Mini Movie Reviews

Over the years I’ve posted various brief movie reviews on social media. Decided to trawl back through and collect the bulk of them for my own amusement. Starting at the most recent.


Recently watched The Menu, a treatise on perfect being the enemy of good and the forces both internal and external that drive you there. Set in the world of haute cuisine with lavish servings of pretentiousness and homicide, I’ll never hear the word degustation again without a shiver running up my occipital.

Jan 08, 2023

So just watched Violent Night and it’s a great Christmas movie. Maybe even better than Die Hard.

Dec 27, 2022

So I thought Nope was pretty good right up until the final act when a… creative decision… in the visuals had me going, “What the? Did I miss something?” which of course totally distracted me from the end of the movie. Looking at discussion online, it appears I didn’t miss anything, it was a total non sequitur. There were one or two story points along the way that didn’t quite make sense to me, but they were minor in an otherwise quite enjoyable movie. This sudden visual change (that I’m talking around to avoid spoilers) had, “Nope,” become more of a, “Yeah, Nah.”

Aug 27, 2022

Movie poster for Come From Away

Just finished watching Come from Away which was excellent. If I ever get the chance to see it live I will. Very cleverly uses twelve cast members to tell the stories of hundreds with humour and poignancy.

Jun 05, 2022

So The Batman was quite disappointing. Slowly paced in an attempt to be moody. A police procedural with lots of police, but light on the procedural. For me, it adds little to the body of work around this character – and its worst sin: it’s boring.

Apr 24, 2022

“Why do I want to know about your son? Because he killed mine.” Mass is a movie that doesn’t try and give answers, but instead explores the spaces left afterwards. I suspect I will need a second viewing to better appreciate its nuances.

Apr 14, 2022

The Outfit is a wonderful, twisty little slow-burn of a movie.

Apr 12, 2022

Really enjoyed this musical take on the well known Cinderella story. Fun song choices, a fabulous godmother, and just a bit of snark made it stand out.

“Why we are spending money on catapults when we have so many already? It really just benefits the catapult makers.”

Sep 19, 2021

So I decided to watch Interstellar again and enjoyed it more than I ever did previously. I think I’ve gained sufficient distance from the experience of watching it in the theatre with my ears being blasted out, combined with inaudible dialogue. Yes the soundtrack is very mediocre (to put it kindly, it could have been so much better) but services the movie well enough, and subtitles fix the dialogue problem (although I’m wondering if I have a remixed version as it was a lot clearer this time around.) Good movie despite some flaws.

Dec 20, 2020

In Tenet, Christopher Nolan continued the penchant he started with Interstellar for terrible sound design, including dialogue so muddy it was not comprehensible a lot of the time. At least the music score was better. But inaudible dialogue did make it hard to follow a complex movie with complex ideas about time travel. Overall it was very good. I will need to watch it again with subtitles (although it is entirely possible I already have.)

Nov 29, 2020

Just watched and enjoyed The Old Guard. Good fun if you don’t ask too many questions like, “Would they die if you dropped them through a wood-chipper?” or, “Would she have to stab her earrings though her ear lobe every time?” Kind of like the perennial, “How does Superman shave?”

The only spot where I really lost my suspension of disbelief was during a big gunfight in a lab. They are ducking around all these cylinders labelled flammable and such and nothing went boom.

Jul 12, 2020

Movie poster for Togo

Togo is a surprisingly good movie about a sled dog run to retrieve serum for an diphtheria outbreak in an isolated Alaskan town in the middle of a huge storm. From what I’ve read, hues closely to the true story upon which it is based.

Jan 12, 2020

If Frozen had been written by an Australian, the main anthem wouldn’t have been called, “Let it go,” it would have been, “Build a bridge and get over it.”

Dec 04, 2019

So Rambo: Last Blood was every bit as bad as I expected it to be, which made it gruesomely enjoyable in an odd sort of way.

