The Verdict On ‘The Fall Guy’: Is It Worth Your Time And Money??

Editorial credit: Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com

Directed by David Leitch and written by Drew Pearce, “The Fall Guy” is a cinematic homage to the unsung heroes of the film industry – the stunt performers. Loosely based on the 1980s TV series of the same name, this action-packed rom-com follows a stuntman, played by Ryan Gosling, who finds himself entangled in a conspiracy surrounding the lead actor of his ex-girlfriend’s directorial debut.

From the outset, “The Fall Guy” pays tribute to the dedication and talent of the stunt community, shedding light on their indispensable role in bringing action-packed scenes to life. With subtle nods to the lack of recognition for stunt teams at the Oscars and references to pop culture icons like Taylor Swift and films like “Dune” and “Kill Bill,” the film cleverly weaves a narrative that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.

The chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt, who plays the ex-girlfriend-turned-director, is palpable throughout the film. Their on-screen presence, even in moments of silence, speaks volumes about their connection. Despite a shift in focus towards a murder mystery subplot in the second act, the film never loses sight of its central theme – the importance of stunt performers in the filmmaking process.

Where “The Fall Guy” truly shines is in its epic finale, which pays homage to classic action movies of the past. The action sequences are flawlessly executed, culminating in a jaw-dropping climax involving multiple vehicles and a helicopter. The cinematography, soundtrack, and special effects all contribute to the film’s immersive experience, making it one of the most entertaining releases of the year.

While “The Fall Guy” may have a slow start and a slightly rushed ending, its heartwarming message and thrilling action sequences more than make up for any shortcomings. As a love letter to the stunt community and a celebration of the magic of filmmaking, “The Fall Guy” succeeds in reigniting the spark of unadulterated entertainment.

The film’s first 30 minutes showcase the behind-the-scenes world of filmmaking and the dedication of stunt professionals. They shed light on the challenges they face and the incredible feats they accomplish to bring action sequences to life. This initial focus serves as a strong foundation for the rest of the film, setting the stage for the exhilarating adventure that follows.

However, as the second act unfolds, “The Fall Guy” begins to lose a bit of momentum. The introduction of a murder mystery subplot and a shift in focus away from the stunt community may leave some viewers feeling disconnected from the film’s initial charm. Nevertheless, Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt’s on-screen chemistry remains a highlight, keeping audiences engaged even during the film’s slower moments.

The movie redeems itself towards the end with a truly epic finale that is sure to leave audiences on the edge of their seats. The action sequences are delivered flawlessly, with nods to classic films and a sense of nostalgia that harks back to the golden age of cinema. It’s a fitting tribute to the stunt performers who risk their lives to entertain audiences and a reminder of the magic of filmmaking.

In conclusion, “The Fall Guy” is a must-watch for fans of action comedies and anyone who appreciates the artistry behind the scenes of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters. With its blend of humour, romance, and heart-stopping action, it’s a joyride that’s sure to leave audiences cheering for more.

Rating: 4/5 ⭐️

Neeson Shines in “Retribution”: A Taut Hostage Drama that Packs a Punch

In the world of action thrillers, Liam Neeson has carved a niche for himself as a reliable and commanding presence. His latest venture, “Retribution,” promises a gripping hostage drama that unfolds within the confines of a car, pushing the boundaries of tension and suspense. As audiences buckle up for this high-stakes ride, Neeson’s portrayal of Matt Turner, a dedicated bank executive thrust into a life-altering situation, takes center stage.

A Familiar Tale with a Claustrophobic Twist

The storyline of “Retribution” revolves around Matt Turner, a committed professional whose dedication to his work eclipses his familial ties. The narrative takes a harrowing turn when Matt receives an ominous call while driving his children to school, unraveling a plot where a bomb is strategically placed beneath each car seat. As the anonymous caller coerces Matt into following their commands, the film introduces a premise that echoes the tension of the classic “Speed” but opts for a more confined and claustrophobic setting.

Neeson’s Charisma Dominates the Screen

Liam Neeson, known for his particular set of skills in the action thriller genre, delivers a formidable performance as Matt Turner. Neeson’s seasoned presence breathes life into the character, making Matt’s plight more tangible and compelling. While Matt may lack the overtly heroic qualities of some of Neeson’s iconic roles, the actor’s charisma elevates the film, making it a captivating watch.

