Gunpowder Milkshake: Film Review

Gunpowder Milkshake

Courtesy of StudioCanal/Sky Cinema

I’ve quite enjoyed watching Karen Gillan‘s evolution from Doctor Who’s companion Amy Pond to Hollywood action star and I think playing a hitwoman in Gunpowder Milkshake is a logical next step!

In this neon-soaked action thriller, she plays Sam, whose assassin mother Scarlet (Lena Headey) disappeared after a botched mission when she was only 12. Fifteen years later, she’s now working as a hitwoman for The Firm, which her mum also worked for, and is routinely sent to “clean up” their mess. During one high-risk job, Sam must choose between being loyal to The Firm or saving an eight-year-old girl named Emily (Chloe Coleman).

Gunpowder Milkshake is nothing we haven’t seen before – it’s a flimsy, hollow, shoot-’em-up that’s more style over substance (essentially like a female John Wick) but despite these flaws, it’s still an entertaining watch thanks to the star-studded ensemble co-writer/director Navot Papushado has put together as they seem to be having an absolute blast.

If you’re here for the action then you will love it because the film is basically just a bunch of action sequences strung together with minimal character development. These action scenes are high-octane, violent, super stylish and feature some very cool stunt choreography. The gunfights got a bit boring after a while so I was grateful when the guns were sometimes switched for more interesting weapons. My favourite action sequence was when Sam’s arms were deadened so she had to get inventive.

As fun as these scenes are, they would have been so much better if we’d known more about these characters and The Firm. I wanted to spend more time getting to know Sam and “the Librarians”, a trio of Scarlet’s old accomplices featuring Anna May (Angela Bassett), Florence (Michelle Yeoh) and Madeleine (Carla Gugino). Considering she’s the lead, we never know why Sam followed in her mum’s footsteps or anything about her as a person outside of the hitwoman business.

Gillan has proven how capable she is with stunt choreography in the Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers and Jumanji films so it was no surprise to see her ace these complex setpieces. She brings a quirky energy to the character and has a fun relationship with Coleman’s Emily, who naively believes she’s going to become Sam’s apprentice. I loved that the librarians were comprised of women in their 50s and 60s – you hardly ever see that whereas older actors are action stars all the time. All of the women were so badass, and my favourite was Yeoh as she gets some great fight moments. It’s also worth pointing out that Paul Giamatti is in this as Nathan, the head of HR for The Firm, and is suitably devious.

Gunpowder Milkshake has awesome visuals and I loved seeing these women kick ass, but I wanted it to have a bit more meat on its bones.

In cinemas and on Sky Cinema from Friday 17th September

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Soul: Film Review

Soul

I hold Pixar films in really high regard so I have the greatest of expectations for each new offering and while Soul is good, it doesn’t reach the lofty heights of the company’s best work.

Soul follows middle school music teacher Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx), who has long dreamed of having a career as a jazz musician. One day, he is hired to become the pianist in a band with Dorothea Williams (Angela Bassett), but hours before the break he has been longing for, Joe has an accident and his soul is separated from his body. He wakes up on a conveyor belt heading to The Great Beyond, but he manages to escape and ends up in The Great Before, where souls develop their personalities and traits before being sent to Earth. He must work with souls in training, such as 22 (Tina Fey), in order to get back to his body.

I have to applaud Pete Docter and his team for taking on big themes such as life and death and what comes before and after them and presenting them visually in a way children will want to watch and creating an entertaining journey that they will enjoy and understand, even if the big concepts go over their heads. I really respected the message about appreciating life, a person’s purpose, and what gives them their spark as well as the ambition the team had for this movie – but it didn’t fully work for me. I can’t place why but at the end, I felt deflated because I was expecting more; for it to hit me in the feels or give me some sort of epiphany, but that didn’t happen. My expectations for Pixar films are just so damn high!

The voice cast is incredible. Foxx was the perfect choice for Joe and he brings so much energy and enthusiasm to the part. Fey was also excellent as 22, who is reluctant to find her spark and go to Earth, and they make a great comedy pairing. I also enjoyed Phylicia Rashad as Joe’s no-nonsense mother Libba, Bassett as the difficult to impress Dorothea, and Rachel House as Terry, a soul counter in The Great Beyond. I was surprised but thrilled to hear the voices of Graham Norton and Richard Ayoade in this, with Norton being a particular delight.

Although this isn’t one of the best Pixar films and the message might be lost on young viewers, they can still enjoy the colourful visuals, the body-swap comedy element, and all the cat jokes. There’s plenty of humour in here to amuse both kids and adults, but grown-ups may appreciate what it’s saying too.

Available on Disney+ for no extra fee on Christmas Day

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Black Panther: Film Review

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I have superhero fatigue – I just can’t get excited for them anymore – so the hype surrounding Black Panther didn’t include me whatsoever. But amazingly, watching Black Panther somehow revived my interest and enthusiasm in the MCU, because it is so different and fresh.

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Chi-raq: Film Review

chiraq

With issues such as gun control and Black Lives Matter permanently in the conversation nowadays, it is a no brainer Spike Lee wanted to make a film highlighting them. I fully support what he’s done with Chi-raq and appreciate his intentions, I just didn’t love how the story was told.

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