Dec 02, 2019

Okay, so just saw the new version of The Lion King and I thought visually it was excellent. A lot of the criticism I read was that in going for the visual realism the characters just didn’t emote like the animated version. I thought they emoted fine. My issue? The voice cast just wasn’t a patch on the original. Where was the evil relish of Jeremy Irons as Scar? Or the wonderful full-throated baboon cachinnations of Rafiki as portrayed by Robert Guillaume? This performance was… restrained. Flat. The only one that even came close was the guy who voiced Mufasa. And how could they cut the line, “They call me ‘MR. PIG’!”? I think the tonal changes lost a lot of the humour beats and cherished significant moments. I want the visuals of 2019 with the performance of 1994.

Oct 11, 2019

So John Wick 3 (Parabellum) was a lot better than the second movie. I’d say the first movie was the best, at the very least by the virtue of being the first. The third movie is a close second though, with the second movie a distant third speck on the horizon.

Aug 25, 2019

Really like the movie, The Martian (and if you did too, you should absolutely read the book it was based on) but one thing irritates the hell out of me every time. He is supposedly on starvation rations, but every third scene he is eating something. Honestly he should weigh as much as me by the end of the movie. End rant.

May 12, 2019

If you have not seen the previous movies, then Glass will be opaque. Overall, I liked it.

Jan 25, 2019

“What’s the plan?”

“Cause a distraction, break your people out, and save the fucking planet. That’s the plan.”

Occupation wasn’t a bad little Australian alien invasion movie, but a weak ending and an overall struggle to find its tone made it ultimately unsatisfying.

Jul 21, 2018

I was really on the fence about watching Annihilation, but thought it was pretty good in the end. My reluctance was because I really hated almost everything about the book, from the style of writing, to not giving the characters names, to being all mysterious with no reveal at all by the end. Reading a review of the movie that mentioned it was only loosely based on the book, and took things in a different direction, I decided to give it a go - and all the things I disliked about the book were absent from the movie. You understood the broad strokes of what was going on from the very start, the visual style was very well done and the acting was excellent (with the notable exception of Jennifer Jason Leigh. I don’t know what she was going for, but if it was wooden to the point of ossification, she nailed it.) Overall, a solid, understated, watchable film.

Mar 16, 2018

So overall The Cloverfield Paradox was pretty good. It would have been a lot better if it had stayed as a stand-alone movie (as originally scripted as “The God Particle”). The expectations put on it for being part of the franchise did it a disservice. Also, the dumbest parts of the movie were the ham-fisted bits trying to tie it in to the Cloverfield mythology.

Feb 05, 2018

So even with the whole Statesman plot thread, the new Kingsman: The Golden Circle movie was pretty good. Mercifully it turned out Channing Tatum only had a small role.

Oct 07, 2017

So Atomic Blonde was really good. The plot is a little convoluted in places so you need to pay attention. There was one fight scene that went for almost ten minutes in what looked like one take - which ended up distracting me as I started looking for cuts. Turns out it was over forty takes with bits of CGI to stitch them together. I tell you this now as a public service so you can just enjoy it without getting distracted like I did.

Aug 11, 2017

So War for the Planet of the Apes was really good. Read just about any review and they will tell you. Two things, however, drove me to distraction throughout the entire movie. (Potential spoilers ahead, read at your own peril.)

Woody Harrelson’s character, The Colonel, is so bad-ass he can wear his sunglasses at night without walking into things. Kids, do not try that at home except in a well lit room. Shaving his head with a straight razor in front of hundreds of his men during reveille, without a mirror, yeah very manly. Sure, he was a little cuckoo, but he had to make some horrible decisions in the past that pretty much broke him, so that made sense. But wearing sunglasses in the dark? Utter insanity.

The other thing, and this was what really distracted me throughout the movie, was that Caesar almost exclusively spoke instead of signing (except in situations where the noise would likely get him killed), whereas all the other apes of his community signed almost exclusively, eschewing speech even if it was more practical, such as communicating with someone who didn’t know sign language. There was even one scene where Caesar was looking off into the distance through binoculars, and the ape next to him signed something and he responded. (Verbally of course.)

In the second movie it was handled much more rationally where all the apes, including Caesar, mostly preferred to sign, but would speak, sometimes even just a word or two, for emphasis or because it was impractical to sign (like if you had your hands full or the other person wasn’t looking at you). The change in the third movie was stupid and internally inconsistent and distracted me the whole time.

