Spiderman: Far From Home

Tom Holland in Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019)

The 23rd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe dropped onto our screens on Tuesday. The third reboot of the Spiderman movies had its first sequel and many critics and fans alike were interested to see whether it would suffer the same curse as the Maguire and Garfield offerings. It was fitting then, that the final movie of the third phase of the MCU was an awesome show.

In Far From Home, Peter Parker is going on a school trip to Europe. Instead of getting to relax in Venice and Paris like he wanted, he is inevitably drawn into a fight with otherworldly monsters. He is aided by Nick Fury, Maria Hill and a new ally, Quentin Beck. Beck hails from Earth but in a different universe. Thanos’ snaps caused a ‘blip’, allowing travel between worlds and timelines. Peter and Quentin, now known as Mysterio, go head to head with these horrible monsters in an attempt to save Spiderman’s world, as well as keep his friends out of harms way.

Jake Gyllenhaal in Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019)
Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio

Mysterio is a categorical villain in Spiderman lore. In every comic and game he has appeared in he has been hell bent on Spiderman’s destruction, as well as bringing the world to his feet. We are introduced to him here as an ally of Spiderman. While that won’t mean a thing to the majority of fans going to see it, for the diehards it means they know at least a fraction of the story to come.
In saying that, Beck is a great character. It helps that he is played by Gyllenhaal who gives him the charm and wit necessary to bring that character to life.
Peter Parker is at his wits end in this film. Just off the back of saving the world and losing his friend and mentor, Tony Stark, he is thrust once again into a fight to save humanity. That’s a lot to take for a sixteen year old kid who was snapped away and back again and was none the wiser. Tom Holland plays him effortlessly; capturing a little bit of all of our awkward stages as a teen in his bumbling and stuttering performance. Like I said at the start, this movie defeats the curse of the sequel for the Spiderman movies. This is obviously thanks to the genius of the MCU and all its contributors and directors, but we shouldn’t forget how likeable this Spiderman is compared to his predecessors. Nothing against Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield but Tom Holland just IS Peter Parker.

Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019)

With New York City, Venice, Prague and London as the major backdrops of this movie it was always going to be visually impressive. I was interested to see what damage they could do to which universally known structures. However, the most striking scene, not to mention mind-bending, is one where Spiderman is caught in an illusion and can’t seem to fight his way out. I won’t say much more here because I don’t want to spoil anything properly but that scene is marvelous. It goes on for so long that you’ll be looking around wondering whether the cinema you are in is real and whether you’re just a figment of some mad man’s imagination. Just a normal Tuesday.

With all of my talk about the previous Spiderman franchises, I neglected to mention how this film fared against the first movie, Homecoming (2017). In short, it is better. In my opinion, of course, but I’m sure most people would agree that this just has more bite to it and now that we have met the ensemble characters we can get more out of them. Jacob, Peter’s friend, is hilarious in this movie. Mary-Jane, played by Zendaya, is also delightfully awkward but badass when she needs to be. Hopefully we see more of her in the next movie, whenever that may be, and that she has more of a role than ‘love-interest’.

Jake Gyllenhaal, Numan Acar, and Tom Holland in Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019)
Numan Acar, Tom Holland and Jake Gylenhaal

I can’t spoil any credit scenes for you guys because I didn’t get to see them. There was a mix-up in the cinema where I work and the film was put on late. As the credits started to roll two young fellas came in to the theatre. I told them that it would be a few minutes as the boss had to shut off this film and start it again for them. They just looked at me and sat down, oblivious to my power in the Reel Picture. Only as I was leaving did I realise that I wasn’t wearing my uniform as it was my day off. These two young fellas were just told to leave by a weird man watching Spiderman on his own at 1 in the afternoon!
Personally I would say that this is my second favourite MCU film behind Ragnarok. That says a good bit about me I suppose. However, I think it is the third best movie behind Civil War. I loved Infinity War and Endgame but that’s the tea and as always, don’t @ me.

4.5/5.

Us – Movie Review

Jordan Peele’s latest horror offering is as mindbending and thrilling as Get Out. However, Us is its own film with its own ideas and impeccable twists and turns. After viewing this earlier tonight and searching twitter for user responses and funny gifs, I’ve decided that it is hard to pick a favourite between the two. There is a lot more going on in this instalment, sometimes to its detriment, but it is clear that it requires at least two viewings.

The film opens in 1986 with a young Adelaide (Madison Currey) walking the boardwalk of Santa Cruz with her father and mother. The parents bicker throughout and when her mother goes to the bathroom and her father ignores her, Adelaide walks down to the beach. She sees a mirror funhouse and enters. Inside, the lights shut off and after trying to find her way out she bumps into a doppelganger of herself. Adleaide begins to scream and the movie cuts to the present day.
Adelaide is now en route back to Santa Cruz with her husband and two children. The adult Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) does not want to revisit the boardwalk where she encountered that terrible horror all those years ago. Her husband Gabe (Winston Duke), obviously doesn’t share her fears. Gabe and the two kids, Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex), are all wrapped up in their own material worlds, choosing image, technology and a mask instead of realising that their mother would rather be anywhere else. Adelaide’s fears come true when a strange family appear at the top of their drive. The doppelgangers have come and are out for blood. What follows is an hour and a bit of intense scares and breathless thrills.

