Author: moviedocmelbourne

Leigh Farrugia, also known as 'Moviedoc', writes reviews that you can read before watching a film! You never need to worry about finding out what happens during a film, for Moviedoc believes that less is more! Furthermore, you can rely on Moviedoc's reviews to help guide you when deciding which films to see and where, and which to avoid, all tailored purely to your taste! For over five years, Moviedoc has been reviewing movies, most of which are seen by invitation from film distributors to attend their pre-release media screenings. Future aspirations include, but are not limited to, continuing to build a strong fan base, growing movie knowledge and enhancing creative writing skills to enter the world of online newspaper sources. Please feel free to leave feedback, comments and you can follow all posts and reviews by liking Moviedoc on Facebook as well as following this blog site.

LOGAN LUCKY

Director / Stephen Soderbergh (THE OCEANS TRILOGY, MAGIC MIKE, ERIN BROCKOVICH)
Stars/ Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Riley Keough, Brian Gleeson, Jack Quaid, Katie Holmes, Seth MacFarlane, Sebastian Stan, Farrah Mackenzie, Katherine Waterston and Hilary Swank

The movie that reversed filmmaker Stephen Soderbergh’s decision to retire is this rather offbeat ensemble crime comedy, LOGAN LUCKY.

In North Carolina, the annual Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race is soon beginning. The down-on-their-luck Logan siblings Jimmy (Channing Tatum), Clyde (Adam Driver) and Mellie (Riley Keough) recognise an opportunity to pull off a heist during the race. The elaborately planned robbery, which involves imprisoned thug Joe Bang (Daniel Craig – hilariously sporting a southern U.S accent and bleached blonde hair), doesn’t all go according to plan.


LOGAN LUCKY is a movie that can quite literally thank its lucky stars! The performances from the wonderfully arranged ensemble cast combines with the script’s irresistibly playful mimicry of its characters and dialogue to bring an immensely enjoyable heist film. Now, just how much fun you have watching LOGAN LUCKY is going to partially depend on the handle you have over its more particular details involving the heist and the connections of its many, many characters. Without intention, this overly crammed and overcrowded screenplay has a tendency to make viewers work overtime in conveying some very muddled specific information. Make the mistake of persisting with unraveling it all and LOGAN LUCKY will probably match entertainment with confusion for you. Rather it is best to accept the fact that perhaps not every stroke of luck LOGAN LUCKY is reaching for will be fathomed or even feasible and instead to surrender to its constantly jocular and jovial character.

3 ½ stars

Viewer Discretion/ M (Coarse language) 

Trailer / LOGAN LUCKY

Moviedoc thanks Roadshow Films for the invite to the screening of this film.

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VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS

Writer & Director / Luc Besson (LUCY, THE FIFTH ELEMENT, LÉON: THE PROFESSIONAL)
Stars/ Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Sam Spruell, Ethan Hawke and Rihanna

Costing as much as €197.47 million (U.S $210 million) to produce, most of which was personally funded by director Luc Besson, VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS is easily the most expensive film ever to be made in France.

Based on the French Science-Fiction Comic Book Series “Valerian and Laureline” written by Pierre Christin and illustrated by Jean-Claude Mézières, the plot for VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS is loosely based on the sixth album in the series.

It is the 28th century in Alpha, a space station where millions of species, including humans, from a thousand planets all peacefully coexist. Special agents Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne), who belong to the human division, are assigned a new task by Commander Filitt (Clive Owen), who has identified a dangerous and dark presence within the space station. Valerian and Laureline must travel to this section of the station and stop the unknown force from spreading before it threatens to cause harm to Alpha’s entire population.

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Truth be told, VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS isn’t at all difficult to like.

Its intentionally broadly accessible plot and structure will understandably be labelled as unoriginal. And sure, this aspect of the film is surprise-free. Visually however, there can be no arguing that Besson’s film is attention-diverting at the least and unique at its best. How could it not be? In total, there are 2,734 special effects shots and 200 alien species! Luc Besson was inspired by what was achieved by James Cameron in AVATAR. Although this science-fiction action-adventure movie is never really magical to witness as Cameron’s epic film was for many, there are other means to credible entertainment constantly on offer. Take the film’s temperament for instance, which is often light-hearted and incorporates a sufficient supply of sometimes lame, albeit funnier moments. Legendary music composer Alexandre Desplat’s score for the film is customarily brilliant and DeHaan & Delevingne, who share solid chemistry, work surprisingly well together.

