Jules Movie Reviews

Bite Size Movie reviews from Wanaka, New Zealand

Movie news and ramblings…..

Good to be back in the Cinema

Having recently returned to the local cinemas (Ruby’s and Paradiso in Wanaka), it’s good to know watching a big movie with lots of other like minded folk, is still fun.

There is something about the collective experience you cannot get at home, no matter how big your screen and how good your sound system is.

Arguably reserved (for me anyway) for larger films that demanding the “big screen experience”, with smaller and more intimate/arty/documentary movies sitting quite nicely at home.

Good to be back with new releases (Dune and No Time to Die), hopefully this will put some takings back into the local cinemas, they sure will need it after this long lay off.

OK we give up, we should review movies sent straight to streaming

I have been resisting in support of our local cinemas but the reality is that major movies with “A list” stars are now being commissioned, produced and screened exclusively on streaming giants like, Netflix, Disney, Apple, etc.

We will hold to the principle of only reviewing single movies, not bingeable shows as there are only so many hours in the day – although if you want a tip “Queens Gambit” (Netflix) was excellent.

So in essence there will now be a few reviews of “major films” showing on streaming platforms but will designate them accordingly to indicate they are showing only on that platform.

After all, pushing back the tide is noble but ultimately somewhat pointless.

Enjoy, wherever your movies are sourced from……..

500 Movies

Just hit a new milestone, I have now reviewed over 500 movies so dive in and check them out using the search function

Where have all the Thrillers gone?

With  “Girl on The Train” receiving disappointing reviews and even Tom Cruise complaining that getting Jack Reacher movies financed is hard, where have all our mid range thriller films gone?

It seems that unless your main protagonist has a cape and superhero powers, movie studios are no longer interested.


Most of us these days are a bit bored with CGI, just how many skyscrapers can be destroyed by superheroes?

However when VFX/CGI is used to create photo realistic worlds in the way “Jungle Book” has achieved, audience members do take notice. Check out this site to see the before and after as “Mowgli” splashes in the river  – Mowgli – Floating Down the river.

Of course children of a certain age just accept this as the new reality, in the same way traditional hand drawn cartoons are now passée and CGI toon’s the norm.

The film provides the logical conclusion that any tech savvy director is now only limited by their imagination, truly anything is now possible.

Of course great power has always been paired with great responsibility, an attribute not every Hollywood director is imbued with. It remains to be seen how this technology continues to develop but with “anti-aging” VFX all but proven and ability to create photo realistic environments, maybe even Indiana Jones XI remains possible…

Movie Violence

Films are generally “marketed” at 14 year old boys and increasingly what sells is violence, graphic brutal violence. I used to believe that a film with a 16 certificate should mean the violence would be at an “acceptable” level (to me), this no longer holds true.

Regretfully movies are being stolen from me, many films that I might have enjoyed are so marred by unnecessary levels of violence, I no longer wish to watch them. “Kingsman” is a classic case in point.  This was fun to a point, reasonably well acted with some good action sequences and did not take itself too seriously but was ruined by graphic and pointless violence.

Director Matthew Vaughn recently mentioned the church sequence was so popular he is looking for something similar for the sequel, I despair at the future of cinema.

I do not subscribe to the theory that watching violent films directly makes someone want to carry out such acts, any immediate cause and effect remains highly debatable. However, the level of casual on-screen violence and subsequent de-sensitisation of audiences exposed to it, does in my view create an environment where such actions can thrive or be tolerated in real life.

I fully expect that over time the number of movies I will want to watch will reduce and I will resort to watching my old favourites, safe in the knowledge characters will not be eviscerated in full HD at any point during the story.

What is it with Zombies at the moment?

It looks like filmmakers, censors and audiences have finally found a solution to onscreen violence. Provided we have zombies that than be eviscerated and killed in spectacular and grisly fashion everyone seems happy?

Grey Power

It may have taken forever but finally studios have realised that people who are not 14 and male, also go to the movies. With the success and subsequent sequel of “The best exotic Marigold Hotel”, expect to see more grey orientated films soon. See also “Amour” “Quartet” and anything written by “Jane Austen” as further examples.


“The life of Pi” has highlighted how starved we are for truly unique cinema experiences. “The Bourne Legacy” is an average film, it employs good actors, provides thrills and has great played for real stunts but it just feels like a movie that should not exist. Much like “Pirates of the Caribbean 4” and “Indy 4”, these are franchises that are done, mined out, the tank is creatively empty, so why keep going?

Money of course is the answer, the worldwide market for movies is growing exponentially, India, China, Russia along with many other countries, now consume Hollywood fare without question. A film does not need to be “good” to take in excess of $100 million worldwide, in fact the domestic return (i.e. USA) is becoming increasingly less important. This trend is now catered for with many films tailoring their locations to emerging markets.

As an example “Skyfall”, at time of writing has taken over $1 billion dollars in ticket sales, only three hundred of which came from the US box office.

Unfortunately, money talks. Green lighting a project at $150 million that is all but guaranteed to return say $600 million from a built in audience, is a no brainer for most studio execs. The only silver lining is that these films provide the capital for “lesser” or more risky films to be made.

Something to think about when you are watching “Transformers 4”, you are ultimately funding the next “Silver Linings Playbook”.

Remakes of Disney Movies

Everyone can work out the main reason for remaking past hand-drawn cartoon classic.

A chance for a new generation to enjoy the magic of course.

If Disney happen to make a lot of money in the process through box office receipts,  merchandising and theme park rides then this represents an unintentional by product….

Is this a bad trend? Like most cinema goers it might be better to see more creativity and exploration of more stories. Arguably of course, generating large returns may allow studios the freedom to do just that, or increase their dividend to shareholders depending on your viewpoint.

Arguably this is neither good not bad, “Jungle Book” was highly enjoyable, “Lion King” perhaps added little to the original film, despite being a technical tour de force.

“Mulan” is next, filmed at least partly in New Zealand (South Island), rapidly becoming a go to location for filmmakers.

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