A Supporting Cast that Holds Its Own

The supporting cast, featuring Embeth Davidtz as Matt’s wife, Lilly Aspell as the daughter, and Jack Champion as the rebellious son, delivers solid performances that complement the narrative. However, the true enigma lies in the unseen antagonist, whose mysterious voice keeps the audience in suspense, questioning the true nature of Neeson’s character.

Thrills and Pacing Excellence

“Retribution” excels in crafting an action-packed hostage drama within the confines of a car, maintaining relentless tension. The film’s pacing is commendable, offering a concise runtime that keeps viewers engaged. While the script could benefit from a bit more depth, the screenplay finds support in Flavio Labiano’s impressive camerawork and Steven Mirkovich’s sharp editing.

Hurdles in Execution and Communication

Set in Germany but spoken in English, the absence of subtitles during German-speaking portions may pose a challenge for some viewers seeking additional context. The film introduces a peculiar dynamic with the character of the Interpol female police boss, who holds crucial information yet remains resistant to Matt’s pleas for assistance. Additionally, a recurring issue is the persistent refusal of characters to heed Matt’s urgent appeals, creating moments of frustration for both the character and the audience.

A Riveting Cinematic Experience

While “Retribution” may not reinvent the action thriller genre, it offers a riveting and compact cinematic experience. The film’s masterful twist with the revelation of the antagonist and its visually impressive explosions add cinematic flair. Despite some narrative gaps, the film’s editing and brisk pacing maintain non-stop suspense.

Conclusion: A Solid Addition to Neeson’s Filmography

For fans of Liam Neeson, “Retribution” is a must-watch journey that showcases the actor’s enduring prowess, even if it doesn’t break new ground. The film’s tight 90-minute runtime ensures a brisk and electrifying ride, making it a solid addition to Neeson’s action-packed filmography. As Neeson’s charisma continues to dominate the screen, “Retribution” stands as a testament to his unwavering ability to keep audiences on the edge of their seats.

Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

The Verdict On Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny: Is It Worth Your Time Or Money??

Plot: Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is the fifth and final installment in the Indiana Jones film series and the sequel to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008). Set in 1969, the film follows Indiana Jones and his estranged goddaughter Helena Shaw trying to locate a device that could change the course of history before Jürgen Voller, a Nazi-turned-NASA scientist, can take it for himself and change the outcome of World War II.

Cast: The film stars Harrison Ford, John Rhys-Davies, and Karen Allen reprising their roles as Indiana Jones, Sallah, and Marion Ravenwood, respectively, from earlier films. New cast members include Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Antonio Banderas, Toby Jones, Boyd Holbrook, Ethann Isidore, and Mads Mikkelsen.

Review

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” masterfully takes audiences on an exciting and nostalgic adventure, reviving the beloved franchise with Harrison Ford reprising his iconic role as Indiana Jones. The film successfully weaves thrilling escapades, humorous banter, and familiar tropes that fans have cherished for decades, delivering an exhilarating cinematic experience.

The movie’s captivating storyline transports viewers to the tumultuous events of World War II in 1944, where Indiana Jones and Basil Shaw embark on a mission to retrieve the revered Lance of Longinus. The unexpected twist introduces the fascinating Antikythera mechanism, known as the Dial of Destiny, that can detect fissures in time. This element adds a layer of intrigue and excitement to the already gripping plot.

Harrison Ford’s portrayal of an aging Indiana Jones is a tour de force, capturing the character’s gruff exterior and underlying vulnerability with remarkable nuance. His magnetic presence on-screen reminds us why Indiana Jones has become a cultural icon, evoking a warm sense of nostalgia for long-time fans and captivating new audiences alike.

The film also embraces an introspective theme of personal growth and legacy as it leaps to 1969, revealing an older Indiana Jones grappling with the passing of time and profound personal loss. Ford’s performance imbues the character with depth and authenticity, allowing viewers to empathize with Jones’ journey of self-discovery and rediscovery.

The movie’s action sequences, a hallmark of the Indiana Jones franchise, are nothing short of spectacular. The heart-pounding moments on a Nazi train filled with pilfered antiquities and the daring escape before its destruction showcase the film’s ability to deliver high-stakes adventure while keeping audiences on the edge of their seats.

Furthermore, the return of beloved characters like Marion and Sallah brings a sense of familiarity and warmth to the film, celebrating the franchise’s rich history and deepening the emotional connections between characters.

“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” seamlessly blends nostalgic elements with fresh and captivating storytelling, making it a thrilling addition to the legendary franchise. The film captures the essence of what made the original films so special while also presenting an exciting new chapter in Indiana Jones’ adventures.

