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How It Ends Review | Sundance Film Festival

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We’re now getting to the point where lots of the films that were made during lockdown are starting to be released and How it Ends is a pre-apocalyptic comedy/drama that sounded really good on paper and was one of my most anticipated films for the entire Sundance Film Festival but the finished product is just a complete waste of potential and lacking anything interesting or exciting.

How It Ends is set the day before an asteroid is set to destroy the world and Liza, played by co-writer and co-director Zoe Lister-Jones, is invited to one final wild party before the world ends. But after her car gets stolen and wanting to tie up loose ends she has with family and friends before the apocalypse, she journeys across Los Angeles by foot. She’s not alone though as she’s accompanied by her quirky, metaphysical younger self played by Cailee Spaeny. The two of them tour across the city running into a whole host of familiar faces along the way before the world is set to be destroyed.

The film starts off fairly interesting and it began with a few jokes that I found quite funny and it immediately sets off with this quirky tone and for the first twenty minutes or, so I was quite entertained by it. The film has quite a short runtime of just 82 minutes and so the first quarter of this film was intriguing and set it up to be a really interesting film.

But that’s when it starts to go downhill. Once Liza and her younger self begin their journey across LA it very quickly becomes clear that the rest of the film isn’t going to be anything exciting or entertaining at all. The rest of the film just became a series of socially distanced celebrity cameos. The two lead characters would turn a street corner and bump (not literally) into another familiar face that you might recognise and then proceed to chat to them for a few minutes.

They meet some interesting characters along the way including Olivia Wilde, Helen Hunt and Bradley Whitford who looks like he’s just walked off the set of his other pandemic-made film Songbird. And very quickly, these short snippets get tedious and dull as the majority of the jokes don’t land and it just becomes uneventful when you’ve got the same sort of thing happening over and over again.

On paper this film sounded quite similar to 2013’s This Is the End which actually really surprised me with how good it was but the reason why that film worked and How It Ends doesn’t it because This Is the End was actually a lot of fun and really entertaining. How It Ends had so much potential to make a really fun pre-apocalyptic film with lots of celebrity cameos but instead it just became scene after scene of unfunny encounters with another random actor that you might recognise from a couple of other things.

Whilst it’s impressive that they managed to shoot this entirely during the pandemic, it is very clear that this is the case. Every time the two leads encounter another person they’re always standing a couple of metres apart and sometimes the blocking and framing wasn’t particularly good, probably due to the nature of everyone involved trying to adhere to social distancing rules.

How it Ends had so much potential but it just took all the fun out of the end of the world. It sets itself up to be a really enjoyable and entertaining time but ultimately it doesn’t deliver on any of that and is frankly quite dull to sit through. It’s not the worst film made during the pandemic but it’s definitely not the best.

★★☆☆☆

How it Ends premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival in the Premieres section.

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Adventure

‘SEIZE THEM!’ Review | A Rollicking British Comedy Adventure

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This review was made possible by watching an early preview thanks to Escapes supported by the BFI and the National Lottery for organising free nationwide screenings designed to encourage everyone to rediscover the joys of independent cinema

Seize Them!” is a riotous British comedy that marries the best traits of Monty Python, Horrible Histories, Blackadder, and Carry On into a rollicking adventure with a valuable message at its core about finding your song. Director Curtis Vowell delivers a clever, fast-paced film that doesn’t hold back on sword fights, crude humour, and unexpected friendships. The Dark Ages provides us with a British comedy classic. 

The film is a comedy road movie set in the Dark Ages that follows the story of the clueless Queen Dagan (Aimee Lou Wood), an egotistical ruler who is unexpectedly overthrown and toppled from her throne by the charismatic and ruthless Humble Joan (Nicola Coughlan). As Queen Dagan embarks on a quest to reclaim her kingdom, she is joined by unlikely companions, including Shulmay, a former servant with a lot of secrets (Lolly Adefope), and Bobik, a shit-shoveler who ultimately wants more out of life (Nick Frost). Both companions add depth, warmth, and hilarity to her journey as Dagan begins her quest for justice and ultimately faces every conceivable hardship and danger as she embarks on this voyage to win back her throne. She also has to face up to the very worst parts of herself and ultimately answer if she can ever become queen again, can she become a better person while she does it? And what if she has to choose?

© Entertainment Film Distributors

At the heart of this adventure is Queen Dagan, a master of all she surveys, with an ego to match, played outstandingly with delightful arrogance by Aimee Lou Wood. who finds herself headfirst with the revolution-led Humble Joan, portrayed by the charming Nicola Coughlan. The Queen, however, becomes a fugitive in her kingdom, alongside a hefty bounty that’s been put on her head. The dynamic between these two leading ladies is electric, setting the stage for a quest filled with laughter, heart, and a surprising dose of self-discovery.

© Entertainment Film Distributors

The ensemble cast, including the hilarious Lolly Adefope and the ever-charismatic Nick Frost, adds depth and nuance to the story, creating a compelling tapestry of characters that you can’t help but root for. The chemistry between the actors is infectious, making their journey from foes to friends a joy. We also get appearances from some of the U.K. and Ireland’s best comic talent, such as Jessica Hynes as Leofwine, Paul Kaye and John MacMillan as Kings Ivarr and Guthrum, Jason Barnett as Thane Tostig, alongside James Acaster as Felix the Ironmonger. 

