Infinite (2021) Film Review

Infinite (2021) Film Review – The big idea of the film is what if people were reborn with their past memories, essentially living forever, except through different bodies?

Infinite, the latest film from Antoine Fuqua, is an intriguing example of how a really interesting concept and top notch script can get bogged down in production and sadly ‘blandified’ beyond all recognition. The concept, originally taken from The Reincarnationist Papers, is given an action refresh, moving from a serious philosophical piece to a more Fast & Furious-style romp.

The big idea of the film is what if people were reborn with their past memories, essentially living forever, except through different bodies? Now, this has been done before, but the little things they nod to in the film, such as the characters’ flashes of memories across the centuries and references to major historical events, suggest that angle could have been a lot more fun to explore beyond the thrill ride that movie soon becomes.

That said, it’s an exciting ride, and there are more than enough set pieces to shake a stick at,  all well executed, with just enough originality to make it worth your while. The best example of this is the armoured car chase through a police station, which screamed originality and gave off a general ‘what the hell will happen next’ feel to the film as it veers towards another death-defying moment.

The acting is workable, but again, it feels like some better casting would have resulted in more pathos and character development. The standout performance is without a doubt, Chiwetel Ejiofor as the menacing Bathurst, who looms over the story, and hams up the part when necessary, with a touch of Shakespearian eloquence. On top of that, Jason Mantzoukas’ screwball Artisan adds some much-needed levity in his far-too-few appearances. Mark Wahlberg is serviceable as the part-everyman who the audience can relate to and follow, but when you leave your rather convoluted exposition to Wahlberg, you’ve got a problem.

Infinite will offer you an entertaining thrill ride over 106 minutes, without requiring much thought, and that’s the main takeaway – with a concept like this, having a bit more thoughtfulness, playfulness and fun with it, would have gone a long way to making something a lot more memorable.

Nobody Film Review

Nobody_2021_Film_Poster

You can never go wrong with Bob Odenkirk, right? Well, that’s the logic behind why I sat down to watch his latest movie, the action killathon that is Nobody.

Odenkirk plays Hutch Mansell, a man seemingly stuck in a rut at a 9-5 and mocked by pretty much everyone, including his wife and son.

However, a chance break-in at his house reveals there’s a lot more to the straight-laced man than we were initially led to believe. Hutch flips back into killer assassin mode, cripples a mob boss’s brother and things escalate. A lot.

From the writer of John Wick, you get a one-man killing machine employing an eye-openingly fun variety of different ways to kill the bad guys. It’s exciting, extremely well-paced, and Odenkirk is superb, channelling droll humour and world-weariness to perfect effect, on top of some real stunt prowess.

As you’d expect, the fight choreography is top-notch, with innovative set pieces really pushing action film making to the limit, without too much dependence on special effects, which always adds a little bit more magic and weight to the film.

But it’s not just a one-man show, with Connie Nielsen offering up fantastic chemistry, RZA speaking volumes despite a relatively small part, and Christopher Lloyd as Hutch’s adorable dad.

A simple, fun and extremely effective Saturday night action thriller, and one we may be lucky enough to get a sequel to in the future.

Eco-Friendly Father’s Day Gifts That Reduce Waste

With Father’s Day coming up fast, we’ll all be thinking of gifts for our dads – ideally, not just another pair of socks! We know that gift-giving can seem at odds with the zero waste ethos, but our dads are special and we want to show them how much they’re valued.

The answer? Zero waste father’s day gifts that are kind to the planet as well as to our dear ole dads. And who knows, perhaps your father will be so impressed by his prezzie that you convert him to a low-waste lifestyle, too. Read on for some of our favourite eco-friendly gift ideas.

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The 2021 Oscar Winners, According to Fans

Critics have already chosen their nominees for this year’s Oscars, but who are the public’s favourites to take home the famous gold statues? Curious to find out, OnBuy.com analysed IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes ratings of the 10 most popular Oscar categories to reveal which movies would win if chosen by the viewers.

Some of the highlights include:

  • Judas and the Black Messiah is the fan’s favourite to win best picture – with average ratings of 89%
  • Anthony Hopkins would take the prize of best lead actor for his role in The Father (89.1%)
  • Carey Mulligan is the favourite to win best lead actress (84%) for her role in Promising Young Woman, ahead of big stars such as Frances McDormand (Nomandland) and Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)
  • Despite being the most diverse Oscars ever, female categories received the lowest overall ratings
  • Best original screenplay and best lead actor are the categories winning the most rave reviews from fans

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The Best of John Cusack

Today we take a look at John Cusack’s diverse range of past roles.

