All Quiet On The Western Front (2022) Review

Quick Synopsis: A German language adaptation of the classic Remaruqe book of the same name.

This was expected to do good business come award season, after watching it, I can see why. It’s very much an “awards” film. It has some truly beautiful shots, it’s an adaptation of a book, and it’s about “things”. It’s definitely an “important” film, and superbly made. The performances are near perfect and they will definitely make you feel emotions, and will also make you think about the horrors of war and how unfairly young lives can be snuffed out so worthlessly on behalf of others.

But will you enjoy it? It’s all well and good being a technical masterpiece, but I will always favour something I enjoy over something I’m impressed by. Avatar: The Way Of Water (or to give a name nobody else would call it: ATWOW) was a technical masterpiece, whilst I Blame Society was weirdly shot and had multiple audio issues, but I don’t go around telling people they need to watch Avatar, whilst I have annoyingly told everybody to go watch I Blame Society (which I will continue to do until every single one of you watches it). This isn’t quite up there with ATWOW in terms of technical brilliance, but it’s not down there with how much I didn’t enjoy it. I did like this film, I just don’t need to ever watch it again.

Weirdly, despite being a deeply important film, and dealing with pertinent themes, it’s not going to stick in my memory. There are moments which will, a few moments which I’ll be able to tell people about as an example of why this film is good, but overall? You could show me clips from it and I wouldn’t recognise it, I don’t even think I could point out any of the cast in a line-up (so if they do commit a crime, I’d be a terrible eyewitness, but don’t commit crimes).

I’ll admit, I haven’t read the book, or seen any of the other adaptations of the book, so I can’t judge it based on that. I can’t, others can, and those who are, are not being kind. A lot of the vitriol towards AQOTWF (pronounced Aquotwoof for those making notes) comes from Germany, where the book is required reading in many schools, and as such, is a country very familiar with it. The general consensus seems to be that Edward Berger was so “horny for an Oscar” (direct quote) that he missed the themes of the book. There are particular issues with the way the film ends. In the original book, it ends with a notice of the main character’s death, saying “He fell in October 1918, on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole front, that the army report confined itself to the single sentence: all quiet on the western front.”. In this? He dies as part of a moving cog in the machinery of a loud combat scene. Not only does that betray the themes of the original work, it means the title isn’t even relevant anymore in a way that I haven’t seen since I Am Legend.

There are other issues with it, this AQOTWF is strangely anti-French, distractingly so at times. A lot of the scenes which haven’t been carried over from the original texts are misdeeds of German soldiers, their watches being stolen by their own people in military hospitals for example. This, combined with all the scenes of French soldiers brutally massacring Germans makes it a strange watch. Even the ceasefire scene is mainly focused on how Germany wants peace but France won’t accept it. Not only is the whole thing anti-French, it also doesn’t feel like a message that a film should be putting out at this time. Germany was an invading force during this conflict, so the whole thing feels like what a Russian film talking about the current conflict in Ukraine would be like: “the invading armies were all kind and wonderful, the natives were terrible violent sociopaths”.

It’s a shame, without the changes, I feel I would enjoy this and appreciate it more. But art isn’t released in a vacuum, the context of the general world influences opinion. And the more I think about AQOTWF, the more disappointed by it. It could have been great, it should have been, instead, it’s just very good but never necessary.

The Pale Blue Eye (2022)

Quick Synopsis: Detective Augustus Landor investigates a series of grisly murders with the help of a young Edgar Allan Poe

I suppose it had to happen. I’ve had a run of really good films so far, with every single one worth watching again. So I suppose it’s inevitable that eventually I’d get a film I didn’t like in 2023. It’s a shame, but this is probably the longest I’ve been into a year before that happened. Also, the first Netflix film I watched this year which just goes to show something, I’m not sure what, though.