The movie’s impressive visual effects enhance the overall experience, transporting viewers to different eras and exotic locales, further immersing them in the awe-inspiring world of Indiana Jones.

In conclusion, “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” triumphs as a positive testament to the enduring appeal of the franchise. It successfully captures the magic of the original films while introducing a compelling new narrative and character dynamics. With Harrison Ford’s remarkable performance, engaging action sequences, and heartwarming connections to beloved characters, the film proves to be a resounding success and a worthy continuation of the iconic Indiana Jones saga.

Rating 3/5 Stars

The Verdict On Transformers: Rise of the Beasts: Is It Worth Your Time Or Money??

Plot: Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is primarily influenced by the Beast Wars storyline. It is the seventh installment in the Transformers live-action film series and serves as a standalone sequel to Bumblebee (2018) and a prequel to Transformers (2007). In the film, Noah Diaz and Elena Wallace must join forces with the Autobots and the Maximals to prevent the arrival of the planet-eater Transformer, Unicron, when the Terrorcons and an army of Predacon scorpions, led by Scourge, seek to obtain the Transwarp Key.

Cast: The film was directed by Steven Caple Jr. from a screenplay by Joby Harold, Darnell Metayer, Josh Peters, Erich Hoeber, and Jon Hoeber. It stars Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback, as well as the voice talents of Ron Perlman, Peter Dinklage, Pete Davidson, Michelle Yeoh, Liza Koshy, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, Cristo Fernández, Tongayi Chirisa, Colman Domingo, and returning franchise regulars Peter Cullen, John DiMaggio, and David Sobolov.

Review

“Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” takes audiences on a thrilling journey through the iconic Transformers universe. Serving as the seventh installment in the live-action film series, it pays homage to the beloved Beast Wars storyline. Directed by Steven Caple Jr. and featuring an all-star cast, this film is a standalone sequel to “Bumblebee” (2018) and a prequel to “Transformers” (2007). Packed with action, humour, and a touch of nostalgia, it offers a fresh and captivating experience for fans of all ages.

The film introduces us to a new subspecies of Transformers known as the Maximals, who play a pivotal role in the battle against the Terrorcons and their leader, Scourge. These nefarious creatures are determined to acquire the Transwarp Key and unleash the destructive power of Unicron, a planet-eating Transformer. Noah Diaz, portrayed by Anthony Ramos, and Elena Wallace, played by Dominique Fishback, find themselves unexpectedly drawn into the midst of this epic conflict. Noah, a former military electronics expert, and Elena, a determined artifacts expert, face personal challenges while navigating the world of the Transformers.

Under the skilled direction of Steven Caple Jr., the cast of “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” delivers remarkable performances. Ron Perlman’s commanding voice brings Optimus Primal, the leader of the Maximals, to life. Michelle Yeoh lends her smooth and calming voice to Airazor, a captivating falcon bot. Notable voice talents such as Peter Dinklage, Pete Davidson, Liza Koshy, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, and Cristo Fernández contribute to the film’s diverse and dynamic characters. The on-screen chemistry between Anthony Ramos and Pete Davidson’s Mirage adds a layer of humour and levity to the narrative.

The film’s setting in the early 1990s and an incredible soundtrack featuring 90s hip-hop classics transports viewers back in time. Cinematographer Enrique Chediak skillfully captures the action sequences, ensuring clarity and coherence in the fast-paced battles. The stunning visuals showcase the intricate designs of the Autobots, Maximals, and Terrorcons, allowing fans to appreciate the unique characteristics of each Transformer. This departure from Michael Bay’s explosive style breathes new life into the franchise, offering a fresh and visually appealing experience.

“Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” strikes a balance between exhilarating action and compelling human stories. It follows Noah and Elena as they grapple with personal challenges while being caught in the crossfire of the battle between good and evil. The film explores themes of resilience, family, and the power of unlikely alliances. This human-centered approach creates a deeper emotional connection with the audience, making the characters relatable and their struggles more impactful.

As the credits roll, a mid-credits scene hints at exciting developments to come in the Transformers cinematic universe. This ensures that fans can eagerly anticipate future installments, keeping the franchise alive and evolving. “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” is not just a standalone film; it sets the stage for a broader and more thrilling narrative.

“Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” rejuvenates the franchise with its fresh take on the beloved Beast Wars storyline. With its exceptional cast, stunning visuals, and engaging narrative, the film delivers an unforgettable cinematic experience. Balancing action-packed battles with relatable human stories, it captures the essence of the Transformers universe while introducing new elements and characters. This captivating installment ensures that fans of all ages, both new and old, can revel in the excitement and anticipation for what lies ahead. “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” is a triumphant addition to the franchise, leaving audiences eagerly awaiting the next thrilling chapter in this cinematic universe. Prepare yourself for an unforgettable journey into the world of Transformers, where the line between good and evil is blurred, and the fate of the universe hangs in the balance.

Rating 3/5 Stars

The Verdict On The Clearing: Is It Worth Streaming Or Skipping??

In the thrilling world of “The Clearing,” a captivating Australian television series on Disney+, the trio of Guy Pearce, Miranda Otto, and Teresa Palmer takes center stage. Inspired by a real-life doomsday brainwashing cult, this eight-part psychological thriller delves into the dark depths of cults, brainwashed children, and the chilling power of charismatic leaders. With Palmer’s notable background in horror films, including “Warm Bodies” (2013), “Lights Out” (2016), and “The Twin” (2022), her presence adds an intriguing dynamic to the show’s narrative.

Starring Miranda Otto, Teresa Palmer, and Guy Pearce, “The Clearing” is a collaboration between directors Jeffrey Walker and Gracie Otto. The series is based on J. P. Pomare’s gripping book, “In the Clearing,” which fictionalizes the real-life Australian New Age group called The Family. The 2019 documentary series, “The Cult of the Family, ” has also explored the story.” With an ensemble cast that includes Julia Savage, Lily LaTorre, Flynn Wandin, and Kate Mulvany, the show weaves a complex tale inspired by actual events.

“The Clearing” presents two parallel storylines that intricately intertwine. The first focuses on the Kindred, a cult that manipulates young children, molding them into what they consider to be perfect adults. The second storyline follows Freya (played by Teresa Palmer), a mother plagued by worry after learning about a girl’s disappearance. Freya resides in a hidden house in the woods, diligently watching over her son. Her deep connection to the cult becomes apparent as she lives in constant fear, revealing herself as a survivor marked by paranoia. Palmer’s performance is exceptional, as her character’s enigmatic nature piques our curiosity, leaving us eager to uncover the mysteries behind her unease, especially when triggered by the sight of a white van. Freya straddles the cult’s inner and outer worlds, positioning herself uniquely within the story.

Miranda Otto delivers a mesmerizing portrayal of “Mattrea,” affectionately known as “Mama” or “Mommy” by the children of the Kindred. Mattrea, the matriarch of the cult, aims to raise children shielded from the restrictive rules of society, striving for purity and untainted innocence. Otto skillfully balances a smug sophistication with an underlying sense of madness. Despite the cruel treatment she inflicts upon the children, her conviction that she is safeguarding them from the horrors of the outside world is unnerving. Otto’s portrayal brings forth a troubled, calm, and terrifying character with charisma befitting a cult leader.

Julia Savage’s exceptional performance as Amy, an attention-seeking child desperate for Mattrea’s approval, adds another layer of complexity to the storyline. Despite her young age, Savage skillfully embodies the role, leaving no doubt that her talent will continue to shine in future endeavors.

While the initial episode of “The Clearing” may be disorienting, requiring a second viewing to comprehend the characters and their connections, it immerses viewers directly into the heart of the cult. The blonde-haired children and the enigmatic figures of Tasmin, Hannah, Henrik, and Dr. Latham provoke intrigue. The show deliberately withholds specific explanations, leaving us to piece together the puzzle of this cult’s inner workings. As the narrative unfolds, we witness the children’s eerie morning exercises, identical clothing, and the psychological manipulation they endure.

“The Clearing” delves into the unsettling territory of cult leaders and their followers, particularly when children are targeted. The show’s ability to capture the disturbing essence of actual events adds an extra layer of chill to the narrative. It expertly weaves together parallel storylines, keeping viewers captivated as they navigate through the intricate web of past and present, reality and nightmare.

The co-creators, Elise McCredie and Matt Cameron, along with co-writer Osamah Sami, demonstrate their skill in crafting a disturbing and mesmerizing mystery. Despite the show’s foundation in real-life events, it maintains a delicate balance, avoiding melodrama and allowing the performances to shine. Without the powerful portrayals of Palmer, Otto, Pearce, Mulvany, and Savage, “The Clearing” could have been just another run-of-the-mill mystery series. However, their compelling performances elevate the show, captivating audiences and keeping them engaged in solving the enigma that unfolds before them, even if some aspects of the big reveal may be predictable.

