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    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 4.0
    • Acting 3.0
    • Dialogue 3.0
    • Screen Play 3.0
    • Visuals 3.0

    The Harder They Fall

    PG - Western, Action, Drama | November 3, 2021 Storyline:

    Jonathan Majors stars as Nate Love, an outlaw who reassembles his former gang to seek revenge against the man who killed his parents.

    • 3.2
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 6 months ago

    Jeymes Samuel's western is an intriguing tale of revenge made more appealing with a talented ensemble cast and hard-hitting action.

    Jonathan Majors' take on a protagonist bent on executing the man who murdered his parents is pretty convincing but it's the charismatic Idris Elba as the villain who makes you want to see how this bloody tale ends.

    Majors is Nate Love, a man who watched the notorious Rufus Buck (Elba) kill his parents as a child. For some reason, Rufus decides to spare the kid's life, giving him a scar on the head before leaving.

    Years later, Nate has become the leader of his gang. When he hears that Rufus is getting out of prison, he mobilizes his gang for the inevitable confrontation he has waited for all his life.

    If there is one thing that makes The Harder They Fall really unique is the way the director uses music to set the tone and mood of almost every scene. It works so well that you get lost in the plot and can't quite distinguish the melody from the mayhem which happens from time to time.

    Westerns aren't particularly known to boast spectacular cinematography so this one doesn't really shine in that category. But the action scenes which are well-choreographed and bloody make for a visual spectacle because of the way they are shot.

    Talking about the action, there isn't as much as one would expect given what is glimpsed in the trailer. After the first few scenes, the middle is more or less filled with dialogue and this is where there is a little lagging in terms of pacing. But when the final confrontation does begin, it's truly something to behold.

    The acting here is top-notch (that is to be expected given that the casting director managed to get some of the best black actors in Hollywood). Jonathan Majors as the lead is compelling to watch but I was a bit disappointed that his journey to becoming the outlaw he is wasn't shown. Also, it felt like there were some unexplored layers to the character.

    The supporting cast members gave phenomenal performances but three names come to mind as the ones who make this movie simply worth it. They are Idris Elba, Regina King, and Lakeith Stanfield.

    Zazie Beetz as the love interest of the hero isn't portrayed as your typical damsel in distress (that is until she becomes a damsel in distress). She is a fighter whose showdown with Regina King's Trudy Smith proves to be the best part of the third act.

    Idris Elba as Rufus Buck is simply amazing (I'm yet to see a role the actor messed up). He inspires fear in both his allies and enemies, plus he is a man of few words who lets his actions speak for him. The distaste I felt for the character disappeared when he and the hero finally had their moment in the third act. 

    The dialogue is well-written and apart from some questionable choices made by a few characters, The Harder They Fall proves to be worth it.

    Jeymes Samuel delivers with The Harder They Fall and I hope to see more action drama flicks from him in the near future.


     

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    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 4.0
    • Acting 4.0
    • Dialogue 3.0
    • Screen Play 3.0
    • Visuals 4.0

    Finch

    PG - Sci-fi, Drama | November 5, 2021 Storyline:

    In a post-apocalyptic future, a lone man builds a robot to protect his life. The machine learns about life, love, friendship, and what it means to be human.

    • 3.6
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 6 months ago

    Finch is one of those movies that fall into the category of those flicks that lack originality but when you have an actor like Tom Hanks headlining it, you easily forget that because he gives you countless reasons to.

    Directed by Miguel Sapochnik (the filmmaker behind some of those breathtaking battles in Game of Thrones), this sci-fi drama sees the eponymous character (played by Hanks) create a robot (Caleb Landry Jones) to take care of his dog after he is gone.

    Finch is sick and knowing that his end is near, begins to teach his robot the basics to survive in a harsh and unforgiving post-apocalyptic world. 

    Unlike many men who would crave the company of their fellow humans in a condition like the one he is in, Finch is a loner who has serious trust issues. Having experienced the lengths to which humanity can go after most of the world's population is wiped off, he prefers to be left alone to scrounge.

