animals don’t convey emotions as much as cartoons do, and the end result is that some might feel that they’d be better off just watching the original.


SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME

Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal

PETER Parker goes on a European class trip with his peers from Midtown High, but inevitably, danger beckons, and he ends up donning his costume to battle colossal elemental monsters and a new super hero who is literally not all that he seems.

The movie is packed with genuine laughs yet takes it seriously when it needs to, remaining faithful to the coming-of-age humour that made its predecessor so enjoyable.

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As the film winds down, audiences will be sitting back in their seats smiling from this less exacting, wonderfully entertaining ride.

But then, in keeping with the smoke and mirrors theme, the clouds concealing the apparent happy ending dispel. Make sure you stay to the absolute end for two of the best and most exciting post-credit cliffhangers from the Marvel Cinematic Universe in quite some time.


YESTERDAY

Himesh Patel, Lily James

A GLOBAL electrical power outage, lasting a matter of seconds, stealthily rewires everything, and for Jack Malik, a struggling singer-songwriter, it changes his life.

Jack finds he’s somehow in a world which has never been exposed to cultural icons like Harry Potter and the best band of all time, The Beatles.

But he remembers the tunes, ensconced as they are in his memory. When Jack plays the lilting Yesterday to his friends, who are suitably impressed by the words and melody, the lightbulb flashes. With one of the finest music back catalogues at his fingertips, he lands a global contract, and widespread fame ensues.

However, Jack agonises over his musical plagiarism while still holding a torch for a girl named Ellie, who has committed herself to someone else.

All the while, some viewers might be wondering about how the movie pans out across this universe, and whether Jack can get back to where he once belonged, now that his life has changed in oh so many ways. And is Ellie in fact merely a girl with kaleidoscope eyes?

Ultimately, the movie succeeds more as a commercial for the songs of the fab four, rather than as the uplifting, humorous rom-com with a difference it set out to be.


BRIGHTBURN

Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, Jackson A. Dunn

WHAT if an alien boy who crash lands on Earth turns out to be evil instead of fighting for truth, justice and the American way?

In this movie, the baby in a rocketship, first seen as a godsend to a couple who have been trying for years to conceive a child, begins to manifest a mission for death, destruction, and world domination as he nears puberty.

And he doesn’t hold back. Indeed, the movie leans into blood and gore to accentuate just how powerful this being becomes. Make no mistake, this is more a horror offering than a stock super-hero feature, with much of the film spent on the carnage, and in pretty grisly detail.

In an era where horror movies can appear to be jaded, Brightburn literally burns bright as an homage to how the genre can still get the adrenaline flowing with a clever mix of jump scares and truly frightening effects.

If the very concept of an evil version of Superman excites you, and you get a boost from bloodshed and butchery, Brightburn will entertain in a big way.

Remember the smaller scale that it’s playing on and don’t watch it expecting a blockbuster. With that in mind, there’s a good chance you’ll find a substantial amount of fun here.

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