“The Clearing” takes viewers on a chilling journey through the world of cults and brainwashing, inspired by actual events that make the narrative all the more haunting. With a talented ensemble cast led by Miranda Otto, Teresa Palmer, and Guy Pearce, the series expertly explores the complex dynamics of cult leaders and the innocent lives they manipulate. While the initial confusion of the first episode may require some patience, the subsequent episodes reveal a meticulously crafted storyline that blurs the lines between reality and nightmare.

This psychological thriller leaves a lasting impact as it delves into the depths of cult indoctrination, resonating with the audience long after the final episode. “The Clearing” serves as a reminder of the power of charismatic leaders and the potential darkness that can lurk beneath seemingly idyllic facades. Brace yourself for a chilling and mesmerizing journey as you immerse yourself in the eerie world of “The Clearing.”

Rating 3/5 Stars

The Verdict On ‘Streets of Colour:’ Is It Worth Your Time And Money??

“Streets of Colour” is a captivating film that takes viewers on a compelling journey alongside Tez, a 25-year-old drug dealer grappling with a profound cultural identity crisis and battling drug addiction. Set in a low socio-economic area burdened with racism and a cultural divide, the film explores the hardships Tez, a Middle Eastern boy, faces as he navigates the complexities of growing up.

At its core, “Streets of Colour” delves into the universal experiences children and teenagers encounter—the struggle to fit in and the journey towards self-identity and self-acceptance, encompassing aspects such as race, culture, religion, and gender. It poignantly captures the challenges individuals from diverse backgrounds face when confronted with societal prejudices. Filmed in Mt Druitt, Blacktown, and Penrith, the movie authentically portrays the realities of these locations, providing a platform to shed light on pressing issues such as racism, culture, friendship, and hope.

Written and directed by local filmmaker Ronnie S. Riskalla, who hails from Mt Druitt, “Streets of Colour” is a testament to the talent and diversity that emerges from these areas. The film aims to raise awareness about the critical social issues it addresses and showcase the immense creative potential within these communities.

Through its compelling narrative, “Streets of Colour” invites audiences to reflect on the complexities of cultural identity, the repercussions of racism, and the transformative power of friendship and hope. It serves as a platform for meaningful discussions about pressing social issues while celebrating the diverse talents that emerge from marginalized communities. By shining a light on individuals’ struggles like Tez, the film encourages empathy, understanding, and a call for positive change in our society.

“Streets of Colour” delves into the gripping story of Tez, brilliantly portrayed by Rahel Romahn, a character whose life has spun out of control due to drug addiction. The film shatters the notion of an ideal recovery from substance abuse, as Tez is far from the perfect candidate for redemption. He grapples with his own demons, telling lies, resisting advice, and clinging to the belief that he can salvage his old lifestyle. However, as the story unfolds, a glimmer of hope emerges, hinting at the possibility of a transformative journey toward healing.

The movie is an emotionally charged film that follows the poignant narrative of a young man from Mt Druitt as he confronts the trials of love, loss, and coming of age. It delves into themes of friendship, love, and addiction as Tez endeavors to reclaim his life to reunite with his son. Tez’s character is complex, depicted at his highest and lowest points, showcasing his internal battles and how he copes with deep-seated insecurities. Tired of the monotony of his existence, Tez confronts the idea of responsibility and commitment when the opportunity to reconnect with his son arises. This pivotal moment forces him to confront his inner struggles head-on.

Rahel Romahn’s portrayal of Tez is nothing short of exceptional. He masterfully captures the multifaceted emotions of being trapped in a stagnant life, grappling with the notion of change and self-improvement. Through Tez’s transformative journey, he learns that true happiness is not found in evading one’s problems but in confronting them with courage and resilience.

“Streets of Colour” also delves into deep religious issues, offering an exploration that resists providing easy answers. Life itself rarely presents us with simple solutions, and this movie reflects that reality. It delves into the complexities of faith, showcasing that God’s presence endures even in the darkest moments of life. The film raises profound questions about spirituality and the human experience, leaving audiences with much to contemplate long after the credits roll.

