Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

hunt-for-the-wilderpeople-2016-poster-review(I’m on vacation right now celebrating my 30th Birthday! To fill the void whilst I’m away I’m posting some old movie reviews that I wrote for the blog I had before I started Often Off Topic. I’ll be back in early September.)

I’ll give any movie a try, within reason. I don’t listen to critic reviews, but I place a lot of faith in bloggers’ opinions. Bloggers review movies for fun in their spare time, you know you’re going to get nothing but their own opinions from their reviews. Hunt for the Wilderpeople only came into my radar a few weeks ago, and every blog review I read had nothing but praise for it. That was enough to convince me to add it to my watch list, but once I realised that it’s directed by Taika Waititi, the genius behind What We Do in the Shadows, I made it my mission to watch it as soon as possible.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is based off a book by Barry Crump called Wild Pork and Watercress. It has that book-adaptation feel to it (don’t ask me to explain that feeling – I can’t) anyway, and it’s broken up into Chapters which sum up the ongoings well. In fact, I’d really love to give the book a go, I hope it’s as funny as the movie.

Ricky (Julian Dennison) is a troubled young boy, moving around different foster homes. He’s dropped out at the farm belonging to Bella (Rima Te Wiata) and Hec (Sam Neill) as the last chance. If he screws this up, he’s going to end up in Juvy. Ricky struggles to settle in his new home, despite the love and attention given to him by Bella, and so he runs away into the bush. Hec goes out to find him, and the result is a national manhunt for the pair as it appears that Hec has kidnapped Ricky.

It’s a funny coincidence that I watched this in the same week as Swiss Army Man, because they both have a lot of similarities!

Waititi’s style is clear in this movie. It’s got that same sense of humour as What We Do in the Shadows, and it’s quirky from start to finish. Julian Dennison absolutely shines as the child star of the movie, and his delivery of the witty lines is perfect. He’s just like a lot of other 13-year-olds, thinking he’s a gangster because he’s shoplifted a chocolate bar, played GTA and listens to rap music. Yet he’s such a likable character!

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Every time I watch a movie set in New Zealand, I’m taken back by the beauty of the country. I’m sure a lot of work went into the cinematography, but honestly, the setting does half the work itself, it’s gorgeous to look at.

The movie walks that line of Comedy and Drama perfectly without throwing the tone all over the place. It has some horrendously sad moments that had me sobbing quite openly, although I won’t discuss why because of spoilers, but it’s also one of the funniest movies I’ve seen all year. The dialogue is brilliant, thanks in part to the chemistry Julian Dennison and Sam Neill share.

I’ve been trying to balance this review out with a few negatives to warrant the 9/10 score I wanted to give it, but I’m really struggling. Originally I thought the roles of the Child Protection Officer and her Policeman companion were too campy, but actually, they fit the overall feel of the movie perfectly, especially when I try to compare it to What We Do in the Shadows. I very rarely give perfect marks to any movie, I think there’s always room for improvement, but I can’t find it here!

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Review: The Commuter (2018)

the-commuter-move-review-2018Don’t pretend you didn’t know this post was coming. Some girls have a love of Nicholas Sparks novels, or fashion, or fine wine. Me? I have a die-hard passion for Liam Neeson movies. Rainy weekend? Liam Neeson movie. Sick day? Liam Neeson movie. Down in the dumps? Liam Neeson movie. Yeah, they’re all kind of the same but hey, you know exactly what to expect!

The Commuter is the love child of Taken and The Polar Express. Okay not really, more like Source Code but it conjures a funny image doesn’t it? Michael MacCauley (Liam Neeson) is a down on his luck insurance broker (and an ex-cop, of course) who finds himself caught up in a criminal conspiracy whilst on his commuter train home. There’s someone on his train that doesn’t belong, and he has to find them…and kill them. Sorry, he doesn’t…but you saw what I did there.

I guess The Commuter has a lot of comparisons to Non-Stop (also directed by Jaume Collet-Serra funnily enough) in the sense that the manhunt is taking place in a confined space. It just doesn’t have the same suspense that I felt during Non-Stop, nor does it lead us on wild goose chases. Instead, we get more kick-ass action, such as Liam Neeson beating a guy with an electric guitar. His athletic skills might not be so believable anymore but it’s always fun to see him put up a fight.

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Sadly I didn’t love this movie that much. It was plenty fun to watch, and maybe I’m actually getting tired of watching the same old thing now, but hopefully, it’s just a one-off. Some of the plot didn’t really make sense to me (although that might be my Mum-brain) and the reveal was just a bit…lacklustre.

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So yeah…a slightly shorter post from me than normal but I don’t have much more to say than that. It’s a decent movie but just nothing special. Probably the kind of movie I wouldn’t normally even post about but I miss writing and I haven’t seen anything else for a while! The Commuter gets 2 and a half electric guitars from me, just don’t let Liam Neeson have them.

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