So why doesn’t this work? It should, it has a really stacked cast. Look at the names involved: Christian Bale, Toby Jones, Timothy Spall. What connects those names? All British. The film location? 1830’s New York. Which (and I’ve checked a map), is not Britain. I get sometimes actors play different nationalities, and it’s usually not a big deal. But for this many members of the cast to not be American feels a bit weird. This could have been a great showcase for young American talent. The biggest non-British performer is Gillian Anderson, and she’s almost British as she’s spent large portions of her life here. Just to check, America still has actors, right? Or are they just depending on comedians now?

At times it’s beautiful. The location lends itself well to stylistic shots of landscapes, and it suits a story like this. The director, Scott Cooper, also directed Antlers, which you may remember I was not a fan of. And if you don’t remember, here’s the link anyway, warning, I do go off on a weird tangent for……well pretty much all of it.

The other issue? It’s hard to get through. Not because of content or strangeness, but because at times it is painfully dull. Ultimately, it comes down a poor script. It doesn’t know what kind of film it wants to be. Does it want to be a gothic horror? A murder mystery? The most annoying thing about the script is how much it fumbles what should be the highlight. The reveal of the murderer towards the end. One, the things that needed to happen are a little hard to believe. There are so many coincidences and weird character decisions. The scene showing the reveal isn’t even exciting. It tells you who the murderer is, then explains the motives, then shows you the murders in flashbacks. We didn’t need a scene of them killing people or approaching them, we know it happened, and we gain nothing from a barely lit shot of someone punching someone and shouting “who else was there?” at someone.

It’s a shame as I really wanted to enjoy this, I was hoping the Poe thing would give the film a sense of intelligence and darkness, as it is, you could replace Poe with anybody and it wouldn’t change the plot much at all.

The Adam Project (2022)

Quick synopsis: After accidentally crash-landing in 2022, time-traveling fighter pilot Adam Reed teams up with his 12-year-old self for a mission to save the future.

Ryan Reynolds and Netflix Originals don’t have the best reputations. Red Notice was thoroughly mediocre, and when I mentioned I was watching 6 Underground, the reaction I got from people on Twitter was one of sympathy. This should be better though, directed by Shawn Levy, who made Free Guy, which was a lot of fun. So this could be awful, or it could be brilliant, either way, it wouldn’t surprise me. So is it worth watching? Kind of. I mean, it’s good, but it’s “streaming good”. By which I mean, it’s good, but not good enough that you want to make an effort. If you had to go to the cinema to watch it, or pay to stream it, you’d be very disappointed. But since it’s on netflix, you’re not paying for this individual film, so you have no financial investment in watching this. That’s for the best as it’s only ever a 7/10. I watched it about a week ago and still can’t remember that much from it.

That’s not to say it’s bad. It’s very funny at times, and whoever decided to cast Walker Scobell as a younger Ryan Reynolds? Give that man a raise. It’s one of the most perfect child castings I’ve seen in a long time, not so much visually, but Scobell absolutely NAILS the mannerisms where even if you weren’t told he was a younger version of Reynolds’ character, you’d know it. Reynolds does his usual, which is all he needs to do in a film like this. I am a massive fan of him but I will freely admit he doesn’t always pick the best films. But when a film he’s in is bad, it’s never because of him. Jennifer Garner and Zoe Saldana feel too inconsequential in this to comment on. It’s strange as they both play characters who have the potential to add a lot of emotion; the main character’s partner, who was declared dead so it’s the first time he’s seen her in years, and his mother, who he regrets being rude to whilst she was alive. Both of those have massive potential to be heartbreaking, but they are underdeveloped by the story. Jennifer Garner, especially, seems to disappear from the film after a short while, only meeting her future son once, and not really having too in-depth a conversation with them. Catherine Keener is her usual delightful self, she’s going through a real purple patch in terms of roles, and this continues that run, I’m now at the point where I can tell the difference between her Mary Steenburgen, and Kathryn Hahn which considering that in reality they look absolutely nothing alike, isn’t worth bragging about. Again, she should be given more to do. She’s also unfortunate that she is subject to CGI de-aging technology, and it doesn’t quite look right. Wouldn’t it have been easier to age up future-her with make-up rather than de-age with CGI? Probably cheaper too. Feels like they CGI de-aged just because they could, not caring if they could do it well.