Being John Malkovich

In one of the most original and thought-provoking films of the 90s, John Cusack gets the opportunity to see the world from John Malkovich’s eyes, in the most literal way imaginable. After finding a portal in his office that transports you inside the mind and body of the acclaimed film and theatre actor, Craig Schwartz (Cusack) becomes addicted to his new escape but fails to keep this revelation a secret, leading to him selling tickets to all of those who want to be someone else for 15 minutes at a time. Cusack succeeds in being compassionate enough for audiences to empathise and understand his actions, whilst also carrying off the creepy and perverse nature of his character to make the audience also question his motives.

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2021 Games We’re Looking Forward TO

It’s that time of year again when you’re making resolutions, goals and plans for the months ahead – and it wouldn’t be complete without a list of the top video games that you’re eagerly awaiting to sink your teeth into! So here’s our curated selection of which games you’ll be frantically waiting to install on your various platforms in 2021.

Bravely Default 2 (Switch)
The series which takes a refreshing spin on the traditional RPG is thankfully returning to wow us with its intricate storytelling, marvellous world building and stunning soundtrack. The demo has already got us excited, with its idyllic introduction to strange lands and an intriguing set of characters, and we can’t wait to get return when the full game is released this year.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 (Switch)
The follow up to arguably one of the best ever console launch titles, Breath of the Wild 2 has much to live up to, but we’re hopeful it’ll astound us just like original game did back in 2017. It appears the game will re-use the original lands of Hyrule, but with addition of many areas, stories and game mechanics. The trailers eeleaes so far suggest a darker tone than the original, with nods to 2006’s Twilight Princess.

Bayonetta 3 (Switch)
Developer PlatinumGames are on a bit of winning streak of late, with major hits like Nier:Automata and Astral Chain under their belt, so the third entry in the Bayonetta series is definitely going to be one the slash ‘em up to beat in 2021. With more cheesy supernatural battles than you can shake a high heeled shoe at, Bayonetta’s return is bound to be unforgettable (TBC 2020)

Hollow Knight: Silksong (PC/Switch)
Originally intended as a smallish add-on to the original platforming classic Hollow Knight, this game is now set yo be a full-blown sequel. With its unique art style returning, this entry will take Hornet on an adventure you’ll be dying to get your claws into.

Far Cry 6 (PS4/5; Xbox One/X; PC)
The vast open world shooter returns for the sixth time with the drama and acting ramped up with the inclusion of Giancarlo Esposito as the menacing dictator of the Caribbean island that’ll be your playground for countless hours.

God of War: Ragnarok (PS5)
With the triumphant return of the self titled God of War on the PS4 back in 2018, the new found narrative and storytelling focus was a welcome surprise and that game’s framework is likely to set the tone for this PS5 exclusive.

Halo Infinite – (Xbox Series X; PC)
Despite being lauded as the must-have new Xbox launch title, the fact the long awaited sixth main entry in the Master Chief’s story is having a bit more development time is nothing to complain about, especially considering the recent issues with Cyberpunk 2017.

Horizon Forbidden West (PS5)
It’s incredible to think that the groundbreaking first game in the series, Horizon Zero Dawn, was only released in 2017, and we’re lucky enlightened to have a sequel in 2021 that will make as much use of the PS5 as the original did on the PS4. With its gloriously beautiful open world, memorable characters and pitch perfect combat, this is a sequel well worth getting excited about.

Resident Evil Village (PS5; Xbox Series X; PC)
The first person reboot which was Resident Evil 7: Biohazard scared the bejesus out of us back in, especially the VR version, so we’re eagerly awaiting to have the hairs stand up on the back of necks in Capcom’s follow up, which takes you into a creepy village setting, recalling the classic Resident Evil 4. Let’s hope that the famous chainsaw scene returns in some form of another!

Elden Ring: (PS4/Xbox; PC)
This much hyped project combines the do or die combat of the Dark Souls series with the narrative stylings of a certain George R R Martin, which by our estimation, makes it the must-have action-RPG for 2021. Fingers crossed it lives up to the hype!

