All posts by Movie Burner Entertainment

The Movie Burner Entertainment Organisation (M.B.E.) was founded in January 2017 by Executive Producers John Walsh (Editor in Chief), Kevan McLaughlin (Head of Development) and Stephen McLaughlin (Head of Programming) as an entertainment platform to provide Movie News and Reviews. “The Movie Burners” expanded the writing team and introduced experienced writers Chauncey Telese, D.M. Anderson, Michael McGeown, Anna-Maria McAlinney, Steven Wilkins, Philip Henry, John Gray, Gianni Damai, Gerry Brown and Elizabeth Brown (The Movie Couple) and Peter Pluymers on board with a vast knowledge of film and give their view on the latest and retro movie reviews. The Movie Burner Entertainment Organisation (M.B.E.) Official Website (www.movieburnerentertainment.org) hosts the reviews. The Movie Burners Podcast hit the airwaves on SoundCloud and are now weekly shows (Box Office Chat, MBE Heroes, Movie Burner News, The Blog Rundown and The Force Friday Show) that you can find on iTunes & YouTube.

The Professor (2018) Movie Review By Peter Pluymers

 

The Professor Review

Director: Wayne Roberts
Writer: Wayne Roberts
Stars: Johnny Depp, Rosemarie DeWitt, Odessa Young

Let me start in a cheeky and derogatory tone. Let’s take Jack Sparrow, promote him to be an eloquent university professor teaching literature and tell him that he’s terminally ill. If you watch the movie “The Professor” (the original movie title was “Richard says goodbye“) with a dismissive attitude, you could utter such a statement. Well. Johnny Depp may have the tendency to use the ever-drunk pirate character. But otherwise, this entertaining tragicomedy doesn’t have much in common or many similarities with the Caribbean pirate spectacle. Even if the film is steeped with dark humour, a deeply tragic subject can still be discovered. A message about acceptance and an attitude of resignation. Though, Richard’s (Johnny Depp) way of acceptance and resignation can be called very rigorous.

Instead of a tough treatment against the proliferating ailment, Richard decides to let things carry on as they are and completely change the course of his life (the subtle Sparrow-references come to mind spontaneously). That means enjoying life to the full. In short, exploiting the saying “Carpe Diem” in an extreme way. Richard gets dead drunk continuously, smokes pot on a regular basis and ventures into unabashed free sex. In fact, with both sexes and with the approval of his wife who confessed she’s having an affair with Richard’s boss. So you can say that the bad news told by his doctor, caused a groundbreaking turn in his personal life. For the bystanders, however, it seems as if he has become completely insane.

This is without a doubt one of the most successful interpretations of Depp in years. Here this energetic actor shows he can act for sure. I fully understand that he was given this part. The rebellious character of the egocentric figure Richard fits effortlessly with a figure like Johnny Depp. Perhaps his personal private situation provided the appropriate state of mind to play this indifferent intellectualist. His sarcastic view on life produces amusing scenes. The recklessness with which he plunges into adventures, causes others to frown. As a viewer, you understand this turnaround much better. As a result, Richard finds himself in some fairly bizarre situations in which his wife Veronica (Rosemarie DeWitt), daughter Olivia (Odessa Young) and best friend Peter (Danny Huston) are involved. By the way, I didn’t think the acting performance of these last actors was that bad either. Apart from the theatrical drama of Danny Huston.

“The Professor” probably won’t appeal to a younger audience. It’s not really a movie that will make you happy. I guess it applies to all films that deal with this terrible disease. Yet “The Professor” succeeded in transforming this tragic fact into something humorous. That the end would become more emotional (you could use the expression corny as well) was of course inevitable. Serious films where you are confronted with the concepts of finiteness and death clearly does something with a person. It makes you think about the meaning of life and what you have achieved. And I agree that as I grow older my thoughts sometimes drift away into that area. After seeing this film, I think I will drastically revise my opinion and also take a “Je mon fou” attitude like Richard. So I can fully enjoy everything in the time that’s left. That seems a more pleasant way to end my earthly journey.

Gemini Man (2019) Movie Review By D.M Anderson

 

Gemini Man ReviewDirector: Ang Lee
Writers: David Benioff (screenplay), Billy Ray (screenplay)
Stars: Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen

Ultimately, Gemini Man might have been partially undone by its own trailer, which spills the beans that Will Smith is a retiring government assassin forced to square-off against his younger self, an equally-skilled clone developed by his own people. But even though I think this is a dish that would have been best-served cold, it’s also a pricey, high-concept action picture and one would be hard-pressed to create any kind of promotional campaign that didn’t tease the viewer with two Will Smiths.