The plot? Well, there’s nothing in here that will surprise you. It’s not exactly a film that you’ll struggle to follow, no matter how drunk you are. Time travel stories lend themselves well to narrative trickery and weirdness, and it never really happens in this. It never goes beyond the surface level. That’s fine, not all movies need to be EEAAO, but it is frustrating to see potential wasted like this. This could be fantastic, but it never does anything to stand out. The visuals are only okay, the story is basic, and I can’t even remember the music. Compared to how music is used in similar films like Back To The Future, where certain songs are now impossible to separate from the film, this has nothing. Well, I say nothing, there’s a scene near the end which is damn near perfect. If the rest of the film was as good as that, it would be among the best of the year, as it is, I can already forget I’ve seen it.

The Bubble (2022)

Quick synopsis: The cast and crew of a blockbuster action franchise attempt to shoot a film while quarantining at a posh hotel

I don’t think I trust Apatow as a writer anymore. The last thing of his I really enjoyed was Trainwreck, and that was something he directed, didn’t write. Other than that, lately, his stuff just seems like it’s all just deleted scenes from other movies. Funny People was far far too long, This Is 40 just seemed kind of cruel, and a lot of times his characters are unsympathetic. Plus he casts like he’s still a young up-and-comer, casting his friends and family whenever he can. I do wish Apatow would stop casting his family members in major roles. I get he wants to see them in it, and he can trust them easily. But I don’t think Iris Apatow was the best choice as one of the main cast. I’m not saying that being Apatow’s daughter is what caused her to get the role, but I have a feeling it was. I really don’t get how she was the best option for the role. Especially when Maria Bakalova was cast in the film in a smaller role. An ensemble-cast film like this means you can’t have any weak links, and having someone as inexperienced as her alongside performers like Karen Gillan, Pedro Pascal, and Keegan-Michael Key just makes her inexperience stand out even more.

But maybe Judd Apatow’s writing saves this? Nope. The whole thing feels like a first draft. It’s really weirdly paced. You’ll have a two-minute scene set during the day, then a short one set at night, and then another one set in the day. It’s just weird and means you don’t get a good grounding of time passing. Time passes so quickly that you don’t really get that feeling of suffocation. It also repeats itself, as well as repeating itself, and worse of all; it repeats itself. There’s a montage of the characters in the second quarantine where some are just drinking and doing drugs, some are going crazy with the quarantine, and some are learning lines. It kind of feels like it should have been shown during the first quarantine section. Would have been a good introduction to the characters, as it is, it’s just confirming personalities we’ve already seen. It’s a repeating of a situation we’ve already seen, and it’s not entertaining to see it again that long into the film. It’s like the whole plot has been brought back to the start. The way that montage ends is weird too, it doesn’t have a definitive end, just cuts to a scene of characters talking, so it makes it seem like those characters are breaking the isolation bubble. It would be very in character for them to do so, and they actually do that, sneaking out (in a scene which either didn’t happen or if it did, was very forgettable).

That’s not the only montage btw, there are quite a few of them, and most of them are pretty bad. It feels like the film is trying to aim itself at the TikTok crowd. It’s trying SO hard to be young and “hip”, that it just comes off like it’s as old-fashioned as someone in their 30s who still uses the word “hip”. Maybe that was done because montages are good ways to show characters quickly, and this film has so many characters that juggling them is difficult. It fails at that, btw. Most of the characters are ridiculously underdeveloped. It doesn’t help that we only see them at their worst, so we don’t really get a sense of who they are. They’re not helped by the dialogue they’re given. “you remember the reviews from your last film Jerusalem Rising”. That is a terrible sentence because it just feels really fake. I don’t think you’d mention the film title, or you’d mention just that. You’d say either “you remember the reviews from your last film”, OR “you remember the reviews from Jerusalem Rising”, it’s weird they mention both. Feels fake. It’s just blatant exposition, and it’s terrible that it’s one of the first lines in the film.