    Jeff (the robot) arrives to bring much-needed excitement to the hero's uneventful existence. His naivety is a sharp contrast to Finch's experience and the latter's patience is tested like never before as they embark on the journey of survival.

    Tom Hanks is one of my favourite Hollywood actors. He is without a doubt one of the best at what he does. Here, he brings his A-game and leaves no stone unturned in depicting a character who has accepted the inevitability of death.

    Jones' vocal delivery is pitch-perfect and one gets lost easily in his performance as the robot that evolves into something more.

    The score is apt, differing in melody and tone to match the various scenes and emotions, the cinematography is amazing, and the story itself isn't particularly extraordinary but may lead to a tear or two being shed when it concludes.

    Finch is definitely one of the best films of 2021 and Tom Hanks has shown that age isn't slowing him down when it comes to knocking it out of the park with his acting.

    Miguel Sapochnik, you've done well. I had a great time seeing this movie. Two thumbs up to you and Hanks.

     

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    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 1.0
    • Acting 2.0
    • Dialogue 1.0
    • Screen Play 1.0
    • Visuals 2.0

    Home Sweet Home Alone

    PG - Comedy | November 12, 2021 Storyline:

    A remake of the original classic revolving Max Mercer, a young boy left by his family during a holiday trip. He is forced to contend with two thieves hellbent on stealing a priceless heirloom from his home.

    • 1.4
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 6 months ago

    This remake was both unnecessary and bland, bereft of the charm and magical comedy that made the original an instant classic.

    For whatever reason, the producers deemed it fit to helm this movie, only this time making the protagonist and his mother British and the two thieves husband and wife.

    Archie Yates stars as Max Mercer, a ten-year-old boy whose sleeping inside a car throughout the night leads to his pea-brained mother leaving him behind when she and the rest of his annoying cousins and relations travel for the Christmas holidays.

    Home Sweet Home Alone is dead on arrival; the comedy falls flat, the characters are unmemorable, and the little hero is as insignificant as this pointless remake.

    There is a scene where a character makes a joke about a film he is watching is a remake that shouldn't have been made; that pretty much sums up this film.

    The acting is terrible (the two thieves make the clueless duo in the original look like geniuses) and the traps laid out for them could have been easily avoided.

    The film is so bad that the director includes the soundtrack from the original and even features an actor from the first two films but these don't help in any way.

    I knew that Home Sweet Home Alone wasn't going to be able to evoke the same feeling as the original film but I never expected it to be this bad.

    There is no need to waste more words on the film as viewers would have to see for themselves how terrible the entire thing is.

    A total and absolute disaster.

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    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 3.0
    • Acting 3.0
    • Dialogue 2.0
    • Screen Play 2.0
    • Visuals 3.0

    Red Notice

    PG - Action Comedy | November 12, 2021 Storyline:

    An FBI profiler must work with the world's most wanted art thief to catch an elusive crook who always appears to be one step ahead of her pursuers.

    • 2.6
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 6 months ago

    This is a film that thrives on the star power of three of Hollywood's most desirable actors. As the leads, Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot use sheer magnetism to distract you from what is undoubtedly a rehash of what we have seen many times.

    Red Notice is directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber and sees Johnson play John Hartley, an FBI agent whose hunt for famous crook Nolan Booth (Reynolds) leads him to international thief Sarah Black/The Bishop (Gadot).

    After being framed, arrested, and incarcerated, Hartley must find a way to work with Booth to capture The Bishop and clear his name.

    From the get-go, I knew this wouldn't be unique in any way. The director and producers solely rely on the three leads to make an unremarkable story remarkable, and for what it's worth, it works.

    Dwayne Johnson once again shows why he is Mr. Charismatic, Reynolds does what he does best, and Gadot shines as the typical femme fatale but with an ingenious brain.

    The pros: the cinematography is very good, the action will please fans of the genre, and the lackluster story gets a boost via a major twist no one could have anticipated towards the end.

    The cons: The plot is very predictable and Ryan Reynolds' unending jokes and comic depiction of a character we have seen him play in virtually every movie he has appeared in after Deadpool is becoming a drag. Also, the dialogue is mostly a combination of comic one-liners and unending banter between Johnson and Reynolds. 