Visually, “Seize Them!” shines with its detailed production design and cinematography, which immersed me and the audience at my screening into the mediaeval world of the film. The practical effects and action sequences are seamlessly integrated, adding an extra layer of excitement to the already engaging plot. 

But what truly sets this film apart is its sharp, witty dialogue that harkens back to the comedic genius of its predecessors. Written by Andy Riley, the clever banter and quick wit keep the pace brisk and the laughs coming, making “Seize Them!” a thoroughly entertaining ride from start to finish. 

© Entertainment Film Distributors

Overall, “Seize Them!” is a delightful blend of humour, heart, and adventure that will leave you grinning from ear to ear. Whether you’re a fan of British comedy or simply looking for a feel-good movie with a meaningful message, this film is sure to delight you. So, seize the opportunity to watch this comedic gem and prepare to be swept away on a whimsical and hilarious journey across the Dark Ages. I applaud and give this film a high fünf! just make sure to be in a circle of safety when Big Liam arrives.

Seize them! will be in UK Cinemas from April 5th.

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Action

Bad Boys: Ride or Die | Official Trailer – Sony Pictures Entertainment

Miami’s finest end up on the run.

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Genre:

Action, Adventure, Comedy

Release Date:

2024

Director:

Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah

Cast:

Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens

Plot Summary:

Miami’s finest end up on the run

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Action

Kung Fu Panda 4 Review: Po and Co are Back to Pack Hilarious Punches.

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I’ve seen too many great animation franchises deliver diminishing returns with more and more sequels. To name some recent examples one could include How to Train Your Dragon, Despicable Me, Cars, etc. Kung Fu Panda is another franchise that unfortunately falls in this category. The threequel that released in 2016, was most people’s choice for the weakest entry in the beloved franchise. So that made me pretty skeptical whether the world was ready for this franchise to return and gave us good cause not to have expectations set too high, especially given the weak marketing campaign and smaller production budget. To make things worse, it was being reported that the furious five would not be a part of the story.

So I went in with my expectations in check but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s been 8 years since the last Kung Fu Panda movie, but the characters are somehow still fresh and fun. One of the best things that the makers are able to do is remind the viewers what makes Po such a darling and why we love him so much. Jack Black is such a natural fit for his voice and makes this character special with his wit and wisdom in this latest entry. 

This entry is notably structured in a very different way from the other 3 entries. This one focuses on Po’s search for a successor and his ascension to the Master of Peace. The main characters are split up pretty early in the movie and are sent on separate adventures in a sort of buddy-cop-style scenario. On one side we have Po and Awkwafina’s Zhen, and on the other, we have Bryan Cranston and James Hong as Po’s dads. These two duos are a lot of fun in their own ways.

(from left) Po (Jack Black) and Zhen (Awkwafina) in Kung Fu Panda 4 directed by Mike Mitchell.

Po and Xen have more of a good boy-bad boy dynamic, while the dads have more of a light-hearted brotherhood between them. Both pairs of misfits deliver a string of humorously entertaining sequences that will have you laughing your heart out. The humor here works for most parts apart from one or two instances and the dialogue in particular is very smartly written. The story, on the other hand, is where the movie is at its weakest.

The structuring is pretty generic with a very cliche twist at the beginning of the second half and the script mostly fails to provide significantly fresh plot points. But credit to it for executing the successor plotline better than a lot of movies that have tried it, especially Cars 3. The writers make sure to put their entire focus on humor and entertainment value, but they do come up with a couple of charming moments and some subplots that come full circle.

The animation here is surprisingly really good, especially given the significantly lower budget. The trailers didn’t get too many people encouraged about the quality of animation, but I can tell you that even though it’s not DreamWorks’ best, it’s still really well done. The background score also hits the right spot where it’s able to compliment the scene and lift it at the same time. The voice work here is also pretty solid. Jack Black is amazing as always and Awkwafina Ke Huy Quan are welcome additions.

(Center) Chameleon (Viola Davis) in Kung Fu Panda 4 directed by Mike Mitchell.

Apart from Po, the best part of the movie is Li and Ping. They are the heart of this movie. The two of them have incredible chemistry and Mike Mitchell finds a way to bring out the best from the both of them. They play off of each other in the most silly, but whimsical manner which is just a joy to watch. We could do with a spin-off of them. Ian McShane’s return as Tai Lung is another highlight here. He is nicely integrated and fits well into the story being told. On the other hand, Viola Davis’ Chameleon is somewhat of a disappointment. For a villain that has the powers of all the previous villains, she was a rather tame antagonist.

Overall, Kung Fu Panda 4 is a return to form for the beloved franchise. It has a lot of elements that made the franchise successful and is a much-needed reminder of how much we love these characters and in particular, Po. Jack Black knocks it out of the park with Bryan Cranston and James Hong emerging as surprise standouts. It lacks the emotional depth of the first two entries and has a disappointingly tame villain. But it is a major improvement from the last entry and unsurprisingly very very entertaining.

Kung Fu Panda 4 releases in cinemas on March 8.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_inKs4eeHiI&pp=ygUXa3VuZyBmdSBwYW5kYSA0IHRyYWlsZXI%3D

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