It is another offering from Peele that blurs the lines between horror, psychological thriller and action. The film touches heavily on class divide and the segregation of people. The wealthy and lucky only need worry about their appearance and possessions in life while the doppelgangers, or tethered, only know that they are not worthy of such things and must suffer life down below. Themes such as faith, materialism and ethics are rife throughout. I would implore any viewer to take most of the dialogue very seriously. You don’t know what throwaway line, action or scene might rear its head later on.

Nyong’o steals the show as Adelaide and Red. While Wright Joseph is extremely impressive in her dual performance also, it is the Oscar winner known for her portrayal of Patsey in 12 Years a Slave that blows the audience away. She plays the terrified Adelaide so well while also portraying the deranged and vengeful Red with frightening reality.
As I said earlier, this movie is similar to Get Out in that the twists and turns are impeccable. Us is a proper headscratcher. I won’t give away any spoilers but I guarantee that by the end of the movie you’ll be walking around in your day to day life wondering whether your doppelganger will pop out at any second and take your place. You’ll also be thinking of every line that has been said in the film and linking it all together. The only problem is that just like Det. Kujan, you’ll be too late and Keyser Soze will have been off on his escape already.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? Review.

 

Image result for can you ever forgive me?

“Back once again.” The reviews are back! Ger Canning has uttered this iconic phrase in countless G.A.A. matches broadcast on live television over the last number of decades. I reached out to him to ask would he record it for me so I could have it playing whenever someone opened an article of mine. Ger, ever the joker, replied via his family, agent and the Gardai, and said, “For the last time, leave me and my family alone. I rue the day I stopped and talked to you in Tesco in Mahon Point. Legal action will follow unless you stop cold calling me in the middle of the night. I don’t know how you got my house number. I am a human being and you are driving me insane. May God have mercy on your soul.” Ah Ger, what a chancer. If you’re reading this, I’ll get onto you later around 2 a.m. Keep the phone on!

Now, onto serious stuff. The movie Can You Ever Forgive Me? caught my eye due to the many nominations the cast received across multiple academies and committees. Also, it was the only thing that I knew would be quiet at my local cinema, the Reel Picture Blackpool ( hashtag ad). I knew it wasn’t a comedy but with Melissa McCarthy leading and Richard E. Grant in a prominent supporting role I had a feeling there would be some comic moments.

McCarthy plays Lee Israel, a down on her luck author who has just lost her job for drunken behaviour, has a fraught relationship with her agent and is months behind on her rent. Israel does not have any redeemable qualities that we can see and is told by her agent that she, “…is not famous enough to be an asshole.” She has a sick cat that she cannot afford to take care of and the biographies that she is writing to stay afloat are on the sale rack. After selling a letter of a famous author toa bookshop owner played by Dolly Wells, she quickly realises that she could make a hefty profit by forging letters of other well known figures. She has made a living writing books about other people so she knows she can impersonate them in her letters.
She meets Jack Hock, played by Grant, at a bar in Manhattan, remembering when she first met him and he went to the bathroom in a closet (hashtag Jonny Melia, hashtag ad). Hock is hilarious, flamboyant and the perfect positive tonic to Israel’s cynicism and misery. After letting him in on her secret cash cow and after duping half of Manhattan’s bookshops and collectible dealers into believing her ruse, she and Hock come under the suspicion of the FBI. Sabotaging her rathionship with Anna, the bookshop owner and Hock himself, Israel is finally caught and sentenced to house arrest, probation and monetary restitution.
The movie ends with Israel and Hock reuniting in the same grimy bar they met in. They bury the hatchet and he agrees to let her write a book about their escapades, ever his funny, charming self. This never happened in real life but it was a good end to a fine movie.

The movie itself is enjoyable if a bit slow. The topic of literary forgery does not sound all that interesting but the revelations that there are seedy characters in the literary world such as Israel herself, made it an easy watch. The fact that the FBI were involved in her subpoena was amazing to learn. The dynamic between McCarthy and Grant was brilliant and really saved the movie from being a bore. That said, it dragged towards the end and I did find myself looking at the clock on my phone. While I know that with a film such as this the devil is in the details but if the movie was about fifteen minutes shorter then it would’ve been a small bit more enjoyable.
I couldn’t think of anyone that I would recommend the movie to after watching, but it wasn’t a total waste of an hour and forty minutes. If I was to give it a rating out of a number that I will make up right now, I would give it a 3.5/5. Some funny moments but I’m not sure if this book warranted a movie. That said, the performances of McCarthy and Grant saved this production and both, especially McCarthy, deserve their nominations.