One of the film’s greatest strengths lies in its authentic portrayal of urban life, a perspective often underrepresented in mainstream cinema. It offers a raw and unfiltered look into the challenges faced by individuals living in low socio-economic areas. By bringing these stories to the forefront, the film sheds light on the resilience, struggles, and triumphs of communities that are frequently marginalized. It captures the essence of these environments, allowing viewers to gain a deeper understanding and empathy for the characters and their circumstances.

The “Streets of Colour” cast delivers exceptional performances that enhance the film’s impact. Athiéi shines as Tina Honsou, the mother of Tez’s son, portrays her role’s emotional weight and complexity with remarkable skill. Veronica Cloherty delivers a standout performance as Tez’s girlfriend, who displays unwavering support despite her own battle with a serious ailment. Her portrayal brings depth and authenticity to their relationship, highlighting the power of love and resilience in the face of adversity.

Elliott Giarola’s portrayal of Kyle Madden, a character whose life spirals into drug addiction following the tragic loss of his friend at the hands of his own brother, is truly captivating. Giarola brings an emotional intensity to the role, capturing the depths of Kyle’s pain and the destructive path he embarks on. His performance adds a layer of complexity to the narrative, emphasizing the consequences of grief and the impact it can have on one’s life.

“Streets of Colour” is an inspirational movie that embraces the complexities of life and refuses to offer easy answers. It is an artful exploration of deep religious themes, showcasing the presence of God even in the darkest of times. The film authentically portrays urban life, shedding light on the struggles and resilience of marginalized communities. With a talented cast that delivers outstanding performances, the movie presents an emotionally charged narrative that resonates with audiences. Ultimately, it leaves viewers with a message of hope, highlighting the silver linings that can emerge from even the harshest hardships.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

To ensure audiences from various regions can experience this cinematic gem, the film will be screened at multiple locations nationwide.

SYDNEY

Casula Powerhouse | Saturday, July 22, 2023

Actors Centre, Leichhardt | Monday, July 31, 2023

Parramatta Riverside | Thursday, August 24, Friday, August 25, and Saturday, September 2, 2023

LAUNCESTON

Village Cinemas | Sunday, August 6, 2023

PERTH

The Backlot | Sunday, August 13, 2023

BRISBANE

New Farm Cinemas | Wednesday, August 16, 2023

The Verdict On “Shazam! Fury of the Gods:” Is It Worth Your Time And Money??

“Shazam! Fury of the Gods” is a 2023 DC film directed by David F. Sandberg and a sequel to the 2019 film “Shazam!”. The film follows Billy Batson (Asher Angel) and his comical superhero alter ego, Shazam (Zachary Levi), as they face off against a new villain, Hespera (Helen Mirren), and her brother Kalypso (Lucy Liu), who seek to take over the world using their godly powers.

The movie begins with an action-packed sequence that introduces Hespera and Kalypso, who are shown to be immensely powerful beings with control over various elements of nature. The opening sets the tone for the rest of the movie, as it promises a high-stakes battle between Shazam and these formidable foes.

As the story unfolds, we see that Billy struggles with his dual identity and superhero responsibilities. He is still figuring out how to control his powers and feels the world’s weight on his shoulders. However, he is not alone, as his foster siblings and his best friend Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) are there to support him.

The movie strikes a perfect balance between action and comedy, with several laugh-out-loud moments that are sure to delight audiences of all ages. The chemistry between the cast members is excellent, and the witty banter between Billy and Freddy is particularly enjoyable. The film also has several heartfelt moments as it explores the theme of family and the importance of standing by the people you love.

One of the movie’s strengths is its stunning visual effects, which truly bring the world of Shazam to life. The fight scenes are expertly orchestrated, and slow-motion and other special effects add to the spectacle.

Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu deliver standout performances as Hespera and Kalypso, respectively. They are menacing and captivating, and their characters’ motivations are well-developed. The movie also features several surprise appearances from other DC Comics characters, which are sure to excite fans of the franchise.

“Shazam! Fury of the Gods” is definitely a fantastic sequel that lives up to the high bar set by its predecessor. It is a fun, action-packed, and heartwarming movie that will appeal to both casual moviegoers and die-hard comic book fans. David F. Sandberg has done an excellent job of balancing the story’s various elements, and the result is a film that is sure to be a hit. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys superhero movies and is looking for a good time at the cinema.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Editorial credit: Hamara / Shutterstock.com

The Verdict On Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania: Is It Worth Your Time & Money?

Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania happens to be the latest installment in the Ant-Man franchise, and it certainly did not disappoint. Directed by Peyton Reed, the film brings back the beloved characters of Ant-Man and The Wasp while also introducing new characters and storylines.