    Conclusion: Johnson, Reynolds, and Gadot light up the screen and it's hard to deny that they make Red Notice watchable but it's not in any way comparable to some of the best action movies made in recent times.

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    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 4.0
    • Acting 4.0
    • Dialogue 3.0
    • Screen Play 3.0
    • Visuals 4.0

    King Richard

    PG - Drama | November 19, 2021 Storyline:

    The inspirational true story of Richard Williams, a determined father who raises two extraordinary girls to become the legendary tennis players known all over the globe.

    • 3.6
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 7 months ago

    This biographical film hits all the right notes, with Will Smith delivering a captivating and mesmerizing performance as the eponymous character.

    Just to be clear, King Richard isn't about the legendary Venus and Serena Williams; it's a story focusing on their father who went the extra mile to make sure that his two daughters etched their names in the history books.

    When I got wind of the project months ago, I was a bit skeptical, especially with Smith playing the lead role. He is a good actor (everyone knows that) but I asked myself why another better actor wasn't chosen for the part as I hadn't seen Smith do some impressive acting in a while. Well, the dude has shown that he was born for the part.

    Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, this film captures the struggles of the Williams family long before Venus and Serena became household names.

    Richard Williams, the patriarch of the family, is determined to keep his five daughters off the streets, and his fierce determination to see two of them become world-class tennis stars finally pays off when he meets Paul Cohen (Tony Goldwyn).

    The road to greatness is a rough one and along the way, nerves are touched, bonds are tested but in all this, Richard never loses faith. 

    Everything gets to a climax when Venus (Saniyya Sidney) gets a chance to prove herself by going toe to toe with the number one female tennis player in the world.

    The story is compelling, the acting is convincing, the pacing is perfect, and the plot progression is apt, leading to a final act that will leave you at the edge of your seat.

    As the protagonist, Will Smith is a force of nature; his accent, mannerisms, and poise all point to his dedication to playing a remarkable real-life character. It's not often you are moved to tears by his performance and here he almost made me shed a few.

    The tennis-playing sisters are portrayed by young actors who also impress in their respective roles. While Venus is calculating, Serena (Demi Singleton) is a ferocious fighter.

    I can't forget to mention the equally talented Aunjanue Ellis whose role as Oracene 'Brandy' Price, Richard Williams'wife, is also instrumental in the film being exceptional. Her character keeps Richard grounded and she is the one who has to constantly remind him that he doesn't have to prove anything more than the sacrifice he is making.

    King Richard is a touching and inspiring story about a man who gave it his all to ensure that his daughters become two of the greatest sporting stars on the planet. Thanks to Will Smith, it's worth every damn second.

    Two thumbs way up!

     

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    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 4.0
    • Acting 4.0
    • Dialogue 4.0
    • Screen Play 3.0
    • Visuals 3.0

    The Guilty

    PG - Thriller | October 1, 2021 Storyline:

    A troubled police detective demoted to 911 operator duty attempts to help a distressed caller during a shocking day of revelations — and reckonings.

    • 3.6
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 8 months ago

    Simply put, Antoine Fuqua's thriller is a worthy entry into those rare films that thrive using the little things to make a big statement.

    Starring the talented Jake Gyllenhaal, The Guilty sees the actor play Joe Baylor, an LAPD officer whose experience working the night shift at a 911 center becomes a defining moment in his life and those of four other individuals.

    Among the numerous calls Joe receives is one of distress from a troubled woman who has been taken against her will by her husband, with their little kids left home by themselves.

    The protagonist must use his wits, will, and experience as a law enforcement agent to solve what eventually reveals itself to be a heinous crime.

    What the film lacks in originality, it more than makes up for in wonderful and mesmerizing acting from Gyllenhaal. His character is in the middle of a major crisis as his court case is set for the next day. As he delves deeper into the woman named Emily's case, his connection with her family and the unspeakable deed done leads to him experiencing catharsis, leaving him a far better man.

