Green Book – Review

Green Book is definitely one of those movies that will take you entirely by surprise. The film’s premise and trailer, indeed, set up this white saviour reverse Driving Miss Daisy. Whilst the movie certainly has elements of this, it also goes beyond this. That’s because of the core real-life friendship at the centre of it.

Directed by Peter Farrelly, who created Dumb and Dumber and Shallow Hal alongside his brother Bobby, Green Book revolves around the very true story of Tony Lip and pianist Don Shirley. Don hires tough bounce Tony to drive him around concert halls in the deep south following the guidelines of the titular book; a guide for black Americans in navigating safe spaces for them. Despite being at odds at first, Tony and Don grow a fondness whilst they also face severe violence and prejudice.

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Co-written by Tony’s son Nick Vallelonga, who heard his stories from both his father and Don Shirley growing up, there’s an air of authenticity to the film that imbues the story with a loveliness. It’s apt at writing the conflict that Don Shirley suffered at the hands of deep-seated racism in Southern America.

Green Book greatly develops this relationship in an intimate and understanding way. The pair are at odds at first – the film doesn’t skirt over Tony’s own racist views and Don Shirley ruminates quietly to themselves. Through overlong drives and battling the awful prejudice they receive,) the two men find a warmth between them. The natural progression of companionship feels realistic and brings a lovely energy to this unexpectedly charming road movie.

Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali really take charge with these roles and it’s through these two actors that a spirituous alliance comes forth. Piling on the pounds for his role as wise-quipping, thick fisted Tony, Mortensen evolves Tony gradually. At the beginning, the film is honest about Tony’s racial views and does not skirt over them. However, it also shows that a man can overcome his ignorance. Tony sees a fellow with Don and whilst it takes time for them to evolve together, Tony does learn. Mortensen is great in this brash yet sentimental role, proving again that he can dig deep into characters such as Lip.

It really is Mahershala Ali who defines an outward grace masking a quiet rage in this impeccably cast role. Through mannerism and the way he positions himself (plus some amazing costuming,) Ali transforms and balances all the different emotions buried inside Shirley. Since his work on Moonlight and Daredevil, Ali has proven that he is one of greatest actors working today. This is clear with the performance his does in Green Book.

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The two actors have a genius rapport together and their chemistry carries this movie. It’s pitch-perfect casting with the leads who are having fun uncovering this tale.

Green Book is a great film that is helped by its two lead actors. The pair are absolutely incredible together telling a tender story that courses through troubled times. Whilst there is something quite naïve in the moral message of the story, it is still sweet and lovely to see. That there is growth and love and understanding out there and we should embrace it when we can. Green Book is a handbook of niceness from Peter Farrelly.

Note: Green Book showcases some impressive food scenes that’ll make you absolutely starving.


Green Book is out 30th January. 

Reign of the Supermen – Review

There’s a whole world of Superhero movies you probably haven’t heard of and that’s the DC animated series. The cartoon movies immortalised DC’s greatest heroes such as Batman and Superman in some pretty impressive outings such as The Mask of the Phantasm and more. More versed comic fans enjoy these outings regularly and some iconic voice work has been at play in these brilliant movies. (Fun fact: The Joker is consider Mark Hammil’s second iconic role through the work he’s done in animated series and movies of Batman.)

Of course, those who aren’t novices into the hand-drawn antics, this could be a window into a brand new world of Superman. However, this is probably not the best film to start with…owing to lots of exposition coming from the previous films.

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Directed by Sam Liu, Reign of the Supermen is set some time after the events of The Death of Superman which, as the title suggests, saw the death of Superman. The world and Lois Lane are dealing with the grief of losing their greatest hero. However, shadowy figures have started to appear across Metropolis’ skyline. All of them have super-powers and all of them resemble the Krypton alien in some manner. However, is there something sinister happening?  Could someone be out for the ultimate revenge.

Aforementioned, the plot of Reign of the Supermen relies heavily on your knowledge of The Death of Superman. Though the film does attempt to bring you up to speed on the lore, it really helps seeing the events first hand that led to Superman’s demise. The plot, however, can get confusing and whilst the beats of the story hit emotional strides and has an imposing villain, it fails to make complete sense for the DC layman. There are also twists and turns which keeps the view invested and a brilliant comic book villain.

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The animation is great and scenes of action are crafted with colour and intrigue – with some scenes set in space. The character designs are questionable with Superman having the smallest head to muscle ratio I’ve ever seen and Lois Lane and Wonder Woman having the same features (though, would definitely watch a spin-off series of the pair. With mainstream animation making great strides with movies such as Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and The LEGO Movie, the fluidity and movement in Reign is somewhat stilted.