The film starts with Scott Lang, played by Paul Rudd, trying to balance his life as a superhero with his responsibilities as a father. However, things quickly take a turn when he gets sucked into the quantum realm and encounters new threats and challenges.

One of the film’s highlights is the introduction of Kang the Conqueror, played by Jonathan Majors. Kang is a complex and intriguing villain who adds a new layer of depth to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Majors delivers a standout performance, capturing the nuances of the character’s motivations and personality.

Another standout performance comes from Evangeline Lilly as The Wasp. Her character is given more screen time and development in this film, and Lilly rises to the occasion with a powerful and emotional performance. The chemistry between her and Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man is also a highlight, as their banter and teamwork are a pleasure to watch onscreen.

The film also explores the concept of the multiverse, which is sure to be a significant plot point in the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Using the quantum realm to access the multiverse is an interesting and clever plot device, and it opens up endless possibilities for future stories and crossovers.

The action sequences in the film are top-notch, with creative use of the characters’ powers and abilities. The shrinking and growing abilities of Ant-Man and The Wasp are used in new and exciting ways, and the visual effects are stunning. The film also has a great sense of humour, with many laugh-out-loud moments that balance out the more serious aspects of the story.

Overall, Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania is a highly entertaining and satisfying addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The characters are well-developed, the performances are strong, and the action is exciting. The film also sets up exciting possibilities for the future of the franchise. Whether you’re a die-hard Marvel fan or a casual moviegoer, this film is sure to leave you satisfied and eager for more.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

“Top Gun: Maverick” Review: An Impressive Feat For A 30-Year-Old Sequel

Not sure if this disqualifies me from reviewing this film, but I gotta be honest, I never saw the original “Top Gun.” I know it was a big deal for a lot of people. It was probably a lot of people’s favorite movie, and it’s immortalized in nostalgia and yadda, yadda. Either way, I never saw it, and I didn’t know how important or necessary it was for this film since not everyone sequel relies on previous installments for their story material. I know that Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer were both in the original; they are in this new one, and it is apparently being toted as an even BIGGER, more successful deal than the first film was. “Top Gun: Maverick” is a big deal, and I don’t think anyone expected that even the fans of the original film, so let’s find out why.

Taking place 30 years after the first film, Maverick (Tom Cruise) returns to the US Navy air-born weapons school to serve as an instructor to a new team of recruits who are entering the same program, he and fellow wingman Iceman (Val Kilmer) were apart of years ago. Among the many challenging oppositions from his superiors questioning his teaching methods, Maverick also faces the grim position of instructing Bradley ‘Rooster’ Bradshaw (Mile Teller); the son of his deceased best friend ‘Goose.’ Now Maverick has to overcome these barriers and bring these new cadets up to speed for a new generation to take over the legacy of the TOPGUN program.

Without seeing the original film, one thing I definitely surmise as a highlight is Tom Cruise. Even when he’s playing a character from 30 years ago that I never grew up with or got attached to, I can tell he is bringing his A-game and making the most of this role and this film, and that is an infectious form of charm and energy. Cruise walks, talks and lives this role as if he’s always been playing this character during the entire 30-year gap between the two films. He comes back with natural excellence that inspires a fascination with every line, every snap back at a superior officer, or interaction with a trainee. Whether you have seen the first one or not, the level of dedication that was put into this film can be felt. There is effort, style, and hard work diligently being worked into its development, and even I have to applaud that.

Cruise is famous for doing his own stunts and making them as realistic (and often dangerous) as possible, and “Maverick” is no exception. The film puts you right into the cockpits and makes you feel every turn, spin, and launch off with the camera views and intense visual captures of the fighter jet sequences. It reminded me of a more realistic, better-portrayed version of the fighter plane sequence in “Independence Day,” minus the aliens. Behind-the-scenes reports indicate that all the flight training was real and showed on everyone’s facial expressions. You truly feel the need for speed, and it’s a well-executed experience that makes you feel like you are a part of it.

Unfortunately, all the finesse and style don’t help if you don’t give a damn about your cast, and sadly…I REALLY didn’t give a damn about this cast. Maverick’s trainees feel like a smushed-together group of rando’s meant to fill quotas and demographic carts than actual character arcs. They don’t feel like the next generation of anything; hell, I even forgot their supposed cool trademark codenames the minute I left the theater. The most problematic aspect easily galls to Goose’s sun, Rooster/Miles Teller. The character is irritatingly obnoxious to the point I wanted to slap that laughably fake-looking mustache off his ugly tanned face. If that stache is real, then it just proves that Teller can’t grow a mustache anymore than he can act. I didn’t care for his deal with Maverick, his past, or him or anyone else involved in the team, period.