The film also starts with the hotel staff being briefed. They’re the best parts of the film, and if it was focused more on them it would be a better film. It would allow us to see the Hollywood lifestyle from the outside, and get a better view of the madness. As it is, the Hollywood stars are the main characters, so it feels too much like rich people watching other rich people. It’s incredibly toothless as a satire of film-making. It’s the film equivalent of government-approved satire. It doesn’t have a point to make, it’s just surface-level jokes.

On the plus side, I did get a kick out of a character being called Bola, mainly because I called a character that in a script and it’s nice to see a name like that used by actual filmmakers. Most of the cast are good, and the central idea is fine. It also does a good job of setting up the fictional franchise. It has moments where the potential shines through, but they’re quite rare. Really the main issue is one bad piece of casting, and a bad script. So that’s ALL Apatow. If he was replaced, and everything else the same (the casting, the concept etc), it would have the potential to be one of the best of the year. As it is? Bitterly disappointing. Oh, it also has a really awkwardly funny moment with Beck singing a song about dinosaurs. And a Miley Cyrus cover of Blondie.

The Gray Man (2022)

Quick Synopsis: When the CIA’s top asset — his identity known to no one — uncovers agency secrets, he triggers a global hunt by assassins set loose by his ex-colleague.

Bless netflix, they keep trying. The way people consume movies has changed, and netflix, logically, wants a piece of that. Big-budget, loud, explosive blockbusters always sell to the masses, so that’s what they try. They’re not going with small actors and directors either, they’ve roped in Will Smith, Ryan Reynolds, The Rock, Adam Sandler, Scorsese, De Niro etc. But they still can’t quite to the level needed. Yeah, the stuff gets watched by people, but the effects don’t last long. Just compare that to the television shows they’ve done; you don’t need to have watched Stranger Things to be aware of it. Stranger Things, Sandman, House Of Cards etc, they’ve penetrated pop culture in a way that none of the Netflix original movies has managed.

So, does this movie break that underwhelming run? I mean, it’s got Ryan BabyGoose, Chris Evans in full heel mode (and reunited with fellow Knives Out cast member Ana De Armas), it’s based on a successful book (which has sequels, so easy to franchise), and made by the Russo brothers (no, not Vince Russo, even netflix aren’t that stupid), who directed two Captain America movies, and the last two Avengers movies (you may have heard of them). So all pre-watch indicators say that it should be great.

I mean, obviously, it’s not, if a film was that good, I wouldn’t have waited until the third paragraph to let you know. That whole preamble was just to set up the inevitable disappointment. It’s alright, but it’s been less than a week and I’ve already forgotten a lot of what happened. The trouble is it never feels like it has its own identity. Die Hard is “the film in the skyscraper”, John Wick is defined by its stylistic choices. There’s no equivalent way to describe this. I’m not sure how you would define this movie in terms of describing it in a way that makes it stand out (I’m not sure “That Netflix Action Movie” counts). You won’t watch other films in the future and think “ah, they stole that shot from The Gray Man”. You’re not going to hear someone in the future say “I was inspired to get into film-making/writing by watching The Gray Man”. All it does feel like is a tribute to other films. The whole thing feels like a remake of a 90s Harrison Ford film which starred a young Ben Affleck as the villain. A film made in 2022 shouldn’t feel as dated as this does. It is possible to do a spy film, adhere to the tropes, and not feel as 90’s as this one does.

It does have it’s good side; Chris Evans playing an evil prick is always entertaining to see, and Ryan BabyGoose never fails to bring it, De Armas continues to impress but still needs THAT role to take her to the next level. Personal opinion, they messed up on one bit of casting. There’s a character at the start (Sierra Four) who is an assassin who worked for the CIA and gets killed while attempting to expose corruption. Considering the genre, and the pull that the Russo brothers have, they should have had a big name here. A fun cameo to please the audience, instead it’s just some guy. I mean, no disrespect to Callan Mulvey, he’s a talented performer, but it definitely feels like a wasted opportunity.

