Tag Archives: John Goodman

Speed Racer Review

Bright, camp and colourful, Speed Racer has a strong sense of style to its choreography. Its confidence is varied and entertaining, and it makes this adaptation of the Mach GoGoGo franchise an infectiously good film. Colour bounces around the screen, like The Cat in the Hat but filtered down into likeable, bitesize chunks. A kid with an obsessed passion is overwhelmed by the outside world and what Lilly and Lana Wachowski present is the imagination of a child developed on-screen. That is, at least, a formidable excuse for how awful the CGI can look at times. It is only in the real world that it looks horrendous. To look over that is necessary when engaging with the fast-paced hijinks of the imaginative Speed Racer.  

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Ratchet & Clank Review

After studying him so thoroughly and with awe during his time as the eponymous second president, John Adams, it is surprising, somewhat, to see Paul Giamatti crop up here in Ratchet & Clank. How bold he must feel believing in this project. We cannot blame him alone though, for he is the best part of this Kevin Munroe and Jericca Cleland-directed piece. He is the best part of many projects, but it is a shame that he is so prevalent here, for Ratchet & Clank is a dire scenario that pits its protagonists against enemies and evils that feel fundamentally broken, fitting into the humour, which is put before the narrative.  

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10 Cloverfield Lane Review

Are we to truly believe the apocalypse around us if a madman living in a bunker tells us the world has ended? No questions asked, hunker down and thrive underground with a selection of VHS tapes and a sufficient amount of canned soup. Director Dan Trachtenberg hunches down and hides away from the apocalypse. 10 Cloverfield Lane may not have much to do with the original Cloverfield beyond panic on the streets of America, but it is the rapid genre change and pacing decisions that make this such an impressive sequel. It is barely even a sequel. Moving so far away from the core elements of handheld horror at the heart of the original, 10 Cloverfield Lane fashions out its own strand of tension.  

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Bee Movie Review

Albert Camus once said: “Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.” My mind, ravaged by alcohol and deprived of rest, associated this quote with the rise, fall, and second coming of Barry B. Benson (Jerry Seinfeld). Bee Movie follows Benson’s struggle as he simply tries to fit in. He is teased by the outer world of the hive and what it has to offer. You could say he is not “beeing” the ideal bee. Bee Movie is now a great meme machine and a culturally notorious piece for a generation, not through quality, but because of character and heart. It is difficult to evaluate the true merits of innovation and craftsmanship here. Everyone is quick to mock a 150 million dollar movie until they realise that’s the budget for Bee Movie, a movie about bees reclaiming their rights and their honey.

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Kong: Skull Island Review

It is not often we receive an adaptation worthy of our time. We have not received one for the King of the Jungle in close to ninety years. Kong: Skull Island, initially impressed me. Popcorn entertainment applied thickly and with real grace to the big screen. How fast our memories fade. But what was it about this piece from Jordan Vogt-Roberts that I had initially liked? Simply put, the Vietnam historian within me was compelled by the setting and build-up, and I was spurred on by a love for the strong actors found in this ensemble. It is not often you get to see John Goodman and Samuel L. Jackson together, and I was not going to let a pesky Monsterverse shtick stand in my way of seeing strong supporting performances. 

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True Stories Review

A return to a small town in Texas wishing to celebrate their specialness was inevitable. True Stories is an infectious piece of great fun. But, upon returning to it, it is clear to see that director and musician David Byrne is taking aim at the quality of life and, by extension, the quality of people. Oddities of the world all convene at one point, growing up alongside each other. A believable, yet eccentric tale of consumerism and community. How the two interlink is just as important as the characters Byrne’s direction and writing brings to life, with a backdrop of good music and great technical aspects bringing this scathingly good condemnation of tabloid living to life.

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Matinee Review

For me, John Goodman can do no wrong. He’s a miraculous actor and has a superb screen presence. The ability to take on any sort of role, from deranged shut-in during 10 Cloverfield Lane to his leading role looking for love in True Stories, he can do no wrong. Well, almost no wrong, The Gambler is still fresh in my mind. But the reason I open with praise for Goodman is that Matinee very much survives on his name, and even though he’s not front and centre, it’s good to have him in this 90s Joe Dante piece. Right at the height of his powers here, Dante teams up with Goodman to bring us a wholly brilliant experience, combining their love for the movies with their fear of imminent global destruction thanks to the Cuban Missile Crisis. 

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Flight Review

I’ve always thought it odd that Robert Zemeckis, a man who crafted such classics of the 80s and early 90s, could spiral so rapidly into films that were lifeless hack jobs, failing to capture anything close to the magic he could put to screen in his glory days. Perhaps he became a parody of himself somewhere along the way, for all his Oscar success with Tom Hanks, he soon found himself recycling the same style and formula in the hopes of bagging more favour with those in high places with the Academy Awards. Flight feels like his strongest effort at nudging himself back into the public eye, with Denzel Washington taking centre stage, but this pairing fails to take flight.  

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The Emperor’s New Groove Review

I’m probably heartless for not loving this movie. Yes, yes, I know, it’s very funny, Kronk pulls the wrong lever and so on. Incredibly droll and a sure-fire knee-slapper, but The Emperor’s New Groove isn’t much more than that. On the surface, it feels like most of the other Disney products. That same animation style, the resigned leading characters who trample their way through a relatively well-paced story in just over an hour, it’s what we’ve all come to expect. But this is one of the few outputs from Disney’s animated branch that I did enjoy. Not to the extent I would’ve expected, but wholesome in its content and crafted well enough to display versatility from a company that have otherwise applied the same plot tropes repeatedly for over six decades.

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