The problem is the way the narrative actually unfolds. Henry Brogan (Smith) is betrayed by the DIA after learning his last kill was not the terrorist he was led to believe, but a scientist working for the DIA on a black-ops project called ‘Gemini,’ headed by its nefarious director, Clay Varris (Clive Owen). Varris sends his best assassin to track-down and kill Brogan. Up to this point, Gemini Man is a watchable-but-unremarkable thriller featuring solid performances by Smith and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, the latter of whom who is a tough, resourceful DIA agent originally assigned to keep an eye on him, but ends up a target herself.

Neither learns who’s actually hunting them until well-into the second act and is obviously intended to be the story’s big revelation. But since the audience is privy to all of this from the get-go, instead of being pleasantly surprised by the sudden plot twist, we spend the first hour waiting for Brogan to figure out what we already know. The remainder of the film plays itself out in predictable fashion and is certainly watchable, but I suspect viewers going into this completely cold would have a lot more fun with it.

Elsewhere, Gemini Man works best when director Ang Lee briefly returns to his comfort zone, which is exploring the internal conflict of both Brogan and “Junior,” the latter of whom is also played by Smith through motion capture and CGI. Speaking of which, the ballyhooed “de-aging” of Smith works about as well as it has in other recent films like The Irishman and Endgame: Not entirely convincing, but less of a distraction once we acclimate ourselves. The action itself ranges from exciting to ridiculous. A close-quarters fight in the catacombs of Budapest is impressive, but a CGI-heavy motorcycle chase earlier in the film plays more like a Grand Theft Auto mission. The climax itself has our protagonists surrounded by dozens of Gemini super-soldiers, yet they’re collectively worse shots than Imperial Stormtroopers and are little more than canon fodder.

But again, Gemini Man is ultimately more of a marketing mistake than a failure as a film. The characters and performances are enjoyable and even the action is kind-of fun, like an exciting video game. However, the overall narrative is hampered by waiting so long to reveal what we already know without really expanding on such an inherently intriguing concept any further.

Parasite (2019) Movie Review By Gianni Damaia

Parasite ReviewGisaengchung (original title)

Director: Bong Joon Ho
Writers: Bong Joon Ho (story), Bong Joon Ho (screenplay)
Stars: Kang-ho Song, Sun-kyun Lee, Yeo-jeong Jo

Not only one of the best films of the year, but what likely will go down as one of the best films ever made, Parasite is my choice for number 1. I know it’s a bold claim, but if ever there was a film so perfectly conceived in the 2000’s, it’s this one. This may not be the choice you expected from the guy that gave this slot to Creed 2 last year (does that shake your faith in me? I don’t care. I love Adonis more than you, dear reader), but when a movie like this comes along it is not something to be ignored. What can I say about Parasite that hasn’t been said already.

This film is so remarkably in control that the genre changes indiscernibly from scene to scene. It is a masterclass in filmmaking. The characters are breathtakingly real. The actors are heart-wrenchingly earnest. The production design of the two primary locations allow for some of the most awe inspiring visuals ever put to screen, allowing for analysis of the subliminal implications for years to come. Parasite is a rare movie that gets better the more you pick it apart. Whether it’s discussing the themes, character motivations, or obscure journey, Parasite is the gift that continually gives more and more with each frame. Is there a flaw in it? I keep seeing it in theatres looking for one, but it constantly alludes me. I would never be so crass as to assume that a film exists flawlessly.

The collaboration involved is such a feat in itself that it renders it nearly impossible. Yet, this may in fact be that film. The one that breaks rules constantly is also the one that cannot be caught in a trap of critique. Maybe it’s heavy handed with it’s topic? But even that statement is so paper thin that it could only knock off a fraction from this being a perfect 10.. See Parasite. There’s nothing more to say. 9.9/10

Little Women (2019) Movie Review By Gianni Damaia

 

Little Women Review

Director: Greta Gerwig
Writers: Greta Gerwig, Louisa May Alcott (based on the novel by)
Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh

I waited to publish this list until I saw Little Women. And that decision proves more and more wise the longer I sit with it. Greta Gerwig captures emotion in film as if she invented it. Similarly to my observation about how The Irishman is more than it may seemingly appear, Little Women presents far more raw, earnest brilliance than you may grasp in a passing glance or a trailer. We’ve all seen the Oscar-baity period piece with respectable actresses (doesn’t it always seem to be Keira Knightley? She’s brilliant but like…) with posh language and extravagant gowns.

We exit the theatre a little let down thinking, “I’ve seen this before”, and so we say to each other on the way out things we’d never think to say, like, “really strong production design,” or, “definitely felt authentic”. This is not that movie. Little Women is a timeless examination of intimacy. With just a line of dialogue, Gerwig is able to tether you entirely to the journey of her characters, a journey that feels like a path you’ve walked yourself. A struggle to connect or feel important or feel desired or give love. And through all of it you inherently come to understand that you’ve known these women your entire life. Through their tumultuous, childhood innocence all the way through their oppressive present.