Overall, “Top Gun: Maverick” will no doubt supremely please fans of the original with flying colors. The attention to detail, incredible flight scenes, and heart-filled effort from Cruise will satisfy any moviegoer looking for something fun to experience, and that’s an impressive feat for a 30-year-old sequel. The rest of the cast is as forgettable as they are pointless, they feel like stock photo inclusions rather than fleshed-out characters, and Miles Teller’s performance and subplot as Goose’s son go absolutely nowhere except in the back of my mind where it will be immediately forgotten. If you’re a “Top Gun” fan, this will be a must-see for you, but if you’re not, then I don’t think you’ll miss out on much if you let this one fly past you.

We give “Top Gun: Maverick” 2 stars out of 4 stars.

The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson Movie Review: A Reimagining Of An Australian Classic

Rob Collins, Bain Stewart, Leah Purcell, Greer Simpkin, and David Jowsey at THE DROVERS WIFE Red Carpet Gala Screening

For every Australian, the name Henry Lawson is a familiar fella. He was a renowned bush poet who penned the Drover’s wife- a nine paged short story of a fierce and protective mother defending her homestead in the bush from an intruder. The short story was published in 1892 Australia, and it needs an overdue makeover and reimagining for mo `dern audiences. 

In comes Leah Purcell, who to Herny Lawson’s Drover wife and reimagined in a post-colonial, indigenous feminist tale of Molly Johnson. Lawson’s original short story stayed with Leah since she was a little girl. 

“When I was five years old, my mother read the original 9-page Drover’s wife story by Henry Lawson; I could imagine myself in the story as the little boy as the protector of the story,” Purcell recalled when asked where she sourced her inspiration. 

The 9-page classic resonated with her as she was from a droving family, and they lived on the outskirts of a small country town. 

“My mother taught me how to split a log and stack a wood heat so the snakes wouldn’t get under, and it was all stuff that reverberated to the original story of the Drover’s wife. As a five-year-old, my imagination went wild, and I saw myself in the story.” 

 The short story was so profound that she adapted her reimagined tale for the third time, from a book to play and now to a cinematic masterpiece that premiered at the Randwick Ritz last month.

The film centres around Molly Johson (Leah Purcell), the eponymous Drover’s wife who is heavily pregnant, encounters an indigenous man, Yadaka (Rob Collins), who is on the run from police as he was a suspected murderer. At first, Molly Johnson was startled by the stranger. Then, however, she slowly unlocks her heritage’s secrets through spending time with Yadaka.

The central relationship between Yadaka and Molly was captivating. Originally, it refers to the “Stray black fellow” in the original and is described to be a “liar” and “cheat.” Purcell restores humanity in her reiteration of the classic. 

Initially, Molly was skeptical upon the arrival of Yadaka, warning the fugitive – “Cross me, and I’ll kill you.” However, she airs on the side of caution before helping him with his shackles once she witnesses that Yadaka teaches her eldest son, Danny (Malachi Dower-Roberts), how to use a spear properly. 

Yadaka also was the person who opened Molly’s eyes to her indigenous heritage and illuminated a part of her that was left dormant for years.

Yadaka later confides to Molly that the only crime he ever committed was “existing while Black.” when questioned why he was on the run from the law – circling back to the ugly racial politics that colonial Australia built on still subtly exists in modern Australia. 

The film continues to build on the legacy of unjust violence – not just against indigenous Australians but domestic violence. Later in the film, it implies that Molly was the prime suspect in her husband’s disappearance. However, the film also implies that the Drover was violent and a cheater and inflicted alot of danger on her and her children. Yet, due to their fierce devotion to her children and her motivation to protect herself, she did the unthinkable. 

Again, this resonates back to the MeToo movement where victims of sexual abuse and assault, who happen to be the majority of women, were never heard and how society sides with the perpetrators who happens to the majority of men.

The film is a cinematic tale of unrelenting feminist strength and highlights the legacy of violence that built colonial Australia. Interweaving elements of her indigenous roots and putting herself in a well-known Australian classic, Purcell has successfully “flipped the scripted” and turned it on its head.