Another Round / Druk LFF Film Review

Another Round / Druk London Film Festival 2020 Movie Review

Druk (“Another Round”) is the latest feature from Danish director and Dogme 95 co-founder Thomas Vinterberg, reuniting him and actor Mads Mikkelsen some eight years after the Oscar-nominated Jagten (“The Hunt”). This dark comedy follows four disillusioned high school teachers who decide to rejuvenate their lives by embarking on an elaborate drinking game.

Martin (Mads Mikkelsen), Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen), Peter (Lars Ranthe) and Nikolaj (Magnus Millang) are all in a mid-life limbo, with the lead, Martin, increasingly isolated from his wife and children, mocked by his students, and reconsidering his life choices. Following an enjoyably boozy birthday meal, all four agree to engage in an experiment based on the work of a Norwegian psychologist, who claims humans are born with a deficit of 0.05% blood alcohol.

Faced with the four characters’ pathetic plights, the audience easily begins to root for them as they unleash their new selves upon the world. The early scenes are brilliantly funny, with the four adjusting to their new inebriated states during their school lessons, and are uplifting for the characters as they take their new-found confidence to help engage better with their students and lives outside of class. The physical humour is uncannily inspired, with the actors perfectly embodying the swaying bodies, alcohol-fuelled swagger and the odd bumping into walls and collapsing that occurs. Mads Mikkelsen in particular, effortlessly captures the progression of Martin, from lifeless to boisterously playful, along with more subtle levels of anguish, despair and catharsis.

Despite the comedy, a sense of dread builds as their plans become perilously close to being uncovered. The film slowly cranks up the tension as they progress from Hemingway rules (no drinking after 8 pm or at weekends) to Tchaikovsky approach (adjusting alcohol levels for optimal social and mental ability) to last but definitely not least, the Total Oblivion – maximum blood alcohol level. While they attest to their drinking being a scientific experiment, they begin to fool themselves into the logic of it, with increasingly farcical reasoning to go further and further.

As the film has been hinting, this ship they’ve embarked upon can only come crashing down on the rocks, with the first incident after the Total Oblivion, leading to the study ending “due to immense, negative social effects and the danger of alcoholism”. The event that leads to this, results in Martin’s separating from his wife, Nikolaj crawling into bed with his wife and wetting himself, while it leads Tommy down an even more dangerous route. In the face of a horrifically bleak ending, the film comes full circle with the friends in the harsh daylight, celebrating the successes of their students and culminating with an cathartic, impromptu jazz ballet dance piece from Mads Mikkelsen.

While mostly adhering to a realistic style, with hand-held camerawork, natural lighting and a simple setting, warm colours and flare are subtly added to the drinking scenes to emphasise their enticing nature. On top of that, the rising pressure and descent of the quartet is incredibly well matched by the cinematography of each of the seasons. The documentary-style is further heightened by the silent movie style black dialogue cards that flash up, alerting the audience to the various characters’ blood alcohol levels, as well as the short clips of various politicians famous for their drinking, such as Yeltsin, Sarkozy and even Boris Johnson.

This bittersweet tragicomedy is a meditation on attitudes to alcohol, ageing and masculinity in a nation that “drinks like maniacs”. While we see the bright positives and the grim negatives of intoxication, Druk instead wants to focus on why people turn to such destructive behaviour – is it boredom, stress or the desire to re-engage with their lives? In one sense, the alcohol is merely the springboard from which to take a deep look into the male psyche through these four very different characters.

While the quartet’s humorous, yet brutal trials and tribulations with alcohol set the scene, Druk is a bold examination of the thirst for life, love and friendship.

One Night In Miami LFF Film Review

One Night In Miami London Film Festival Review

Adapted from a stage play, One Night in Miami is the debut feature from Regina King, covering a fictional imagining of the night of 25 February 1964 when boxer Cassius Clay, singer Sam Cook, NFL star Jim Phillips and activist Malcolm X all met to celebrate Clay’s surprise win to become heavyweight champion of the world aged just 22.

