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Chaos Walking | Review

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Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland have both already had a leading role in two of the most popular and profitable film franchises of all time and now they’ve joined together for Chaos Walking. Based on the book The Knife of Never Letting Go, the first of the Chaos Walking trilogy, the film looks to hopefully launch a successful series for Lionsgate in a similar vein to The Hunger Games. Unfortunately, Chaos Walking is not particularly good and most likely will not launch a successful film franchise.

Chaos Walking has been a long time in the making with so many different creatives attached to the project at various different times. At one point Robert Zemeckis was tapped to direct but the gig ended up going to Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow). However, after very poor test screenings citing the film as “unreleasable”, the film underwent some major reshoots in April 2019 which were directed by Fede Álvarez (Don’t Breathe). Whilst the film they’ve ended up with isn’t quite unreleasable, the original cut must have been truly awful if this is the new and improved version.

The film is set in a dystopian future where all woman have disappeared and the men that are left are plagued with something called “the Noise”. The Noise is a strange force that voices all their thoughts so that everyone else can hear what they’re thinking. Todd Hewitt (Tom Holland) suddenly discovers a mysterious girl named Viola (Daisy Ridley) and they must journey across the planet in order to get to safety.

The concept of being able to hear everyone’s thoughts is quite an interesting one and the film does have quite a few funny moments that come from this but otherwise, Chaos Walking just feels like your average YA sci-fi. Except it’s nowhere near as engaging or entertaining as other series such as The Hunger Games or The Maze Runner.  The whole film feels very dull and lacking in anything exciting or anything that draws you into the world and makes you want to invest your time into the characters. There’s a scene about half an hour in that was really good; there was action, it was exciting, the score kicked in and it was at this point that it felt like it starting to get going and it was beginning to get into it. But then the scene ended, and it ended quite abruptly at that but after that scene it reverted back to the unenticing and unengaging type of film that it was beforehand.

The film feels like wasted potential as there’s a good story in there, as seen by how popular the book series has been and there will always been an audience out there for YA sci-fi adaptations as the last decade has shown but for an action-adventure film, it was lacking in action and well, it was lacking in adventure too. There are very few good elements to the film, the sound design was good, making clever use of the way that everyone’s thoughts were heard and even the visual effects for visualising the Noise were also quite good too. But there was just too much nothingness and lacklustre sequences that made the film rather uninspiring.

When the action scenes did come around, they were barely watchable. There was either loads of shaky cam or the were so many cuts to the extent that what was going on was incomprehensible and it takes any excitement that might have been there away. Some of the editing in this film was very shocking.

In terms of the cast, there are lots of impressive players here with Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley as well as Mads Mikkelsen, Cynthia Erivo, Nick Jonas and David Oyelowo. Despite a lot of big names here, none of the performances are particularly inspiring. Mikkelsen is always good to watch and can always improve a bad film ever so slightly but otherwise the impressive cast do very little to salvage the film.

Chaos Walking ends up being an uninspiring and lifeless adaptation despite boasting an impressive cast and impressive source material. There’s simply nothing in it that makes it exciting or moving and it’ll go down as one of the weaker attempts at starting a new YA dystopian film franchise.

★★☆☆☆

Chaos Walking is released in cinemas on March 5.

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Adventure

Arthur the King is an Epic Masterpiece

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Arthur the King movie poster (Lionsgate Films)

Here follows the review of Arthur the King, a story of deep connection between people and dogs. Not all heroes wear capes, some have wagging tails and would cross a river (and jungle) for you.

Plot

Desperate for one last chance to win, Michael Light convinces a sponsor to back him and a team of athletes for the Adventure Racing World Championship in the Dominican Republic. As the team gets pushed to the outer limits of endurance, a dog named Arthur comes along for the ride, redefining what victory, loyalty and friendship truly means.

Arthur Foundation

Mikael Lindnord raced through a jungle in Ecuador and after feeding a few meatballs to a stray dog made a friend for life. The dog followed Mikael and his team through the rough terrain. Mikael named the dog Arthur and took him back home with him.

Arthur and Mikael Lindnord (Photo taken by Krister Goransson)

The Arthur Foundation collaborates with various organizations in different countries that work towards animal welfare.

Click on the following links to reach out to Mikael Lindnord.

Movie Review (no spoilers)

The movie is based on the memoir, Arthur – The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home by Mikael Lindnord, who was the athlete who participated in the Adventure Racing World Championship in Ecuador. It is important to note in the movie they refer to him as Michael Light. Even though the original race took place in Ecuador, the movie changed the location to the Dominican Republic. The original race took place in 2014, while in the movie the race takes place in 2018.

Mark Wahlberg portrays the part of the Mikael and delivers an excellent performance alongside Simu Liu, Nathalie Emmanuel and Ali Suliman. Ukai, a stray dog, was a real champion portraying the role of Arthur. The film takes us through picturesque locations in the Dominican Republic. The suspense was felt at every turn and corner and you are kept glued to the screen with a gripping storyline. The story balances the journey of Mikael and Arthur and eventually joins their path like a jigsaw puzzle.

