The Big Sick is directed by Michael Showalter and stars Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter and Ray Romano. Co-written by the two - The Big Sick tells the true story of how Nanjiani and wife Emily V. Gordon's relationship only grew fonder as their contrasting ethnic backgrounds surrounded them.
A flawless cultural clash of budding relationships and dynamic individuals. The Big Sick's witty humour and charming storytelling - constantly pushes the envelope of tried rom-com clichés. Its ethnic differences seemingly lead to a story of how the parents of Kumail and Emily overcome racism. However Big Sick is wholeheartedly a story of how beliefs in the modern world challenge contrasting cultures. It pins itself as a story of how characters grow and adapt to the different lives of each other and how it impacts their relationships with one another.
Whether it's about racism or contrasting cultures - the movie never proves itself to be an overly preachy story with a clearly laid out moral. Despite its ghastly turn - as girlfriend Emily develops an infection near the lungs - The Big Sick produces thought through its fizz in dialog and blend of comedy with romance. It is consistent in pushing boundaries of the comedic crowd, there are common race misconceptions and at times addressed, the talented writing of Kumail and Gordon's embraces the offensive remarks and flips them into gut busting gags - controversial yet confident.
The largely emphasised culture clash between Kumail and Emily blossoms into a devoted and contemporary on screen romance that drags previously basic movie romances out of a bygone erie. From each part - the movie sails through, lead by Nanjiani's endearing performance alongside Kazan who's chemistry imidiatley sparks with the cheeky uber driver. Particular standouts being Hunter and Romano - who once again prove to the industry what fine actors the two are.
It's standard premise may wind up as a before done conclusion - however diverts along the way to get there. Beginning to end there's a moment of realisation - The Big Sick marries a story of cultural differences with difficult challenges relationships face.
A movie like no other that connotes to a common route of rom-coms, centralising its characters despite challenging differences. The Big Sick applauds the modern generation and the admirably in vogue views on race and ethnic background. Combined with expectational performances across the board and sprinkled with the perfect combination of heart and humour. The Big Sick is an exemplary piece of cinema - and definitely the year's most hidden gem.
I am going to give The Big Sick
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is directed by David Soren, and is the first big screen adaptation of the extraordinarily silly - tight undie wearing - superhero captain underpants - previously told through comic form. Kevin Hart stars along side Thomas Middleditch as two best friends Harold and George who after hypnotising their dreadful Principal Krupp - convincing him he is their imagined superhero Captain Underpants. Must help him to defeat the new rein of Professor Poopypants.
Bearing in mind the target audience is around the six to eight year old mark, there's plenty of fun to be had with this ridiculous, none the less enjoyable caper. It's a nice reminder that Dream Works still maintain the ability to create a decent kids film, even though the studio may not be as active as it was in the Shrek, Madagascar days.
It finds some humour other than infamous toilet jokes that reoccur throughout the books - and when the genuine jokes crack Captain Underpants provides some fine laughter. This is largely helped by Helms sprite performance as the whitey tight hero who manages to create a convincing super from the otherwise ridiculous, spoofed character.
Perhaps most entertaining of all is the film's alternative spin on the clichéd alter ego story line. Certainly no Clark Kent - Captain Underpants (CU) finds himself changing back into the vicious Principal Krupp, whose sanity is polar opposite to that of his alter ego. The shift between the two makes for the most amusing moments of the film - all polished of with the neat idea of a click of the finger changing him to CU and water converting him back the dreaded Krupp.
What is most unique about Captain Underpants is how animator Ashley-Martin Dunn mixes almost Charlie Brown kind animation with crisp, next gen graphics. Consistently beautiful whilst capturing the perkiness of the books - time is taken to express an emotion with a visual tear drop or illustrating noise through quirky animation. Its emphasises on the school system makes CU as ridiculous as it is relatable.
The problem most dominantly lies with style over substance. Precisely where Guardians Vol 2 fell short, Captain Underpants chooses a semi basic plot, with a constant hit of jokes rather than a layered story. There is some leeway here - as granted, it's a 'kids film' - however CU makes an attempt to explore its story in different dimensions but never follows up and ultimately becomes caught in the middle.
Captain Underpants is a great time for the kids but not a universal family film. It may use toilet humour as its main source of laughter but in the end it's fairly well written. With an orderly plot, quirky animation- Captain Underpants challenges us to explore our childish side with this heroically silly, crayon adventure.
I am going to give Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie.
Dunkirk is written and directed by Christopher Nolan, introduces Fionn Whitehead and stars Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy and Kenneth Branagh. Nolan tells the true story of how hundreds of thousands of British and allied soldiers were evacuated from the French beach under heavy fire from the advancing German army during the early stages of World War II.