The film also has great voice work from the likes of Jerry O’Connell, Rebecca Romijn, and Rainn Wilson,

Reign of the Supermen feels like it was crafted for super-fans. That’s not necessarily a bad thing and for those who enjoy the red and blue super-hero flying through the sky, Liu has made a good film. For others, this is best left alone.

 


Reign of the Supermen is out on DVD, Blu-Ray, & Digital Download now! 

How to Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World

The How to Train Your Dragon series has been delighting audiences since Viking Hiccup first captured, then befriended, his Night Fury dragon Toothless back in 2010. The story of Vikings first fighting, then living with the franchise’s brilliant selection of dragons, proved to be the stuff of childhood dreams. We again visited Hiccup in the film’s sequel that saw Toothless become the dragon Alpha and Berk home to even more lost dragons.

Now, How to Train your Dragon: The Hidden World revisits the films characters as they look to the future between dragons and their riders. With Cressida Cowell’s book series beginning with Hiccup as an old man in a dragon-less world, the film fills in this change. The third and finale of the Dragon series is a sweet, heartfelt goodbye to its characters.

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A year after the events of the second film, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is chief of Berk and Toothless is the Alpha and protector of the Islands Dragons. The riders have taken to saving captured Dragons and bringing them back to a now overcrowded Berk. With the rider’s efforts making their Island home a target for trappers, Hiccup and Astrid (America Ferrera) seek to move their tribe to the lost hidden world. A dragon haven where their friends can be safe. But with hunter Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham) aiming to take control of their dragons and the appearance of a female Fury mate for Toothless, can the Vikings and dragons still create their utopia?

The Hidden World is once again written and directed by Dean DeBois. Based on the book series of the same name by Cressida Cowell, the film has taken the characters and premise but created its own story. The original voice cast return here with the addition of Abraham as Grimmel and a guest appearance from Gerard Butler as the now deceased Viking Stoick.

The film follows a similar narrative to the previous film. It throws the audience straight into the action with a daring dragon rescue. Returning to the Island which is now overcrowded and constantly fighting off trappers. Chief Hiccup suggest leaving their Island and looking for the dragon’s true home to share. We meet the trappers aiming to take the Island who have enlisted the help of Grimmel. The film takes us into danger, changing relationships and the dragon, human flights that the series is famed for; great pace and love of the characters carry you through to the films final battle.

The only area where the film falls down, is its villain. Like Dragon 2, the films villain is menacing but lacking in any development or real motive. The series’ best villain remains the giant beast, Red Death from the first film.

Once again, the franchise proves to be the strongest animation DreamWorks has produced. Fully rivalling Pixar in terms of visuals and, of course, it’s the flying sequences that stand out. Featuring rides between the boy and his Night Fury, the Berkians and their dragons but now also the Night and Light Fury. The dragons fly through clouds and across an incredible Northern Lights sequence in a feat of animated glory. The dragons themselves are again a brilliant feat in appearance but also their ability to convey emotion without words.

The film series has also done once again what few animations have done, it has aged and altered its characters. The change may not be as dramatic as between the first and second film but they have matured in appearance and character.

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Early reactions to Baruchel as Hiccup may have been against his Canadian accent, in a supposedly Scottish set film, but its now hard to imagine anyone else voicing the boy Viking. Passionate and energetic, his relationships with his father, girlfriend and his dragon are still the films heart. His character has matured but must face his biggest challenge, the potential of living without his best friend.

America Ferrera voices warrior Astrid, partner of Hiccup. The second film saw a few missteps with her strong character being used as a plot devise but here she returns as the fearless girl wonder that made her such a joy to watch.

The film fails to deliver a worthy villain, but The Hidden World is a beautifully animated, heartfelt goodbye to the characters we know and love. The flying sequences will amaze all but it’s the relationship between Hiccup and Toothless that makes this franchise a firm favourite for it’s loyal fans.

Long live dragons!


How to Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World is out 1st February! 

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile – Brand New Trailer!

Movies about real life murderers have always been part of our cinematic diet. And now here’s another one about the most sinister of them all…

Starring Zac Efron, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile follows the life, arrest, and trial of serial killer Ted Bundy.

A lot of people have mentioned the unusal bombastic tone. The fear is that it will glamourise Bundy but maybe it’s needed to see how much he charmed and swndled. What do you think?


Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile is coming soon.