That’s a good summary of the film really: it’s good, but you really feel it could be better if it cared.

You Are Not My Mother (2021)

Quick synopsis: In a North Dublin housing estate, Char’s mother goes missing. When she returns, there’s something “different” about her.

I will always be a sucker for a slow-burn horror film. Don’t get me wrong, I adore a fast-paced slasher with blood from the outset. But there’s a weird sense of satisfaction I get from watching the closing section of a slow-burner, when everything comes together and the tension starts ramping up. This is one of those, it’s not the quickest film, not going to be one where you’re sitting there thrilled throughout. But it is one where you’ll be watching and enjoying. It’s the cinematic equivalent of when you read a book by the fire, and you’re so hooked that you finish the whole book in one night. It’s genuinely a compelling watch. It’s set in Ireland, the quiet modern world providing a lovingly simple backdrop to the haunting narrative. That’s the best location for this story, I feel if it was in a large city it wouldn’t have the cosy familiarity that it needs to work. It would also require a different type of audio, you’d need the sound of the hustle and bustle of city life, so you couldn’t get the silence and the darkness that this needs for the narrative to breathe.

That’s the best way to talk about one of the possible downsides of this film, it is slow, and that won’t be for everyone. There are also some plot points which are started, but not really closed. I know that closure is unrealistic, but there are some things which feel like they’re forgotten. Trouble is, I’m not entirely sure how you could have closed them without disrupting the narrative. It’s really tricky, and really picky of me to point out. You also get the feeling that this might work better as a short, it does struggle to fill the length sometimes. There are also moments where characters don’t question things which they probably should, it feels like this is just because if they asked questions and investigated, the film would be over quicker.

This is Kate Dolan’s debut feature as both a writer and a director. She’s found success in her shorts, creating the award-winning Catcalls back in 2017. There’s been a lot of promising debuts over the last few years, particularly in horror, especially from female creators. Some have shown promise (Umma), some have shown potential but aren’t quite there yet (How To Deter A Robber), and some instantly get you into the creator (Censor). This is up there towards the higher quality, I won’t exactly rush out and have a NEED to watch everything she has done, but if I’m watching a trailer and I see the words “By Kate Dolan”, it will be the deciding factor about the film. She has a great talent at narrative misdirection, but then making it seem like the ending was the only possible way, almost like it’s mocking you for thinking one thing was true. Her directing is pretty much spot on too. She knows when to inject suspense into a scene, and when to have it play like a drama. The biggest compliment I can give her as a director is it’s a horror movie that doesn’t feel like a horror movie. That’s a weird point I know, so I’ll just explain it. Often things in horror movies only happen because they’re horror movies: there are people just walking around a house while creepy music plays and they’re terrified. But if you think of it from their reality, they don’t hear the music, so what are they scared of? It makes you very aware you’re watching a movie. This plays out like a drama, so when the horror moments happen, the grounding in reality that the film has established means the horror feels real. These aren’t characters in a horror movie, these are real characters who are living, and are having a horror movie happen to them.

Her work is aided by the performances, the central 3 (Ingrid Craigle, Hazel Doupe, and Carolyn Bracken) work so well together that I could watch a film that’s just the three of them in a room talking for 90 minutes. Carolyn deserves special mention purely because of how physically demanding her role as the mother (and “mother”) is. She technically plays two roles and carries herself differently in both. There’s one scene in particular where she shines and is a great example of her talent. She’s dancing around the room, very graceful and elegant. But then it gets weird, and the dancing has a strange, almost violent energy to it. It is still elegant, but it’s a violent elegance that is beautiful to watch but also terrifying.

That’s how I sum up this film: terrifying elegance. The biggest disappointment is that it’s on Netflix and I didn’t get to see it at the cinema.

Look at Paramount+ Launch Day

Yup, another streaming service has launched. Like most streaming services, it’s been available in the US for a while now, launching shows exclusively on that service, and then wondering why people in other countries are illegally watching it instead of waiting months and ignoring spoilers online while trying to be part of the fandom. There’s a lot of streaming services available now, so is another one really worth getting? I’ll provide the key points and let you decide.


