Film Round-Up: Ma, Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Ad Astra

Ok let’s get on with it.

Ma

A bunch of teenagers are invited to drink and party in Octavia Spencer’s basement, not realising that she has an ulterior motive. This is a pretty standard horror-thriller, it has traits of both, that make it pretty entertaining but nothing special. Octavia Spencer is having a lot of fun as the villain, playing coy and innocent before going into straight up lunacy by the end. But it has very little else other than that. The more I think about the story and the steps it takes to get where it wants to go, the less it makes sense. The teenagers are the same band of teenage stereotypes so roundly mocked in Cabin in the Woods and the romance has so little chemistry it might as well be a physics class. But it’s still pretty fun and if you want a bit of schlock to get drunk watching, this’ll do.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Lots of big monsters get released into the world and all the humans run about hoping Godzilla can save them. Got to give it to this movie, it did one thing. It made me appreciate Aaron Taylor-Johnson in the previous movie. He was blander than beige paint but he at least was able to carry us through the plot with a very simple emotive hook of him trying to get back to his family. This movie tries to expand the lore with Monarch, a sinister company that has been researching the ‘titans’ for decades, and honestly I couldn’t care less. Because there’s so much rubbish going off with the humans and that they really try hard to make it more complex than it should be, you just turn off and begin to drowse off. The monster fights of course wake you up and while there’s nothing memorable about them other than some cool shots, I can’t lie and say I didn’t enjoy them and that it gave the movie a big leg-up. I’m very sad about this to be honest.

Ad Astra

Brad Pitt is asked to go on a mission to find his father who went missing decades ago on a mysterious expedition to Neptune to find evidence of alien life. For a while, this movie doesn’t click. Maybe because it’s rather slow paced or because of Pitt’s constant, irritating, voice over. But when it does, it really is something special. For me, it was when we got to Mars and the movie settled into being this big scale examination on the effect of isolation and loneliness, the defences we put up to prevent emotional pain and how most of the time, they don’t really work. This is all possible because of some stunning direction from James Gray and one of the best performances Brad Pitt will ever do in his life. Honestly, the scene where he goes off script in the long distance radio room is special and will see him gather many award nominations come the end of the year. But that voice over, wow is it bad. It feels like an idiot track, explaining all the subtleties the movie is doing and making the film feel rather pretentious. I still love this movie and think everyone should watch it but if they simply removed the voice over, it would be the best film of the year.

Former Head of Movies for Screen Critics. Film Reviews now hosted on Medium.

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A Guy Who Talks About Movies

A Guy Who Talks About Movies

Former Head of Movies for Screen Critics. Film Reviews now hosted on Medium.

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