Piecing together tales from land, sea and air, Nolan's vision for Dunkirk is like no war film that has come before. This unique addition to the genre carefully blends plot lines told over an hour, a day and a week, seamlessly interlocking to the stories of each of the principal characters. In doing so Nolan shapes what must be his finest work from a distinguished CV, creating a puzzle in which each abstract piece clicks perfectly into place.
Beginning his exceptional reign over Hollywood with the obscure Memento, followed by a superhero run with his sophisticated, genre re-defining Dark Knight Trilogy to the ever so baffling Interstellar. It might be tempting to be over-awed by the bewildering scale and complexity of Nolan's works. Dunkirk gives us the opportunity to pause and pay tribute to such a master at work, arguably at the peak of his career.
Like this year's Moonlight, Nolan displays cinematography at its finest. He tells not one but many peoples stories with little dialogue and masterful, beautifully crafted camera work, aided once again by Rylance, Branagh and Hardy's first class performances. The alluring, at times breathtaking aerial shots throughout the film in particular offer the best plane sequences since 86's Top Gun, culminating with an incredibly shot finale to the film. No spoilers but try and see this film on the biggest screen you possibly can, and you will be richly rewarded.
Surviving through strength or dying with courage is often the road directors take when approaching the war movies. Nolan narrates the story of how brave and desperate men try to escape to finally reach the safety of home. Home - a word which reoccurs throughout the film. The idea of a home almost visible from the Dunkirk beach - is used as a comfort to those who hear it. Under fire and in times of peril the word 'home' is often used to add a sense of humanity to the story and its characters. Nolan generates hope through his use of the word home, thoughts of home driving the quiet determination of every soldier and each civilian helper under fire throughout the evacuation.
Nolan is a director clearly in his prime, if not at the peak of his career. His vision for this movie has given us a milestone moment contemporary in British cinema. With an alternative, original look into war, Dunkirk evokes surreal feelings no other film of this wide genre has been able to do.
I am going to give Dunkirk:
Cars 3 is directed by Brian Fee and stars Owen Wilson in what seems to be our last lap of the cars trilogy. After a serious crash leaves racing sensation Lightning McQueen's career in the lay-by, he must train harder and faster and prove to a new generation of high tech racers he is still the fastest car in the world.
It may have been a bumpy ride to get to this point in the series - Cars 3 however, proves enough petrol's left in the tank for one high speed, last outing. A poignant story serves as the perfect medicine the franchise desperately needed after Cars 2 acquired neither the heart or brains of the original. Cars 3 sticks to the roots of what the Cars philosophy has aimed to convey - this time revealing the previously untold story of Doc Hudson.
As children's films develop into smarter, more telling stories, Cars is always one to be mocked for its - oddly enough - immaturity, unable to reach the high standards Pixar have set themselves. Cars 3 possesses the humour, sparkle and charm of each great Pixar movie before, it can't not be compared to such masterpieces as Up and WALL-E. That being said it's hard to convince those who have never been on board with the cars series from the beginning. Above all a great sense of nostalgia is felt across the entire adventure, and plays as a love letter to those who have stuck with the series through the past nine years. It becomes increasingly less about racing and more about the legacy of its characters.
The most telling aspect to Cars 3 is how it finds the right balance to explore three different characters stories in one film. Whilst all three cars, McQueen, Cruz, and Doc at first glance have such contrasting personalities, Fee finds a focal point within each one of them that draws the three together in the most tactful way.
Here we are introduced to the sensational Cristela Alonzo as the zippy Cruz Ramirez who offers our most contrasting, quite possibly finest cars character to date. Most admirable, Pixar take a chance on this comfortably boy-friendly franchise, shaking things up with an exhilaratingly energetic female presence. Disney set themselves a challenge of branching out female role models into 'boy films' in hope that they enjoy the movie just as much with a girl, and hopefully widen their audience to reach little girls. With her energy and excitement, Cruz is the affable addition to the cars series we all deserved.
Cars 3 may not catch the heart of many but it has certainly caught mine. It's easy to go the route of a kids film and conclude with an ending everyone wanted but realistically this is Pixar! It sells itself as a high tech adventure in which McQueen must compete with the technologically advanced rookies - and if so this would-be a wholly different outcome. Cars 3 stays true to the original, exploring the true means of racing rather than just the gadgets and gismos ; not only the poignant story of Doc Hudson is finally told but the story of Lightning McQueen the series has struggled to accomplish. Smart, sentimental and a beautiful narrative. Cars 3 is another well deserved thread into the pixar tapestry.
I am going to give Cars 3:
War for the Planet of the Apes is directed by Matt Reaves. After a devastating loss, Caesar (Andy Serkis) faces off against the driven and barbaric Colonel (Woody Harrelson), in his attempts to avenge ape kind.