Pretty cheap really, especially compared to other services. It’s either £6.99 a month, or you can save £14 a year by buying an annual membership for £69.90. Here are the others for comparison:

Disney+: £7.99p/m or £79.90 a year.

Amazon Prime: £7.99p/m or £79 a year.

Netflix: Between £6.99 and £15.99p/m

Mubi: £9.99p/m or £95.88 a year

Apple+: £4.99p/m

BritBox: £5.99p/m

Like most services, Paramount+ does have a 7day free trial


The service is available in the usual places:


Phone (iPhone and android)

Apple TV

Android TV




Samsung TV

Sky Q

Sky Glass

For all of them, check your model is compatible. Have seen a few people say firestick version doesn’t work, just autoruns free trial and can’t set up profiles for parental controls, and can’t search. There is one thing missing though: consoles. Xbox and Playstations have been marketed as “entertainment devices”, so a large streaming service not being available cuts out a lot of customers, especially when other streaming services are available. I think they will be launching a console-friendly version soon, but to not have one at launch is a bit of a letdown.

User Interface

Do you like the layout of Disney+? Then you’ll like this, the layout is near identical. I get why, having something completely new could be disorientating to users. But it does mean that it lacks a visual identity.


This is the weakest part of the service so far. The content is not quite up to the level of the others. This ties into the user interface too. Like Disney+, they have tabs at the top:

  • Paramount+ Originals and Exclusives
  • Showtime
  • Comedy Cental
  • MTV
  • Nickelodeon
  • Nick JR.
  • Smithsonian Channel

There’s just not enough content at the moment for some of those categories. Nick Jr. has less than 30 things in that section, Showtime has 31, Comedy Central has a laughable SIX. You don’t need a separate channel just for 6 items.

It’s got some okay stuff in terms of TV shows, but most of it is stuff that has only recently come off other streaming services (or in some cases is still there): South Park, Cheers, Broad City.

On the plus side there are quite a few good movies on there, but there are also some weird omissions. It has one Halloween movie, the sixth one. That’s almost worst than not having any at all. I was excited by all the Friday The 13th movies there, but it doesn’t. It has them up to and including the eighth one, so it doesn’t have Jason X, Jason Goes To Hell, Freddy Vs. Jason, or the remake. The last two make sense as they’re not essential to the franchise, but the other two are a bit weird. Also missing, the third one. That’s a weird one to miss out, especially as it’s very important to the franchise as it’s where Jason got his hockey mask.

I’m hoping they expand the content soon, the UK is already losing out by not having any of the sports available to international users, so it needs something to make up for that.


So is it worth getting? Unless you’re desperate for some of the exclusives, I don’t think it is at the moment. That’s solely down to the content. They need to start adding more stuff. To me, what made Disney+ a lot better is when they added Star, it meant that even non-disney fans could find a lot of things to like. Paramount doesn’t have that, it’s missing the hook to draw people in. At the moment it seems like they’re counting on Star Trek to draw people in, outside of that it doesn’t have that much to offer. The movies especially need more. The advantage of having some of these services is when they launch new-ish movies on there. This doesn’t have that. I think it will be adding some new releases, but at the moment under “new releases and blockbuster movies” they have South Park, Ray Donovan, Paw Patrol, Paranamoral Activity (released 2021), Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol, and some Transformers movies. Not really something that makes it worth it.

I have confidence that in the coming months, they will improve the content and it will be worth getting. But at the moment? Not really sure of the point of it. There’s no “oh no, you NEED this service because…….”. The best reason to get it now is to get locked into a yearly one in case they raise the price in the future.

Munich: The Edge Of War (2021)

Quick synopsis: Set in the fall of 1938, Hitler prepares to invade Czechoslovakia, claiming it historically belongs to them and they promise they’ll stop there (definitely no modern parallels there, nope, it would be a made thing to Putin this blog). The government of Neville Chamberlain desperately seeks a peaceful solution. A British civil servant and a German diplomat, former classmates, travel to Munich to discuss peace.