Mark Wahlberg as Mikael Light (Lionsgate Films)

A fictional backstory is provided of Mikael’s competitive journey as well as the journey that Arthur took to get to Mikael. The movie successfully tells a deep story of connection between dogs and people. If you want to know more about the real story, you can check your local bookstore or Amazon for a copy of Arthur – The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home

This movie is a 5 out of 5 for me. The connection between Mikael and Arthur is brought to life in this epic masterpiece. Arthur found a home in the heart of Mikael and thanks to Mark Wahlberg and Ukai, this film adaptation of ‘Arthur – The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home’ became a memorable movie.

The trailer doesn’t spoil any of the important scenes of the movie. Arthur the King has a runtime of 1 hour and 30 minutes. There is no post-credits scene so no need to wait till the end.

Arthur the King Official Trailer (Lionsgate Films)

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Entertainment

A Must-See Satanic Panic Horror – Late Night With the Devil

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Written and directed by Cameron Cairnes & Colin Cairnes, Late Night With the Devil follows a late night TV host Jack Delroy, fighting the plummeting viewership of his show by welcoming in people from the occult in order to change that, but of course, everything doesn’t go as smooth as planned.

David Dastmalchian as Jack Delroy Late Night With the Devil (2023)

David Dastmalchian has appeared in a lot of films however always in smaller roles including The Dark Knight, Prisoners and more recently The Suicide Squad. This film allows Dastmalchian to take on the lead role of Jack Delroy, the host of the late night show at the centre of this film, and he genuinely does a great job. There’s a real range of emotions which his character goes through during the course of this film and he depicts them so well.

If you’re a fan of the horror genre, you’re going to really appreciate the use of practical effects in this. There’s plenty of stretchy and gooey gore for all of the horror fanatics that will have you shouting at the screen. 

From left to right: Laura Gordon, Ingrid Torelli, David Dastmalchian, Ian Bliss

If you want to hear my full thoughts, check out my review over on YouTube and let me know your opinions in the comments.

Late Night With the Devil will be released in cinemas from 22nd March and on Shudder on 19th April.

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Reviews

‘I Love You, Guys’ Review | A Poignant Exploration of Celebrity Vulnerability and Human Resilience

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We are living in an era where celebrities are worshipped like deities and sometimes, people forget that he or she is also a normal human being. If we feel happy or sad at certain moments, they do as well and even though a lot of people always surround them, they get vulnerable too. Although a lot of filmmakers forget to show that aspect of their lives, Billie Melissa Rogan takes the bold approach of showing the truth. Her directorial debut, ‘I Love You, Guys,’ is a poignant story about a celebrity fighting her inner self to maintain her celebrity image. The result is a stunning piece of art that resonates long after the end credits roll in.

The short film opens with a profound close-up of the young singing sensation named Sky (Becky Bush). She has made a name for herself by making and singing really exceptional songs. As a result, she is adored by her fans. Even though it feels like Sky has everything she wants, viewers see her submerged in a bathtub as she tries to battle her anxiety. Just then, Sky gets a phone that she’d be performing state-side. Now, that’s where we get to know about her vulnerable state for the first time. Although she says that she is really happy with the above-mentioned news, her face tells a different story. Despite her impending stardom, Sky has not started to feel the massive weight of mounting pressure, a sentiment audiences get to see in her conversations with bandmate Ryan (Pedro Leandro) and girlfriend Taylor (Celi Crossland).

Becky Bush in a still from ‘I Love You, Guys’ (Jumpcut Studios)

As the story moves forward, we get to know that ‘I Love You, Guys’ is about the fragile nature of the human spirit as much as it is about celebrity culture. It not only navigates themes of depression, it also highlights the turbulent emotional journey of Sky. One of the best aspects of the film is how Rogan masterfully brings Cory Varney’s screenplay to life. She managed to capture every minor detail of Sky’s emotions with utmost precision. Despite the fact that it is her first-ever film as a director, we get a sense that we are watching a flick helmed by a seasoned filmmaker.

Another aspect that makes this film such a compelling watch is its cinematography. Jenni Suitiala has done a phenomenal in showing expressions through vibrant colors and Rogan has made full use of the settings to give viewers a visually striking film. Whether it is heated arguments or silent moments of despair, each frame feels authentic and draws audiences into Sky’s personal life.

Apart from Rogan’s direction, Varney’s script is this film’s biggest strength. The writer has undoubtedly done a stunning job of showing the humanity of these characters. There’s a reason why Sky’s struggles feel very personal and it is because we have endured such moments in life. Moments where we doubt ourselves even when we know we are more than capable of doing a particular thing. Not every smiling person is happy. Sometimes he or she is smiling just so that no one finds out about the tough times they are going through.

A still from ‘I Love You, Guys’ (Jumpcut Studios)

Acting-wise, Becky Bush has given a performance that is surely going to open several doors for her. She delivers a magnificent performance by infusing Sky with a beautiful balance of vulnerability and strength. The way she manages to convey an innumerable amount of emotions is spectacular. I believe this is one of the most apt depictions of mental turmoil. Meanwhile, Pedro Leandro and Celi Crossland are just as spectacular. Every interaction between the characters feels genuine and nuanced.

All in all, ‘I Love You, Guys’ is a testament to how resilient a human spirit can be. In just 15 minutes, Rogan, Varney, and Bush take viewers on a journey that’s thought-provoking and talks about a subject that no one talks about. The writing, direction, and performances achieve a lot more than just viewers’ attention. The film offers a compelling examination of the human cost of pursuing fame and success. A poignant story that touches on themes of ambition, relationships, and self-discovery.

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