Short-fire film reviews – Isle Of Dogs; Ready Player One; I, Tonya; Tomb Raider

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Better late than never I suppose. In this Berkeley Squares first, we will be sweeping up the remains of any film we missed out on during Oscar season and the Easter period. The Shape of Water, Isle Of Dogs, Ready Player One, Tomb Raider and I, Tonya all get treatment here.

Isle Of Dogs

Before this, I had only seen one Wes Anderson film, and that was many years ago, so I admit to being quite excited for its release. Did it disappoint? No, not at all. Did it blow my mind? No, not at all.

It’s a beautifully crafted film, superbly acted by one of the most entertaining voice casts I’ve ever heard. The film’s story is an old tale re-told in a new, entertaining way. I laughed throughout, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to enter a world of wonder for a few hours. My only negatives were that the film didn’t excite for most of its running time nor did it challenge me in any sort of discernible way – not that every film has to, it’s just that those issues are the only things stopping me rating any higher. Some may complain about the lack of conventional subtitles with the Japanese characters, and I would tell them to grow up and try engaging themselves in the film and performances; not everything needs to be spoon-fed!


Tomb Raider

I tried to make a full-length review of this but you just can’t make something this mediocre entertaining even in a review format. When I try to think of things to say my mind turns to… I can’t even find the right word for it now sitting here! I can sit through a mediocre film, but a mix of terribly-directed action (albeit I had friends who disagreed), a forgettable story-line and plot holes that come close to putting Infinity War to shame ensured that this film was never going to merit its own fully-fledged review (though that bike chase through London was undoubtedly enjoyable).


Ready Player One

Disappointing. Not awful, just not up to Spielberg’s standard. Some may find enjoyment in its decent adventure plot, and even more may enjoy the presence of their favourite video game characters and ’80s nostalgia icons, but as a film, it’s just OK. There’s just not much to say apart from that Spielberg’s liberal use of nostalgia abuse as a substitute for real storytelling is nothing less than disrespectful for the most part. (Although, considering his close relationship with Stanley Kubrick I’m sure there was one section he poured quite a lot of soul into, even if I wasn’t a huge fan).


I, Tonya

Well better late than never. I saw this in mid-April with a friend and we were the only two in the cinema. That, however, bears no relation to the film’s overall quality; because that was stellar. It was done in the now iconic Goodfellas style of biographical film: it was War Dogs two years ago, and now we have this documentary-esque tale of a morally suspect dreamer’s attempt to make it big before having their dreams pulled right back down into the dust.

Entertaining performances, a rapid pace and an enticing tale of an Olympic conspiracy, balanced with commentary on some of the less discussed discrimination in society, makes this my third favourite film from this Oscar season behind Three Billboards and The Shape of Water.



The Shape Of Water

A beautiful film; an adult fairy tale with just the right mix of shock, suspense, an evident care for film-making and a sense of hopefulness, making this a worthy winner of Best Picture, even if there were better alternatives. It’s a simple story told excellently, with engaging characters and an exciting three-way conflict over a creature’s ability to wage war and to love. It won’t blow your mind, but what it will do is take you on a magical, if a little odd, journey worth taking; despite what certain political commentators may have said about it.