    Gyllenhaal's name attracted me to this film as I am a fan of his. The director, Antoine Fuqua, also has an impressive record when it comes to making movies, so I expected something worthwhile. Neither of them disappointed me.

    With a very small cast, restricted shots, and camera angles, The Guilty uses the only thing it has to its advantage; a gripping emotional story. In this, it succeeds spectacularly.

    As the lead, Gyllenhaal simply makes you never want to miss a second of seeing him convince you that he is whoever he wants you to believe he is. He left me awed, tugging at my heartstrings with his performance.

    The Guilty is a remarkable thriller, one made by a filmmaker who knows his thing, with the help of an actor who is at the top of his game.

     

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    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 3.0
    • Acting 3.0
    • Dialogue 3.0
    • Screen Play 4.0
    • Visuals 3.0

    Swallow

    PG - Drama | October 1, 2021 Storyline:

    Popular singer Niyola plays Tolani, a young woman in 1980s Lagos, Nigeria, who becomes involved in smuggling with a friend of hers. 

    • 3.2
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 8 months ago

    Kunle Afolayan improves with each new film he creates; with Swallow, he weaves an engrossing tale about a woman who is forced into what she abhors when her world begins crashing down.

    Starring popular singer Niyola, this drama captures the experiences of two friends living in Lagos in 1985. While Niyola's Tolani is a reserved woman who just wants to make a name for herself, her friend Rose (played by the talented Ijeoma Grace Agu) is a wild and adventurous lady who believes in taking advantage of every opportunity.

    When Tolani's only source of income is cut off, thanks to her womanizing boss, she dares to venture into the world of drug peddling to survive.

    The film is based on Sefi Atta's novel of the same name (the writer co-wrote the script alongside the director). I haven't read the book but the film got me hooked from start to finish.

    When it really comes down to it, there is really nothing particularly outstanding about this movie. But it is its simplicity in presentation and execution that makes its message unmistakeably clear.

    If I'm not mistaken, this is Niyola's film debut and in portraying the lead character, she gives a commendable performance. Her acting is quite convincing even though she could have done better in some scenes.

    While Tolani is the protagonist, I daresay another character ended up stealing the show here. That person is none other than her friend Rose.

    As Rose, the actress known as Ijeoma Grace Agu is simply amazing. With every scene, every line spoken, and every action taken, the viewer can't help but get enthralled by her. For me, she is the real MVP and I just wanted to keep seeing her do her thing.

    Apart from a few lapses in one or two scenes where the 1980s setting wasn't properly depicted, I didn't quite see any major faults in this film.

    The cinematography is an obvious improvement from Afolayan's previous films, the costumes are acceptable for the period the movie portrays, and the camera shots and angles are perfect.

    Another thing I would love to point out is the prominent use of the Yoruba language and its cultural influence as seen in the advice given to the heroine by her father in flashback scenes. I can't say how much I love seeing this as it helps promote our cultural heritage to the rest of the world. 

    Nollywood films are still not where I want them to be when compared with some of the great works from Hollywood and others but with Swallow, Afolayan shows that we are getting there.

     

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    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 3.0
    • Acting 3.0
    • Dialogue 4.0
    • Screen Play 3.0
    • Visuals 4.0

    The Protégé

    PG - Action Thriller | August 20, 2021 Storyline:

    Action star Maggie Q stars as Anna, a skilled contract killer, who goes on the hunt after the legendary Moody who trained her is murdered.

    • 3.4
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 9 months ago

    Martin Campbell's film is an absolute blast from start to finish. Maggie Q and Samuel L. Jackson light up the screen in this enjoyable action fest.

    Q stars as Anna, an assassin who hunts those behind the brutal killing of her friend and mentor, fellow killer Moody (Jackson). The trail of vengeance leads to Vietnam where she meets a mysterious individual named Michael (Michael Keaton) whose affiliation with a powerful syndicate pits her in a situation where she will have to fight for her life.

    I deliberately didn't finish the trailer because I misjudged the plot and concluded that it was another brainless action film with forgettable characters. The first 15 minutes proved just how wrong I was.