The film confidently sticks to its theatre roots, with the vast chunk of the 110 minutes solely confined to a small motel room. The compact space is full to bursting with the personalities of the four black icons, who verbally jab bob and weave at each other, sparring just like Clay, but instead of boxing, their conflict is over their approach to their identities, personal and private lives and their success all in their individual struggles against racism. The script particularly focuses on what it means to support the civil rights movement as successful black men, dissecting each of the different character’s approaches and assumptions about each others’.

All four actors perfectly embody the energy, direction and opinions of their given role, Eli Goree’s Clay charmingly bounces off the walls, Aldis Hodges’ Brown is thoughtful yet firm, Leslie Odom Jr.’s Cook is passionately antagonistic with an incredible voice, and Kingsley Ben-Adir’s Malcolm X captures a fiery anger hiding his vulnerability. All have some incredible dialogue to play with, with knockout lines getting served up so fast you can barely keep up.

As it centres around the aftermath of Clay’s fight, he leads us into the film, but as we progress it feels it becomes more focused on Malcolm X’s hidden dilemma over leaving the Nation of Islam, while he hopes to bring Clay to announce his conversion to the public. The tension builds up slowly, with the heated temperatures matching the verbal sparring, especially between Sam Cook and Malcolm X, who believes Cook isn’t doing enough through his songs to help further the cause.

The powerful transformative effect of the night is an incredible sight to see, though the epilogue proves bittersweet with Malcolm X’s famous words “It is a time for martyrs now, and if I am to be one, it will be for the cause of brotherhood. That’s the only thing that can save this country” shown on the screen, along the fact they were spoken a mere two days before his murder.

One Night in Miami is a fantastically absorbing slice of partly-imagined history, with four powerhouse performances capturing the iconic figures’ meditation on race, civil rights and their own personal and private lives on a hot February night in 1964.

Supernova LFF Film Review

Supernova London Film Festival 2020 Film Review

Supernova, the second feature from actor, writer and filmmaker Harry Macqueen, is a heartbreaking tale of an older couple grappling with early-onset dementia.

Colin Firth’s Sam and Stanley Tucci’s Tusker are 50-somethings who embark on a mini-road trip through the Lake District, retracing their steps from decades before, reuniting with friends and family, all on the way to a cottage where Sam is set to perform a piano recital. And, last but not least, they bring their adorable dog Ruby along for the ride.

But it’s not all dogs, friends and stunning scenery, as Supernova takes an honestly bold look at the way Tusker’s condition of early-onset dementia takes its toll on both of the characters. The film takes it slowly, introducing us to a charming couple, before taking a more serious turn. The tension builds as Sam discovers that Tusker isn’t coping as well as he’s pretending to, and how the secrets they’re keeping from each other build-up to a dramatic set of scenes and a big dilemma.

There’s a real sense of the love between the two characters – they playfully bicker over the directions in the van, Tusker is overly protective over Sam’s fame, while Sam doles out patient and loving care over Tusker. The chemistry and the dialogue between the two protagonists are what really elevates the already great, though simple travel-style narrative. The little nuances of behaviours, the quiet moments and the heated arguments, all come together to paint a stunningly intimate portrait of two people facing one of the most difficult periods of their relationship and life.

Tucci’s sublime performance is bolstered by a painfully honest set of powerful lines capturing his character’s emotional state. Firth is more reserved, but equally strong, especially when faced with tough decisions. He’s reticent, as he tries to hide his emotional troubles while remaining strong for his partner.

On their journey, Sam and Tusker, and the audience are faced with compelling, yet harsh truths about the condition, but told through the partnership of the two, which is a joyful relationship, filled with humour, grumpiness and love. That said, the film sets out and succeeds in exploring the heartbreaking conflict between the selfishness of love, wanting not to lose your partner, and the selflessness of being a burden, feeling like you’re no longer the same person you were and losing control – “becoming a passenger [when you’re not] not a passenger.”.

Along with the acting and script, the other highlight is the cinematography. Aside from the stunning autumnal tones and vistas of a dramatic Lake District, the couple’s camper van is a remarkable set in itself. Masterfully shot, lit and staged, the van feels like an intimate world for the couple, yet still managing to create distance between the two, as well as capturing several different settings – everyday domestic life, a confessional space and a place of loneliness.

Supernova is a charmingly honest and sweetly romantic, yet brutally heartbreaking take on early-onset dementia and the traumatic effects it has on the body, mind and relationships. One of the frontrunners for the best film of the London Film Festival.