Movies reviews

  • Ip Man 3

    Watched on


    When a band of brutal gangsters led by a crooked property developer make a play to take over a local school, Master Ip is forced to take a stand.

    Ip Man 3


    The third movie in this martial arts series about Ip Man finally steps up in the cinematography department and it's great to see; I loved the dust dancing through the light during the umbrella fight scene. Instead of being dull, the set design and visuals finally live up to the brilliant action sequences.

    There are two distinct styles to the fighting in this sequel; Western and Chinese. It was interesting to see them come together, but I preferred the technical prowess and respect shown from the martial arts side. There are two fight scenes where a few take on a vast amount of assailants, but again it's the more intimate fight scenes which impress.

    I was wary about the inclusion of Mike Tyson as a character in this movie. However, the fight scene between him and Ip Man is the majority of Tyson’s screen time and the fight itself it quite intense.

    Once again, the "foreigners" were over-the-top camp villains and the storyline with the American boxer “Twister” feels very much like Rocky IV. That's not to say it is bad, and the two boxing fight scenes are pretty brutal.

    The two best fights one-to-ones. Firstly with Ip Man and a Thai fighter, in an elevator, as he protects his wife. And secondly, the final scene as he seeks to reclaim/defend the Wing Chun Grandmaster title.

    The movie has a lot more emotion baked in, first in protecting a school, then rescuing kidnapped children, and focusing on Ip Man’s relationship with his wife. Donnie Yen is a stand-out performance, not just for the martial arts, but portraying the calm demeanour which boils over in to his love for his family.

  • Ip Man 2

    Watched on


    Centering on Ip Man's migration to Hong Kong in 1949 as he attempts to propagate his discipline of Wing Chun martial arts.

    Ip Man 2


    Now this is a sequel. Building on top of the first movie, it re-introduces characters that add emotional weight and adds new well-defined antagonists. Combing these, with a less sinister setting gives a much more enjoyable storyline.

    Again, the camerawork seems very dated and the cinematography flat, but that doesn’t matter when the characters, story and action all line up.

    The gangs fighting and the “foreigners” were a little over the top, but in this martial arts series it feels fine.

    The master fight on the table was enthralling. But it’s the two boxing matches that levels up this sequel – you could feel the consequences and both throw up their fair share of surprises.

  • Ip Man

    Watched on


    During the Japanese invasion of China, a wealthy martial artist is forced to leave his home when his city is occupied. With little means of providing for themselves, Ip Man and the remaining members of the city must find a way to survive.

    Ip Man


    Following on from watching The Grandmaster, I was told this movie was a better take on the story of Ip Man. The cinematography can’t compete with Kar-Wai’s style. However, the story has far more heart, is more realistic but still features intense fighting and even humour.

    Although the cinematography is bland and the camerawork is quite poor – feeling like a 1940s movie – the character development is far better and the story much easier to follow.

    Neither movie deals with how Ip Man became a master or explained his wealth which I found frustrating.

  • Martha Marcy May Marlene

    Watched on


    Haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, a damaged woman struggles to re-assimilate with her family after fleeing an abusive cult.

    Martha Marcy May Marlene


    The movie starts with really striking sound design that continues throughout, accented with beautiful but plain and muted cinematography combined with good acting from everyone.

    An interesting look inside a cult and what it feels like to escape back to normality. There is an intense atmosphere and it’s a slow burn but just lacks something to make it special.

  • At Eternity's Gate

    Watched on


    A look at the life of painter Vincent van Gogh during the time he lived in Arles and Auvers-sur-Oise, France.

    At Eternity's Gate


    The beginning, with a mixture of native and English language, doesn’t really work well. The camera work didn’t fit my expectations of subject nor period. It is frantic and nauseating throughout. There is a weird and soft lens introduced later which becomes distracting. And towards the end there is a scene with repetitive audio and overlapping exposures.

    The sound design is flat and bizarre in places; music cut off abruptly with dialogue or interrupted with comedic timing.

    I understand the choices were made for artistic purposes, portraying what it feels like to be an artist and representing the struggle with mental illness. But the movie doesn’t explain any of this and unless you know a lot about the artist, it is too much of a disconnect.

    I’d only recommend this if you’re a big fan of Vincent van Gogh. Personally I was really disappointed.