Review: Father Figures

I tried to think of a snappy first line for this review, but much like the movie I seem to have lost my funny bone.

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Let’s get it out of the way at the start, this movie is fine. Meh. Mediocre. The epitome of average. But it’s wholly uninspiring.

A strange cast, ranging from the outstanding J.K.Simmons (Roland Hunt) to the always funny Ving Rhames (Rod Hamilton). But not a single person feels like they’re putting their all into this film. The phrase “Phoning it in” gets thrown around a lot in Hollywood these days, but I think it’s perfectly applied here. No one is bad in their role, and whilst I have never really been a fan of Ed Helms (Peter Reynolds), I feel pretty safe in saying that this is the closest I’ve come to having a connection to any of his characters. But there is nothing in this movie from the actors that hits anything other than average, the standard for what you would expect from high profile actors in a wide-release theatrical movie.

The story is pretty basic, but unfortunately due to the road-trip nature of the film there are a lot of characters who come and go in the space of 10-20 minutes, never receiving any development and never being seen again. This also led to the film feeling very repetitive – Search for man, talk to man, find out he’s not father, search for next man. There were some nice moments though, particularly between the family dynamics of the Owen Wilson (Kyle Reynolds), Ed Helms (Peter Reynolds) and Glenn Close (Helen). Their family connections were really the only thing keeping the movie from dipping below average.

It’s unfortunate to say that for a comedy movie, the majority of the jokes fell very flat during my screening. Don’t get me wrong, there were a few moments that earned a few laughs from the crowd, but rarely did anything reach levels above a quiet chuckle. Maybe that’s partly down to this being a very “american” film, if that makes sense at all, and the humour just not transferring over to British audiences.

Overall, if you get the chance to see this movie for a reduced price, or even for free if you’re a Cineworld card holder, then it’s worth the time spent on it if you have nothing else to do. But don’t go rushing to the theatre this weekend to pay full price and watch it, there are better things to watch, especially as the Oscar contenders finally make their way over to the UK.

Final Score:

5/10 Porgs

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Review: Star Trek: Discovery Series 1

Star Trek Discovery, the most under-appreciated show on Netflix… in one nerd’s opinion anyway.

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When it comes to “Netflix Originals” I tend to find that they go one of two ways, either they are extremely good televsion or film productions (Usually the former), or they exist somewhere between poor and downright awful. Fortunately I can say with sincere confidence that Star Trek: Discovery’s first season is one of the better shows that Netflix has to offer.

First airing on CBS over in the US, before being made available the day after on Netflix, the latest take on the Star Trek franchise is an incredibly fun, compelling and emotional adventure that is worthy of the name.

What stands out about Discovery, is that it doesn’t feel like any other sci-fi show, it actually feels like a Star Trek series of old, except with a larger budget and better writers. Kicking the series off with an extremely tense and gripping opening episode, the show does a great job of having you hooked from kickoff. But what serves the series the best is perhaps the content which it adopts throughout the course of the series.

With there being 3 recent blockbuster sized Star Trek films in recent memory, the writers of Discovery did a good job in establishing this separate universe and timeline. By making the overarching story of Discovery being about a war against the Klingon’s (A key species in Star Trek lore, but one which was largely left out of the recent films), the show takes advantage of having an exciting core story which leads to various action set-pieces, whilst also being smart enough to write in various sub-arcs which all hit home.

The acting ranges from serviceable to pretty damn good in places. Doug Jones (Saru) and Mary Wiseman (Sylvia Tilly) are particular stand outs throughout the season and offer up some of the more compelling characters. Fortunately, due to the scale of the season and not being limited to a 2 hour long film, most members of the USS Discovery do receive solid to substantial character development. However, there are a couple of recurring non-crew members who do lack the development of others.

All in all the first series of Star Trek: Discovery was a joy to watch, particularly the final handful of episodes which keep you clinging to your seat and make it very difficult to turn off the TV. There are twists and turns which keep the enjoyment and surprise high at all times, but more importantly they don’t feel like twists for the sake of them, everything seems to make sense for the Universe that has been established.

While there is no set date for the confirmed second series, Star Trek Discovery executive producer Alex Kurtzman told The Hollywood Reporter that “ideally” he wanted the show to be back on “the early side of 2019”.

Final Score:

8/10 Porgs.

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