A near masterpiece - and certainly no monkeying around. Reaves has concluded the apes saga with a tour de force of epic old school Hollywood style execution. The beautiful delivery of Serkis' performance, is made possible through the richly talented screen writing that runs through the film. Reaves captures a classic Vietnam war style in a post apocalyptic movie set decades in the future, the suspense is steadily built around the quieter moments of the movie and doesn't just rely on blockbuster action to keep the pulse racing. With snowy peaks and a jungle ambush opening - Apes emphasises the visual and structural impact old Hollywood still has on movies today.
War for the Apes widens the lens onto more ape personalities in this third entry. In difference to its predecessor, we are given a range of characters rather than the standard good ape, bad ape. Maurice guides Caesar through his journey of vengeance as has memorable interactions with the mute human girl Nova. Luca offers a different set of emotions, providing affable interactions with little Nova and offering genuinely heartfelt moments.
What is most integral about each little but hugely significant scene is how the ape characters are truly told through their emotions. The Apes series is constantly on the cusp of overly simplifying everything as Caesar could just as well tell the audience the apes intentions, stripping away the emotional heft of each detailed ape scene. So much is told with so few words; sure there is millions of dollars worth of motion capture, but the little dialog used between the apes emphasises the growth of their characters across the three movies.
There is of course the underlying theme of earth reverting back to its old ways as nature takes control, and in one intense scene between Serkis and balding Harrelson the whole Ape/Human dynamic is exposed. A layered narrative naturally weaves a sub plot into the story, involving both apes and human characters - ultimately proving Colonel has more depth than perhaps originally imagined. For an incredibly dark movie, Reaves takes a leap of faith adding a comic relief. Though it shouldn't, it somehow works, offering a few good laughs without loosing focus on the main bulk of the story.
War for the Planet of the Apes boasts phenomenal visuals and magnificent acting mixed with a complex yet easy enough to follow story. Reaves capture the emotional significance of the apes, and underlines what the series - since 68- has always really been about. With its brilliant range of non speaking acting and the exhilarating yet thought provokinhg finale, War for the Planet of the Apes visualises a uncomfortably believable look into a world we hope will never to come.
War for the Planet of the Apes:
Spider-Man Homecoming is directed by Jon Watts and stars Tom holland as the third incarnation of everyone's favourite web head. In this first MCU spider-man inclusion we see Peter struggle to settle back into a normal life after the events of civil war. After a new villain that goes by the name of Vulture begins to harness and sell alien weaponry to the villainous thugs of New York - Peter must learn to balance his life between school and Spider-Man.
A sharp spin on the Marvel formula. Amongst all the action - and somewhat hammy avengers tie in - Homecoming manages to create an entirely different look into the personal life of Spider-Man. Watts focuses on the life of Peter Parker and how everyday things impact the character. With huge reference to all time greats - The Breakfast Club and most dominantly Ferris Bueller's Day Off - this is an incredibly John Hughes inspired story.
Homecoming escapes almost all similarities between spidey's previous entries and other flicks within the Marvel crowd. Classical Spider-Man elements and abilities are stripped straight from the comics: his web wings and spider signal - things nobody has ever seen associated with the character on screen. The simple but well structured plot feeds back straight back to raw, authentic spider-man.
In many ways what truly makes this coming of age story is the ambition of both the director and writers. To suit a more contemporary audience, Homecoming changes the game, bravely adjusting the characters to achieve a widespread cast of diversity. Flash Thompson, Ned, Michelle, Shocker: every new and old spidey character are each looked at from a different angle. Whilst it may take a bit of time getting used to for major comic fans, each actor performs effortlessly, helping build the blossoming teen vibe it sets out to be. Marisa Tomei plays wonderfully as the warm hearted, surprisingly trendy Aunt May, and the newly invented love interest Liz Allen serves as a sweet and down to earth distraction from any potential Mary Jane/ Gwen Stacy re hash.
Though its primary Washington Monument and Ferry action scenes feel incredibly refreshing - and as expected visually dazzling. It doesn't feel as if Watts is trying to create a film in which Spider-Man is facing off the big leagues (Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy). The reason Homecoming is so ambitious is how grounded Spider-Man is, it takes a whole lot of guts to rein in what is already one of the biggest superhero of all time. Homecoming delivers our down to earth, friendly neighbourhood spider-man we all know and love rather than a camped out spectacular spider-man - as previously seen. This is of course buoyed by Holland's charismatic, breakthrough performance. He presents our best interpretation of the nerdy teen who is not only endearing but honours Uncle Ben's with 'great power comes great responsibility', having the heart and charism to win us all over.