This entry-level sci-fi/fantasy flick finds the right balance for a varied audience. The straightforward storytelling and mainstream characterisation won’t make any newcomers to the genre feel too out of this world. As for genre aficionados, although these aspects of the movie certainly won’t blow them out of this world, the more specific details and the cosmic aura of the film is likely to compensate for any lack of imagination in storytelling that is detected.

3 stars

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Viewer Discretion/ M (Science-fiction violence) 

Trailer / VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS

Moviedoc thanks entertainment One for the invite to the screening of this film.

Review by Moviedoc / “LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc

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ANNABELLE: CREATION

Director / David F. Sandberg (LIGHTS OUT)
Stars/ Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto, Stephanie Sigman, Talitha Bateman and Lulu Wilson

A prequel to both THE CONJURING films and 2014’s ANNABELLE, ANNABELLE: CREATION marks the fourth addition to THE CONJURING film universe. 

Aussie duo Anthony LaPaglia and Miranda Otto play Samuel and Esther Mullins, who invite Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman) and several orphaned girls to live with them at their residence. Despite the generous offer, the Mullins’ are quite reserved people, after a personal tragedy shattered their existence several years earlier. Samuel, a doll maker, isn’t particularly hospitable towards the girls while Esther mysteriously never emerges from her bedroom. As the girls slowly settle into their new place, Janice (Telitha Bateman) comes across Annabelle while curiously exploring her new surrounds and unwittingly brings the creepy doll, who has sinister plans, to life.


A passable horror flick, ANNABELLE: CREATION does yield to symptoms of horror movie syndrome, yet in doing so it offers audiences momentary frights and plenty of fun, which are frequently distributed all throughout.

Of course, your prospects of being drawn into these many mildly suspenseful passages will largely depend on your ability to foresee the imminent jump coming. As a horror aficionado myself, almost all of these sequences do happen as expected. Although its likely predictability does limit the film’s chances to genuinely scare, ANNABELLE: CREATION continues to entertain, courtesy of some aptly timed tongue-in-cheek humour and a serviceable plot that holds some mystery. Patience is certainly tested as the not-so-surprising revelations hiding beneath its mystery are delayed for too long. Further proceedings even become repetitive as the plot attempts to involve each of the orphaned girls making a frightening discovery to realise that their new abode isn’t so humble. Thankfully, those self-opening doors and creaky floors are soon nailed shut as ANNABELLE: CREATION lifts its game in a decidedly more horrifying finale. 

This prequel should satisfy fans of mainstream horror until further instalments in THE CONJURING film series, THE NUN (2018) and THE CROOKED MAN (TBA) haunt our screens.

3 stars

Viewer Discretion/ MA15+ Restricted (Strong horror themes and violence) 

Trailer / ANNABELLE: CREATION

Read up also on Moviedoc’s review of THE CONJURING 2

Moviedoc thanks Roadshow Films for the invite to the screening of this film.

Review by Moviedoc / “LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc

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A MONSTER CALLS

Director / J.A. Bayona (THE IMPOSSIBLE, THE ORPHANAGE)
Stars/ Lewis MacDougall, Felicity Jones, Sigourney Weaver, Toby Kebbell and the voice of Liam Neeson

A monster is indeed calling, but not with the same intentions that most monsters are noted for. 

The original idea for A MONSTER CALLS began with British writer and activist Siobhan Dowd, who was sadly unable to finish her novel of the same name due to the terminal illness that claimed her life. From there, the writer of this film’s screenplay, Patrick Ness took over.

The monster that inhabits A MONSTER CALLS comes in the form of a very large and branchy motion-captured tree voiced by Liam Neeson. In a tone that is just as potent as he adopted over the phone in TAKEN, the tree monster sternly advises twelve year-old Conor O’Malley (Lewis MacDougall) that he will tell him three true stories, each with a separate meaning very relevant to Conor’s current existence. After the three stories have been told, Conor must tell a fourth, which will reveal the truth behind his greatest fear.

Featured on the 2013 Blacklist of most liked unmade scripts, A MONSTER CALLS is a beautifully rendered motion picture.