So yes, definitely recommend seeing the movie if you enjoyed the previous ones or you think you’ll like this one. And if now these above quibbles distract you too, at least they don’t have the little black circles in the top right corner to signal a reel change any more. That distracted me for years after someone pointed it out to me.

Jul 29, 2017

Watching The Belko Experiment has totally put me off working in an office cubicle ever again.

Jun 09, 2017

So chapter two of John Wick was fairly disappointing. Whereas the first movie had extremely well choreographed and unique fight scenes, the second movie had the same three fight scenes repeated several times throughout the movie. Though I do still like his predilection for head shots just to make sure. The plot also just had no drive to it, and was sharply nonsensical in a few places. Less of both style and substance than chapter one.

May 25, 2017

Logan was brutal and pretty awesome.

Apr 02, 2017

The Girl with All the Gifts is not another mindless zombie movie. (See what I did there?) Lots of well regarded actors such as Paddy Considine, Gemma Arterton, and Glenn Close give nuanced performances without having to chew on the scenery.

Jan 23, 2017

I seem to be enjoying a run of, if not outright horror movies, then some thrillers that skate very close, lately. Just finished watching The Invitation, which had a really good, small budget, slow-burn build up of paranoia.

Watched Hush a couple of weeks ago, which is definitely in the horror genre about a deaf women trapped in her home, which was pretty good apart from one stupid bit in the middle.

May 09, 2016

So finally caught up with Batman v[sic] Superman. I think the kindest word for it is contrived. Pretty good action scenes, but pretty scattershot with everything else. Weird dream sequences that made me wonder if Batman snorts cocaine didn’t help. If, like me, you’re not an avid follower of DC comics, I suspect a lot of stuff in the movie is lost on you. Judging by reactions of avid followers of DC comics, that may have been a blessing.

Apr 25, 2016

So Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny was not bad as sequels go. Amused that the first movie was in Mandarin but the sequel was in English. Funny thing was there was a few Aussie actors in it, and there was no real effort made to match their accent to the other actors, which was a bit jarring.

Mar 25, 2016

10 Cloverfield Lane was a fun, tense little movie (that had no relation whatsoever to its titular predecessor).

Mar 13, 2016

Movie poster for Interstellar

I’m beginning to wonder if Christopher Nolan peaked with Batman Begins and The Prestige. His movies since seem to have lost something (although Inception came close). Interstellar was a great concept, and for the most part enjoyable, but there were two things that really detracted from it greatly. First, Matthew McConaughey’s drawl has become so thick in his recent work that I can barely understand him. I’m beginning to wonder if he’s had a stroke and nobody noticed. Second, the music score in this was awful. It was so loud it drowned out dialogue at times, and had all the subtlety of a televangelist.

Nov 15, 2014

Enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy. It reminded me a lot of Serenity (Firefly) but more light-hearted and less acerbic. Okay, maybe not so much like Serenity, but it did remind me of it. Honest.

Aug 09, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was only okay when it could have been great. They jettisoned almost all character development, world building or subtlety in favour of throwing as many caricature bad-guys in as they could. The previous series waited until the third movie to go that route. Honestly, it was like something out of a comic book.

Apr 20, 2014

Captain America 2 was pretty good, although they did their best to try and ruin it with choppy camera work during the fight scenes.

Apr 11, 2014

There was one point during Man of Steel where I thought, “Yep, Edna Mode was right.” But overall very enjoyable.

Jul 10, 2013

Showed the kids one of the fight scenes from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Never seen their little eyes bulge so far out of their heads. They reckon it beats Ninja Turtles, hands down.

Oct 08, 2010

Just saw Avatar. Very good - no Ewoks! 9/10

Dec 28, 2009

Saw Wolverine, which made the cut (sorry). Only thing that threw me is they go though all this carnage yet their cloths remain immaculate.

May 16, 2009

Just watched the new The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) It is both good and original, but the parts that were original were not good, and the parts that were good were not original.

Apr 28, 2009