Hello again. I’ve finally decided to post an update, after receiving several requests and check-ins over the past months that I hadn’t been on this page.
So here it is – I’ve been taking time off after a cancer diagnosis. This was news that I hadn’t expected to hear, ever, but you learn to play the cards you’re dealt. Starting May, I went for surgery and 6 rounds of chemotherapy, while holding down my full-time job that fortunately allowed me to work from home.
While I’d expected life to return to normalcy in December, my scans did not go the way I’d hoped. Work is on hold once again and I’ll be restarting treatment in January, with hopes that it will end in May with good results.
Till then, this blog shall be put to rest; I just prefer enjoying movies to writing about them for now. Speaking of which, in place of a full year-end round-up, I’m asking everyone to see Barbarian, See How They Run, and Fresh this year!
And for the audiophiles, don’t sleep on Larkin Poe’s Blood Harmony, Ibaraki’s Rashomon and Bomber’s Nocturnal Creatures. Of course I hadn’t forgotten Jack White’s killer double album release. I saw the man in the flesh this year and he proved that he is the very best.
Thanks for reading everything I’ve written all this while. For those who wish to connect, I’m still on Instagram and Goodreads sometimes, and Brimstone Tales occasionally.
I’ll see you when I see you!
Metal Lords (dir. Peter Sollett, 2022) – Two high schoolers attempt to complete their death metal band with a cellist ahead of the upcoming Battle of the Bands.
In 2003, the School of Rock made its name. Guitarist Dewey Finn, while impersonating a substitute teacher, put together a band of talented high school musicians and turned their classical training into rock fuel in weeks. Despite his initial self-serving intention to win the Battle of the Bands, he soon inadvertently brought out the best in them. The coming-of-age masterwork remains celebrated almost 2 decades later today, cementing its place as an all-time best for many.
At first glance, Metal Lords seems to mirror the Richard Linklater film like a spiritual sequel, only for a heavier genre. The competition this time comes down to high school duo Kevin (Jaeden Martell) and Hunter (Adrian Greensmith), the founders of experimental death metal band Skullfucker. The only trouble? They are missing a bass player, and they aren’t exactly the most popular kids in school.
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Fresh (dir. Mimi Cave, 2022) – Noa’s dating life takes a turn when she learns about her new partner’s unusual appetite.
Ask any woman about her online dating experiences, and you are bound to hear more than a few horror stories. Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones) has had her fair share, which might explain her eagerness to jump at her chance at love when she meets a seemingly decent man – Steve (Sebastian Stan) – in real life.
After all, their meet-cute in a supermarket aisle feels like the perfect set-up for a happily ever after. That is even if her best friend Molly (Jojo T Gibbs) calls red flag on his suspiciously quick moves and absence of online presence. Is it possible that Steve may be hiding something more? By now, any discerning viewer would be nodding along to Molly’s doubts.
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Everything Everywhere All at Once (dir. Dan Kwan & Daniel Scheinert, 2022) – A middle-aged woman finds herself dragged into a strange multiverse, where she gets a glimpse into her alternate lives.
Undone taxes, a crumbling marriage, an estranged mother-daughter relationship. Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) is struggling to cope with everything around her and she is starting to feel like her best will never be enough. As the pressure builds, she feels her reality slipping away. A web of parallel universes awaits her, each a glimpse into the lives she could have led.
One minute she takes on the persona of an action movie star and the next, an ordinary everywoman with edible hotdog fingers. Worsening matters is the danger that lurks in the multiverse as a weapon has surfaced in the form of a… bagel? It is almost impossible to describe the plot of Everything Everywhere All At Once without sounding like a raving lunatic.
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The Batman (dir. Matt Reeves, 2022) – When a sadistic killer begins to murder key political figures in Gotham, the Batman steps in, only to uncover a larger ploy against the city.
It is a constant stagger back to square one for the DC Cinematic Universe as the studio introduces its 3rd major iteration of the caped crusader in just under two decades. There seems a reluctance to move past its tried and tested characters, even as Marvel races past and starts dipping into its backlog – to resounding success for the most part.
So we get The Batman. Again. Albeit this time, there is a promising director at helm. Matt Reeves’ take falls somewhere between his recent predecessors, grounded in its world-building and villainy, balanced with a tonality suited to its comic book origins. It fits Gotham well enough. His film noir influences hold merit, picking up where Darren Aronofsky’s Year One project fell through years ago.
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The Adam Project (dir. Shawn Levy, 2022) – After accidentally crash-landing in 2022, time-travelling fighter pilot Adam Reed teams up with his younger self for a mission to save the future.
The predestination paradox posits a scenario where an individual travels back in time to prevent an incident, only to cause the said event, inevitably closing the causality loop. It all makes for some intriguing on-screen storytelling with potential for twists and turns, as several genre films had shown. The Adam Project isn’t that kind of time-travel movie.
The story’s DNA shares more in common with a breezy fun space adventure than a thought-provoking mindbender. That is to say, there isn’t much in the way of narrative depth. Having said that, if the former is what you are in for, a treat is what you will get.
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