Voyagers (2021) – Lord of the Tries Too Hard

Released: 8th April
Seen: 16th August

In 1954, William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies was released and quickly became a cultural phenomenon that would become so well known that the title of the book is able to describe almost any group of people devolving into a mass of internal conflict and violence. You may also be aware of the multiple movies that’ve been adapted from it or, possibly more likely, the Simpsons version of it in the episode Das Bus (Season 9, so back when the show was universally considered “Good”). It’s a classic story that lends itself well to adaptation provided you have a charismatic young cast and can do something interesting to the material that’s been adapted multiple times… and here we find the issues that plague Voyagers.

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Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021) – It’s Time To Slam Now

Released: 15th July
Seen: 12th August

In 1992 there was a series of Superbowl commercials involving Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny, and they were a smash hit. They were so popular that they effectively revived the world’s interest in Bugs Bunny, which at the time was on somewhat of a downhill slide. This led to Warner Brothers having the wild idea to take these commercials and turn them into a movie. That movie was Space Jam and it was a mega hit, raking in 250 million worldwide with a soundtrack that I promise you was everywhere. 

I was there, you couldn’t escape the Space Jam theme song or I Believe I Can Fly (Which… yeah, kinda helped a rapist stay out of prison where he belonged, we were distracted by this song). This album won awards, went 6x platinum, it was everywhere. Space Jam was astronomically huge, albeit critically panned and most people recognise it more as a harmless guilty pleasure than anything else… and now, 25 years later, they made a sequel that no one was asking for – and apparently decided it’d be fun to try and make a film that was actively bad instead of just kinda silly.

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Vivo (2021) – Magical Monkey Business

Released: 6th August
Seen: 8th August

Vivo Info

While Netflix has been kind of hit or miss with a lot of their releases this year, I have to admit that their animation stuff has been knocking it out of the park almost every time. Arlo the Alligator Boy, Wish Dragon and The Mitchells VS The Machines are some of the best animated films of 2021 so far and it’s nice to see Netflix assuring them wide releases. Now the newest release, Vivo, is gunning to be the 4th great Netflix animated film of the year and goddamn it might be the second best of them all (…hey, Mitchells VS The Machines is a hard act to beat, OK?)

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Peter Rabbit 2 (2021) – Fine Furry Family Fun

Released: 25th March
Seen: 7th August

Peter Rabbit 2 Info

In 2018 the film Peter Rabbit came out to a fairly mixed response. Personally I thought it was fine, James Corden hadn’t quite become full cinematic poison just yet (though he had just done The Emoji Movie, so he was getting there) and the film itself had enough silliness and charm to be fine for the little kids. It was cute but I was fine with it sticking to just a single film, a feeling I grew more sure of the more my general disdain for the lead actor grew (the man did Cats, Superintelligence AND The Prom within a year, a trilogy of performances that should end careers). Now having finally seen the sequel… It’s a bit of an improvement on the original, but I can also be done with this series at any point now.

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The Tomorrow War (2021) – Big Time Fun

Released: 2nd July
Seen: 1st August

The Tomorrow War Info

One of the interesting things that’s started happening over the last year and a half of the pandemic has been witnessing big film companies selling off their features to streaming services in order to ensure the biggest possible release in the current circumstances. The Tomorrow War was originally meant to be a big Christmas day release in 2020, taking the mantle of being one of the few holiday blockbusters that weren’t made by Marvel. 

Of course because last year was the year we learned “Avoid it like the plague” was a complete lie, that film had to be pushed back in release and was eventually sold off to Amazon for release on their Prime video service… and that change in venue is the biggest weakness of The Tomorrow War.

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Gunpowder Milkshake (2021) – Almost Totally Badass

Released: 15th July
Seen: 28th July

Normally I start these things with a little fun thing that will provide some context for the review, either on why the film exists or on a bit about the genre or even just a bit about my relationship to the material in order to try and paint a broader picture. Today, just a little mild housekeeping before I talk about Gunpowder Milkshake. My home state of NSW has been in lockdown thanks to covid for the last month, which is why I’ve had the time to basically do one of these every day and why you might’ve spotted I missed out on some recent releases like Space Jam 2, Fast & Furious 9 and Escape Room 2. Well, that lockdown’s been extended throughout August so I’m gonna miss a bunch of those releases too, which is particularly annoying cos I know some of the big ones are gonna be on HBONow and I can’t access that (I think) so please just keep my home state in your thoughts, hopefully we can get things on track and return to normal… anyway, let’s talk about a film that only released in cinemas down here but was also on Netflix in the US so was therefore relatively easy to access.

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Cosmic Sin (2021) – Nap Time

Released: 11th March
Seen: 21st July

Cosmic Sin Info

There was a time, long ago, when Bruce Willis wasn’t just a movie star. He was, without hyperbole, one of the most famous entertainers on the planet earth. He was the lead in Moonlighting, which was a global phenomenon, he starred in absolute classics like Die Hard, Pulp Fiction and 12 Monkeys. Hell, the man made two albums with the legendary Motown records and had a top 10 single with the Pointer Sisters as his backup singers, he was the definition of a global superstar… so why the hell is he still working now when he clearly stopped giving a fuck way back in the 2010s and hasn’t put in a decent performance since… what, Looper? He’s certainly not giving a decent performance in Cosmic Sin, but then again no one is.

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Black Widow (2021) – Kick Ass!

Released: 8th July
Seen: 10th July

Black Widow Info

It’s been over a year since we, as a society, have made the trek to throw money to the almighty House of Mouse as our offering to the rodent entertainment god to provide us another adventure led by superpowered human beings who can do impossible feats. Sure, we’ve had TV offerings like Wandavision and Loki but that cinematic experience has been lacking the last Spider-Man movie (though god, imagine if this pandemic had hit before Endgame and we all had to spend an extra year in a world where half the Marvel superheroes were dead… fanboys would’ve been dropping like flies!).

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America: The Motion Picture (2021) – America, F**k Meh?

Released: 4th July
Seen: 5th July

You know, I probably should’ve watched this one on the 4th of July. Would’ve been more appropriate to watch a film supposedly celebrating America to watch on the 4th of July, even if I did release the review days later. Well, little behind the scenes trivia for you, I did try to watch it on the 4th of July but at the halfway mark I fell asleep so I figured I should probably watch it again when I was more awake.

Well, I have now done that and it turns out the problem wasn’t that I was too tired, but that America: The Motion Picture is just kind of boring.

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The Ice Road (2021) – Driving On Thin Ice

Released: 25th June
Seen: 29th June

The Ice Road Info

In 2000 the History Channel had a series known as “Suicide Missions” and during that series they aired a special on the profession of Ice Road Truckers. This episode would prove to be popular during reruns and would lead to one of History Channel’s biggest hit series, known simply as Ice Road Truckers. The show went for 11 seasons, the last one ending in 2017. Now, what’s mildly interesting is that the first season was so popular that Fox bought the rights to make a movie out of it. I’m not sure if this is what that movie ended up being but it sure does seem like the kind of thing you commission in 2008 and bury for 13 years because it’s utter garbage.

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