    The Protege is a remarkable movie that is well-made, thanks to a director whose attention to detail shows in every way. As the lead, Maggie Q is impressive (as she always is) and Samuel L. Jackson is a joy to watch.

    The action scenes are done well, but that's not all there is. There is drama that makes the characters well-grounded in reality and their motives are understandable.

    The cinematography and visual effects also work in tandem to provide a visually appealing experience action lovers won't forget in a hurry.

    It's sad to see that we're in a time when less attention is paid to the elements that make for a compelling action flick. I'm glad to say that this film doesn't fall into that category as Martin Campbell stays true to the genre while adding a little extra suspense to keep viewers glued to the screen.

    I really enjoyed this film and the performances from the actors (especially Maggie Q, Samuel L. Jackson, and Michael Keaton) are top-notch.

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    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 2.0
    • Acting 2.0
    • Dialogue 1.0
    • Screen Play 1.0
    • Visuals 2.0

    Vacation Friends

    PG - Comedy | August 27, 2021 Storyline:

    A couple's wedding is crashed by some casual friends whose outrageous ways always seem to mortify those around them.

    • 1.6
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 9 months ago

    I really wanted to like this film but in the end, I found a lot of reasons not to. Though Lil Rey Howery and John Cena put in a lot of effort into what should be hilariously fun characters, they (and pretty much every other person in film) come off as buffoons.

    Vacation Friends revolves around a man named Marcus (Howery) and his fiance Emily (Yvonne Orji). They go on a trip to Mexico where they meet the extrovert duo of Ron (Cena) and Kyla (Meredith Hagner). Their lives are forever changed as it's one bizarre adventure after the next, with their newfound friends showing up uninvited to their wedding.

    This R-rated comedy is directed by Clay Tarver, with a script that is predictable, a few times funny, but mostly annoying. The only thing that made me sit through it to the end was the fact that I had to so I could write this review. I will try to keep it short as best as I can.

    First off, I don't know why Hollywood keeps going with the trend of making almost every comedy film R-rated. It doesn't have to be hardcore to be enjoyable.

    Secondly, the humour here is totally outrageous and borrows from basically almost every comedy movie ever made. I kept a straight face almost throughout as I didn't exactly find it funny. I only laughed in two or three scenes.

    Thirdly, all the actors (and I mean ALL of them) try too hard to be funny that they only end up being really silly. I expected John Cena (who has shown that he has some potential in the genre) to be a good distraction but even his performance here falls flat. His acting is only bearable to watch the very few times he is serious.

    I don't care how many other reviews praise this film; for me, it sucks big time. Putting a lesson about not judging people for their shortcomings and the positive ways they could impact your life even if they cause you misery doesn't change that.

    For me, this was a wasted opportunity.

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    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 4.0
    • Acting 3.0
    • Dialogue 3.0
    • Screen Play 3.0
    • Visuals 3.0

    The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf

    PG - Anime, Fantasy, Action | August 23, 2021 Storyline:

    Vesemir, a witcher, must literally face the demons of his past when he is called upon to help stop a horde of ravaging beasts.

    • 3.2
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 10 months ago

    The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf is a blast from start to finish. With superb writing, impeccable 2D animation, and memorable voice work from Theo James, it is sure to please anime fans.

    Directed by Kwang Il Han, it follows Vesemir, a witcher who abandoned his impoverished past to embrace the world of demon/monster hunting for coin.

    When a job pits him against his most dangerous adversaries yet and reunites him with a childhood friend, the protagonist finds himself in the fight of and for his life.

    As the hero, Vesemir is easily likeable; he loves his job, swears a lot, is full of swagger, and is bloody good with a sword. His journey sees him face both his inner and outer demons.

    I decided to stop watching 2D animated films some years ago but the new wave of outstanding movies in the genre has made me a believer in them again.

    With this film, director Kwang Il Han succeeds in making something unique and entertaining. The action is visceral, the dialogue is witty, and the special effects are awesome. Also, the musical score is out of this world.

    I like the direction Netflix is going with its anime content. Not all of them are great but they are doing a good job with most of them so far.

    The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf is a visual triumph.

     

     

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