As most of you reading this will likely be aware, one of the central characters in this film is succumbing to a terminal illness. Understandably, parents may feel that a movie with such a sombre theme that also features a monster as the main character is definitely not for children. Though there should be considerations made for younger audiences heeded as suggested by its PG classification, A MONSTER CALLS is in fact a mightily accessible, involving and valuable film for most age levels. Just how this has been achieved is why this is such a great film. The writing is honest and mature, the visual work has been compellingly detailed and young Lewis MacDougall gives a gutsy lead performance, to name a few reasons.

Quite astonishingly and respectably, A MONSTER CALLS refrains from being saddening throughout. Rather, emotions are kept at bay until just when the timing is right for the inevitable emotional catharsis that awaits. However, thanks to its structure and fine execution, even these heartfelt moments of the film are therapeutic in nature. Any concerns that may be had regarding what sort of mood this wonderful film will leave at its conclusion can be erased by the role of another essential character, played by Sigourney Weaver. Although she possesses a hardened exterior, Weaver’s kind-hearted grandmother is a vital contributor towards enabling Conor to overcome those fears in his own story. 

This film is definitely worth seeing, even if that has to be once its run at cinemas is complete.

3 ½ stars

Viewer Discretion/ PG (Mild themes and violence, some scenes may scare children) 

Trailer / A MONSTER CALLS

Moviedoc thanks entertainment One for the pass provided to see and review this film.

Review by Moviedoc / “LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc

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ATOMIC BLONDE

Director / David Leitch (Feature film debut)
Stars/ Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, Toby Jones, John Goodman, Eddie Marsan and Sofia Boutella

In preparation for her newest role, ATOMIC BLONDE star Charlize Theron not only worked with eight personal trainers but also trained with Keanu Reeves as he prepared for his action movie, JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2. In fact, there is a lot of JOHN WICK in ATOMIC BLONDE, including the feature debut of uncredited JOHN WICK co-director David Leitch.

Based on the 2012 graphic novel The Coldest City written by Antony Johnston and illustrated by Sam Hart, Charlize Theron stars as undercover MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton, who is sent to Berlin in the late 80’s during the fall of the wall. There, she is tasked with two key assignments by her boss, Eric Gray (Toby Jones). She must investigate the murder of a fellow MI6 agent, whom she was close to, and recover a list containing the names of several double agents, which was in the possession of her colleague.


A couple of possessions that are no secret in this spy movie is its very stylish visual design and dynamic music score. These post-production cosmetic enhancements certainly give the film a facelift, though ATOMIC BLONDE can’t always keep up with the coolness constantly being exuded by the one and only Charlize Theron. 

In much the same scintillating high level of form here as she was in MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, Charlize is reason enough to buy your ticket for admission to ATOMIC BLONDE. Atmospherically, this is a spy action movie that is easily absorbed. The glitzy and glamourous use of fluoro colour, its heavily used soundtrack and a sharp and slightly darkened sense of humour is undeniably fun to watch. From this arc, it’s a little bit like last year’s SUICIDE SQUAD. Though let me tell you, unlike that film, ATOMIC BLONDE does not hold back on the violence. Or the sexier stuff either! Fortunately, and again much like the JOHN WICK movies, ATOMIC BLONDE showcases a number of impressively choreographed fight sequences and action stunts, all of which are led from the front by an extremely hard-working Charlize Theron. I know, I just won’t shut up about her! Unfortunately, where ATOMIC BLONDE does let its guard down to an extent that is felt, is in its pacing and narrative department. It’s during these times that the reliance on its most notable features are just too heavy. 

Don’t be surprised if in five to ten years from now, John Wick and Lorraine Broughton appear in the same film, or film universe at least! If this and Wick’s last chapter are anything to go by, that might not be such a bad idea at all!

3 stars

Viewer Discretion/ MA15+ Restricted (Strong violence, coarse language and sex scene) 

Trailer / ATOMIC BLONDE

Moviedoc thanks Universal Pictures for the invite to the screening of this film.

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THE BIG SICK

Director / Michael Showalter (HELLO MY NAME IS DORIS, THE BAXTER)
Stars/ Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Ray Romano, Holly Hunter, Aidy Bryant and Kurt Braunohler

Boy meets girls. Girl meets boy. You have seen it many times before. Though new comedy THE BIG SICK has a few big slick and unexpected developments in its story that cure it of all symptoms of being a clichéd affair.

The boy in the picture is Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani), a Pakistan native living in the U.S who is a struggling stand-up comedian that politely rejects potential brides for his arranged marriage, as organised by his mother. The girl in the picture is Emily (Zoe Kazan, who was Ruby Sparks in RUBY SPARKS!), a white American who is working towards becoming a masters-level therapist and falls for the charms of Kumail during one of his stand-up routines.