The performances uncovered from this rambunctious group are among the year’s best, not just in their passionate devotion to the text but also their experimental desire to fight for something with their entire soul. In this way, it feels the natural assessment to address Gerwig as the next Cassavettes: director/writers that understand their stories thoroughly enough to allow others to experiment with them, knowing full well that with their guidance, a long leash will inevitably guide their troupe on the road home. Were I to name flaws (and of course I must otherwise my own OCD would crucify itself), they would be akin to some of Cassavettes best work. Gerwig is more concerned with performance than continuity (hardly a critique, I know), and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention there was one casting choice that distances itself from the proper vision of what it ultimately is trying to achieve. But what does it matter? When I finally perfect this list and decide to publish it to the 10’s of people that may glance upon it, Little Women is likely the film I will run the theatre to go and see and cry at again. 9.7/10

Knives Out (2019) Movie Review By Gianni Damaia

 

Knives Out Review

Director: Rian Johnson
Writer: Rian Johnson
Stars: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas

A masterful genre recreation that cements Rian Johnson’s legacy, Knives Out is easily the most entertaining film of the year topped with a poignant political message that subliminally lines the final moments. Wow. Big words. Knives Out is pure entertainment. It’s relentless energetic. It demands your attention and holds it. It’s an absolute marvel. I shouldn’t need to tell you anymore than that. But I will. Because it wouldn’t be fair otherwise. Knives Out takes an incredible risk. It gives you a considerable amount of information right up front. It also introduces one of the boldest plot devices in recent cinema (a character trait that is absolutely hilarious, but also befuddling upon introduction).

What results is more of a cat and mouse game than a classic whodunit. And you have an emotional connection to the protagonist to boot! But the moment when the shoe drops, the moment you’ve been agonising over for nearly 2 hours (that moment of getting the full truth), is so gratifying that it actually makes me smile just reminiscing about it. The range of emotions Johnson is able to touch on in that brilliant swelling climax is nothing short of remarkable. And the performances! Everyone across the board (save one actress that I won’t signal out but was unenthused by) delivers riveting drama. Each is guilty. What exactly they’re guilty of is the question. And that question becomes the driving force of one of the smartest narratives I’ve ever had the pleasure of sitting through. This is undeniably a boring review.

Who wants to read nothing but raves? As I alluded earlier, my only issue lies in an actress that I believe is miscast. As I say all the time, everyone is capable of good work, some things are just better examples than others. This actress is constantly playing at emotions rather than feeling them and unfortunately she plays a crucial role. It becomes grating. But whatever. This movie is nearly flawless. Please go see Knives Out immediately. Please give me all the sequels so I can hear that delightfully campy foghorn leghorn accent that Daniel Craig has over and over again. 9.5/10

Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood (2019) Movie Review By Gianni Damaia

 

Once Upon A Time...In Hollywood Review

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Writer: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie

Tarantino’s sterling achievement is a hang out movie. And I mean that with all the love and adoration I can muster. It’s interesting that two of the greatest auteurs of our time create two of their greatest works in the same year (Scorsese and Tarantino) because they have quite a bit in common under the hood. It’s easy to look at OUATIH and think of it as simplistic. To judge a film by its plot is to deprive yourself of all the brilliance a man like Tarantino is able to create. Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth will go down in history as two of the most remarkably lovely characters ever put to screen. Performances aside (and they are a wonder), Tarantino has taken a step back from his usually rocky terrain that pits complex people at odds and decided to examine the compassion within himself instead.

Cliff and Rick are eccentric, vivacious, and exceptionally generous to one another. We don’t root for these two to succeed because a plot dictates it to us. We root for them because we relate and admire their companionship. OUATIH is a film about the familial bonds we create for ourselves. But of course that’s not all it’s about. You’re waiting for me to address ‘the good part’. The conceptual genius of Tarantino that had us giddy with anticipation. The recreation of the events the night Sharon Tate was murdered is a revelatory plot device. I of course cannot resign myself to spoilers, but I will say that Tarantino has crafted the most wholesome depiction of violence ever put to screen. It’s the most delightfully aggressive reaction to any tragedy. OUATIH is undoubtably a fairytale.

The same kind that allowed for escapist fantasy to place you in a world where people are either just or unjust, either saving a princess from a castle or locking her in one. And it’s that same fairytale justice that allowed for an actor and his stuntman to save the golden age of Hollywood with a simple act of circumstance. Similarly to The Irishman, does everything work to the advantage of this uniformed theme? No. But what does it matter if the ride in is so delightfully honest and fun? 9.5/10