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  • Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

    Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

    ★★★

    no spoilers]

    Disappointing. The fairytale title hints that Quentin Tarantino's latest movie may not be what you expect. What's different about <>Once</> compared to his other films is that there are none of the typical elements that drive the narrative except for the Manson Family backdrop. Normally that's OK. I'm just not convinced that Leo and Brad can sustain such a simple story. To me at least, they both delivered self-conscious performances that limited how much I cared for their…

  • Rambo: Last Blood

    Rambo: Last Blood

    ★★★

    The version released in Australia and New Zealand by Roadshow is the longer 100 mins International Cut. Co-written by Sly Stallone, it's all very efficient and predictable, with good pacing and quick-edit R 18+ action gore. The story finds John Rambo retired and taking it easy in Arizona Rancho Relaxo style, training horses and doing maintenance chores, although exactly why he's dug 100 kilometres' worth of Viet Cong-type tunnels under the farm isn't explained. Everyone needs a hobby? Anyway, while…

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  • Kong: Skull Island

    Kong: Skull Island

    ★★★½

    Apeocalypse Now, anyone?

    This is how you make a popcorn monster movie, i.e. the old fashioned way. Set up a basic storyline with unique characters who have clearly defined motives, cast attractive leads (Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson), add comic relief, and most importantly, show the fucking monsters! It couldn't be simpler, but Hollywood has gotten it wrong so many times: Pacific Rim, Peter Jackson's bloated King Kong remake, both Godzilla borefests, Monsters*...the list goes on. Another plus for this movie…

  • Blade Runner 2049

    Blade Runner 2049

    ★★★★

    Overall, I enjoyed this sequel to my second-favourite movie of all time, Blade Runner (1982). Amazingly, it does feel like the same world set 30 years later. The melancholy tone, futuristic ideas, production design, cinematography, and synthesizer music score are all here, which was a huge relief. This is the real triumph of the film; it could have easily been a train wreck. The story itself, developed by Ridley Scott and original writer Hampton Fancher, is all right, considering it…