From the opening, as Spidey swings in to help the people of Queens, the tone is pretty much set. The shear dedication of Peter makes for a warm and relatable story. Iron Man is utilised in a way we haven't yet seen, teaching peter what it truly means to be a hero. Watts relishes into the world of Spider-Man, he takes a modern, distinctive spin on the superhero genre - swaying towards teens rather than just young kids and adults. Quick, quirky, colourful and down right fun, Homecoming is a sharp, hipper offering from the MCU- that following its revealing ad campaign packs enough easter eggs and surprises to please all.
I am going to give Spider-Man Homecoming:
Baby Driver is directed by Edgar Wright and stars Ansel Elgort, Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey and Jamie Foxx. After working as a get away driver for criminal mastermind Spacey, Baby yearns to start a new life with love-from-afar diner waitress Lily James. After being roped back into the violent heist world however, will he be able to put a stop to it all?
Pedal down, shades on and headphones in - Baby Driver is the year's most exhilarating ride. Straight from the opening pre-credit heist scene the pin is immediately and explosively dropped. Wright's slick musical mixing is a crucial way of illustrating this hypnotic world of fast cars and crime. Music is not only perfectly used to choreograph the action but is heavily used to build mood and atmosphere between the characters. Director Wright proves in spades that movies can be fuelled by a sweet soundtrack if used properly.
Despite its ad campaign, Baby Driver requires more than just one of your senses. It may sound like an all ears experience however the flawless style is largely complimented by Wright's surprisingly picturesque cinematography. Though the film is mainly set around downtown Atlanta, Wright manages to find the most stunning shots in the least promising places. Who knew some of cinemas most iconic visuals could come from a quaint laundromat or diner? That said, incredibly, its possible to see the influence from previous celebrated offerings Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz
It's clear young Elgort has both hands on the wheel. The fame awaited actor manages to sell his performance through little dialog - much like Moonlight - proving a lot more can be said with fewer words. Across the board, Baby Driver is spread with beautiful character acting. Both Spacey and Hamm play as viciously loveable criminals who are certainly more memorable than one would expect from this speedy adventure.
When it comes to originality, quite frankly Baby Driver breaks the mould. In terms of style, script and acting - unbelievably - it's impossible to truly nail the exact genre this film belongs in. With a surprisingly unpredictable climax Baby Driver offers a range of emotions with a slick, sassy storyline.
In the end Baby Driver is an adrenaline kick of high speed action offering a refreshingly different experience. Its stellar direction, acting and story all make for a fantastically fun time. Brought to life with an iconic style of filming and illustrated by Wright's toe tapping tunes Baby Driver is a truly unmissable adventure.
I am going to give Baby Driver:
Despicable Me 3 is the third outing for the loveable anti-villan Gru who this time around must face the over bearing Balthazar Bratt whilst balancing family life after the discovery of his twin brother Dru.
There's a lot going on, sometimes too much, however the series is once again kept consistent in this bubblegum family romp. Disney have taken the crowd pleasing route in which their storylines are evolving to suit older audiences. Much like its antagonist, Despicable Me 3 has gone old school delivering a classic, Saturday morning cartoon adventure.
Rather than taking two steps back with Minions, DM3 breathes new and exciting life into the franchise. From its incredible character design to its stunning set pieces, we are taken on extravaganza that doesn't require too much thought. Crayon crammed full of colour and hilarious pop culture references, Despicable Me 3 flows just as well as you'd expect a kids film to.
The latest villain on the block is by far the most creative of the three we have received. Helped by some fabulous voice acting from South Park's Trey Parker, Bratt plays as a wonderfully flamboyant - typically one dimensional villain . And there is certainly enough 80's gags to service the parent's needs.
Brought to you by three french directors who's names I can neither spell nor pronounce. Despicable Me 3 rarely falls short, it intelligently picks up on what audiences enjoy and didn't enjoy about previous instalments. The minions are thankfully sidelined in this adventure and allow the film room to be entertaining on its own without relying on fart jokes or bare bottoms. Proving to us what truly makes the series its own isn't the plump yellow creatures but the warmth and humour of its protagonist Gru. Precisely the reason why Minions didn't work.
The film is more like a sequence of shorts that feed into one main plot rather than a structured story. Of course the slight disjointedness may bother the odd cinema goer, but all in all each of the three stories are perfectly enjoyable.
In the end Despicable Me 3 is an energetic, sugar rush of family fun. It smoothly transitions between cute moments of warmth and colourfully fun action. Though it's uncertain how many times Illumination are able to deliver, its animation, creativity and swift humour makes it the best of the series.
I am going to give Despicable Me 3:
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Hi I’m James - a huge welcome to my film blog! I started this site just after my 14th birthday and have been bringing you my own take on the hottest box office arrivals and many art house triumphs ever since.