Yup, it’s another World War 2 movie, because we haven’t had one of those for a few weeks. This is different though, rather than the standard “our brave boys”, or even a “Winston Churchill was the greatest person who ever lived. And if you point out that he wasn’t perfect in every way, then you just hate freedom”.

Neville Chamberlain is often portrayed negatively in WW2 movies, he’s shown as a blundering idiot who trusted Hitler and opposed Churchill. Most historians disagree with this assessment, arguing that he knew Hitler was lying and just signed the peace treaty to delay the inevitable. This is backed up by the fact that the first thing he did when he came back, is increase the production of weapons and vehicles. Hitler later stated that if it wasn’t for the peace treaty then he would have invaded earlier and possibly won the war. So really, Chamberlain was responsible for the war being won, despite knowing what it would mean for his public persona. It’s good that we finally get a film that shows that.

So that’s the historical reasons for me liking it, how about as a film? It’s actually pretty good. The performances are great, it’s not going to make George MacKay a household name (although it is disappointing that 1917 didn’t quite manage that either, as he was great in that), but it provides a good example of what he is capable of. Really, his biggest problem is that he shares a screen with Jeremy Irons, and anybody looks weaker compared to him.

From a technical viewpoint, it’s fine. There are no stand-out shots, but it looks good throughout, the music suits the film, and it all flows together wonderfully. Christian Schwochow did a pretty good job, the organic and natural look to it making the whole thing feel less like a film, and more like a play we’re watching unfold in front of us.

On the downside, it could do more with the flashbacks. The film focuses heavily on the friendship between three people, it bookends the entire thing. There are a few flashbacks there, but I feel if we saw a bit more of it it would mean more. As it is we see a scene where they are friends, and then the next time we see the three of them they’re having an argument about whether Hitler is the savior of Germany, or a not very nice man.

The whole character arc for Paul is a bit strange really. We see a flashback of him being excited to see Hitlers Germany, then in the present he’s working to bring down Hitler, and then flashbacks of him being radicalised. It’s a weird way to do it as it means that every time we see him he feels like a wildly different character. What his character does do well is showing how ordinary people became anti-semetic. He even says “I knew he was racist, I thought we could put all that awful stuff aside”, but it never really shows why Germany felt like that in the first place. If it examined more about German pre-war feeling, about the economic anxiety and troubles they were going through it would do a better job of showing why people did what they did. It is shocking how normalized the hated was. There’s a scene where a group of people are surrounding a Jewish couple who are being forced to clean the floor, everyone is just shouting slurs at them like it’s the most natural thing to do.

So in summary, it’s a good film, available on netflix and you should definitely watch it, very reminiscent of Bridge Of Spies if you enjoyed that. But maybe it would have been better as a mini-series. Give the characters more chance to develop and breathe.

Red Notice (2021)

Quick Synopsis: An interpol agent attempts to track down a jewel thief. In reality it’s much much more complicated than that.

Disposable. That is probably the best way to describe this. Don’t get me wrong, at no point while watching this will you be bored, you will be thoroughly entertained throughout, and if a sequel came out you will watch it. But will you NEED to see this film again? Probably not. It’s good at what it does, but you’ve already seen everything it does before, it brings nothing new to the table. Ryan Reynolds does his usual shtick, and gets partnered with a violent stronger person who he initially disagrees with and you wonder if they can trust each other before true friendship wins. Blah blah. I’ve seen it all before. It has the usual twist and turns and they are surprising, but again, they’re not new.

The film can’t even rely on the action scenes to carry it through. They’re too video-gamey. You know how back in the days of Tony Hawk’s games the levels used to be designed in a way to be skateable, so the fences and rails would all be placed in a way that was designed with the video game playability in mind first before realism, that’s how this feels. It’s like the world was designed in such a way for action set pieces, so there’s no sense of realism or weight to the scenes, which robs them of any tension. Although let’s face it, you’re not going to get much tension in a film starring Ryan Reynolds and The Rock anyway as you know that the studio is aiming for a franchise, so they’re going to keep both alive.