As you may have cottoned on or already heard, THE BIG SICK is based on the real life story of how Emily V. Gordon (co-writer of this film) and her real-life husband Kumail Nanjiani (co-writer and star) meet and fall in love.


It is certainly refreshing and even reassuring to be in the presence of a genuine comedy that triggers laughter in such an unforced manner. Rather than concocting forced scenarios to base the remainder of the film around, THE BIG SICK derives much of its humour from the conception of its characters and the awkwardness of a developing romance. By doing so, THE BIG SICK rapidly becomes a broadly appealing and wholly accessible comedy that features wonderful acting performances and sharp writing that work together harmoniously.

With laughter occurring frequently and so naturally throughout, the husband/wife writing team behind THE BIG SICK are evidently aware that they never need to try harder than they do to generate tasteful humour. This is exemplified by the way they showcase the cultural differences that both lead characters are faced with. Earning further respectability are a few bravely, yet again tastefully written interjections of dialogue that centre on Kumail Nanjiani’s probable faith and extremism. Given Nanjiani’s origin and the world we live in today, our writers are clearly conscious of the elephant in the room and they address this with daring humour and honesty. Hats off! 

The latter half of the film introduces co-stars Ray Romano (TV’s Everybody Loves Raymond) and Oscar-winner Holly Hunter (THE PIANO), as Terry and Beth, the parents of Emily. The importance of their contributions cannot be underestimated as a minor bump in the plot earlier in the picture later becomes an essential development. Though it must be said that this significant segment of the story is somewhat solemn in nature, much of this film’s excellence comes to the fore here as it impressively never loses touch with its comedic roots. THE BIG SICK just keeps delivering humour that is truly meaningful and memorable.

An exceptional comedy. Definitely recommended!

4 stars


Viewer Discretion/ M (Coarse language and sexual references) 

Trailer / THE BIG SICK

Moviedoc thanks Roadshow Films for the invite to the screening of this film.

Review by Moviedoc / “LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc

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CHOCOLAT

Director / Roschdy Zem (OMAR KILLED ME/OMAR M’A TUER)
Stars/ Omar Sy, James Thierrée, Clotilde Hesme, Frédéric Pierrot and Noémie Lvovsky

In the late 1800’s, former Afro-Cuban slave turned circus performer Rafael Padilla, aka Chocolat (Omar Sy), entertains moderate sized audiences in the Northern parts of France. He earns his living playing a cannibal on stage, much to the amusement of a crowd who have never seen a man of colour before! During one of his routine yet lively performances, Chocolat is discovered by a reputable circus artist named Georges Footit (real-life circus performer and grandson of Charlie Chaplin, James Thierrée), who sees potential for success by forming a duo act to perform during the Belle Époque period in Paris.

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There is both a triumph and a tragedy to be shared in this biographical film that chronicles the life story of the first-ever successful black circus artist in France. The true story of a man who broke a barrier that needed to be broken for generations to follow, even if it had to be at his own expense.

As an entertainer and a man of colour, Chocolat’s success always had its limitations. Given the time and place he is situated, the willingness to play the submissive half of a duo slapstick routine intended to be of comedic nature to its audience was the only option he had at making ends meet. Unfortunately, this shameful and derogatory treatment was not restricted to the stage alone. When not in character, Rafael’s vulnerabilities would subject him to manipulation by colleagues and employers. What must be emphasised to this point regarding this French drama is the fact it is not depressing to watch at all. Actually, it is often delightful viewing and the story is consistently engaging. This is largely due to the superb performance from Omar Sy and the characterisation of who he portrays. Chocolat, quite admirably, never truly succumbs to playing the victim. He adds value to his choice of employment that rewards him and even enjoys life by pursuing some romance. Therefore, witnessing Chocolat’s growth as a performer and as a person does bring a sense of joy, as does Omar Sy’s best role and performance since 2011’s THE INTOUCHABLES.

3 ½ stars


2015 Mandarin Cinema - Gaumont-Photographe Julian Torres-406

 
Viewer Discretion/ M (Mature themes, violence and coarse language) 

Trailer / CHOCOLAT

Moviedoc thanks Transmission Films for the invite to the screening of this film.

Review by Moviedoc / “LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc

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