It has some good parts. It’s very funny. The story has more twists and turns than a roller coaster, and Gal Gadot is funnier than she’s ever been (outside of her Imagine video obviously).

It’s hard to feel too disappointed, but it’s also hard to feel too pleased. It’s hard to feel anything. It’s popcorn movie. Sometimes that’s all you need, sometimes that’s all you want. It’s going to be a success, but I don’t think it will be anybody’s favourite film.

Thunder Force (2021)

Let’s face it, there was always a chance this was going to be awful (and the fact I’m using that as an opening line is an indication as to my feelings about this film), I mean, let’s look at the evidence:

  • Direct to netflix
  • No marketing
  • Nobody is talking about it
  • Melissa McCarthy.

Now I don’t hate McCarthy, I just heavily dislike a lot of her characters. I think that’s the most frustrating thing about her. She can be really good, but then there are times where it seems like she’s phoning it in and attempting to go as broad as possible, and when she’s doing that it’s normally not a good thing to watch. The things is, I can’t tell whether that’s entirely down to her, or just the characters. Is there a way to make some of her worse characters likeable in any way? Is it her performances damning the characters, or is it the characters damning the performance? Until somebody does a shot-for-shot remake of one of her films, replacing only her, we will never know.

For this? I feel it’s the writing that lets her down. Someone can only do so much with the material they’re given. You can’t give someone rancid vegetables and then expect them to be able to make a great dinner out of them. And this film is almost entirely composed of a soggy lettuce of a script, mouldy tomatoes of dialogue, and bitter salad dressing of effort. And this all combines to the worst salad you have ever eaten. I may have lost the metaphor a bit. The croutons of concept was pretty good though.

A big problem with this film is how immediately dated it feels. It came out this year and yet feels like a relic from the 90s. This is seen in not just the way it treats superheroes, but also some of the humour. Some of the jokes are basically the main character bullying someone, but it’s okay as they’re socially awkward. That really doesn’t work with this kind of character. You can’t do a “main character makes fun of this socially awkward person” and then have her be the standard bad McCarthy character who ignores social cues. You don’t get to deliver the lines “beam me up scotty beep boop bop” and “i speaken ze english” then make fun of what others say. It just makes the character seem like a hypocritic asshole.

Now back to how it treats superheroes. It doesn’t feel like this film has realised that they’ve moved on since the Bat-toys and Robin Nuggets Happy Meal days of the 90’s. Comic books have always had mature themes, dating back to the horror comics that were essential in establishing them as a form of media, all the way through to Watchmen, and even modern classics like Clean Room (maybe not considered a classic by most people, but it really fucking should be). Even the traditional comics have had storylines with mature themes. But despite that, the general consensus of them was “people in brightly coloured tights being silly” because that’s what was presented in mainstream depictions and how it was defined in other media. But with the Dark Knight Trilogy, Logan, and the MCU, everybody knows that comic books have moved beyond that now. Very few people view superheroes in the same way as they did in the past. In fact I’d argue it’s the opposite, and if a comic book movie DOESN’T deal with genocide, existential angst, and other mature themes, then people deride it.

You may have noticed I haven’t technically talked about the film that much in this review (in fact, you could be forgiven for forgetting this was a review at all, and not just the random ramblings of someone who takes this kind of shit far too seriously), but if the film was better, I’d talk about it. This film is nothing, it’s a bowl of unflavoured tofu, but with food colouring to make you think it’s more than it is. There’s something I think was supposed to be a twist, but was so obvious to anybody who has ever seen a movie. The visuals are nothing to write home about and the film makes some, let’s call them questionable choices in regards to music. Most notably, choosing just after what was supposed to be an emotional scene, to play AC/DC, so even if you were emotionally effected by it, it lasted no more than 2 seconds.

Really I can only recommend this film for the performances of Taylor Mosby and Jason Bateman. Even Octavia Spencer doesn’t shine in this movie, that’s how weak the script is.