2022 In Film: Day Nine (The Almost Amazing)

These are films which are incredible, they’re just not among the best I’ve ever seen. There’s some great stuff in this section, most years, these would be among the best, but 2022 was actually an INCREDIBLE year for cinema, as will be proven in the next entry.

Bodies Bodies Bodies

Ups: Very funny.

Some great deaths.

So damn clever at the end.

Downs: You might get frustrated before it gets to the end.

Characters are a bit unsympathetic.

Pete Davidson could tone it down a bit.

Best Moment: The ending, easily.

Worst Moment: The sub-plot about the texts. Could have been done better.

Best Performer: Maria Bakalova

Opening: Bee and Sophie are travelling to a hurricane party. The fact they’re travelling to a hurricane party says everything you need to know about those characters. Perfect.

Closing: I don’t want to spoil it, but trust me, it’s good. It changes the entire film and is everything an ending should be.

Best Line: “I’m not escalating you’re holding the knife and you’re moving your hands while you talk.”

Original Review here

Boiling Point

Ups: The fact it was made. A technical masterpiece.

Downs: It’s supposed to be a very busy night, but never really feels like it. Feels very low-stakes.

Best Moment: Chef Carly bringing one of the front of house staff to tears just through words alone. It’s a long-ass speech and it’s delivered perfectly.

Worst Moment: The ending. Seems a bit too reminiscent of the original ending of Clerks, like they didn’t know how to end it.

Best Performer: Graham. Easily.

Opening: The main character walking to work whilst on the phone, and then meets an environmental health officer. Does a great job of setting up him and the situation. Then the health officer starts criticising people, “I know that’s regulation temperature, but ideally I want it lower”, so he essentially marks them down for following the rules. Sets up the conflict.

Closing: He cries on the phone to his estranged wife, getting her to tell their son that he loves him. He then promises to get into rehab. He then keels over, possibly dying as we fade to black. That’s…….brutal.

Best Line: The aforementioned speech. It’s cutting, and perfect. Can’t type the whole thing here.

Original Review here

Chip N Dale: Rescue Rangers

Ups: Very funny

Very meta

The animation differences actually work.

Lots of cameos.

REALLY dark.

Downs: A bit predictable

Some of the characters from the original series are sidelined.

If you’re a child, are you going to understand all the references and cameos?

Best Moment: When one of the characters uses a Rescue Rangers episode to indicate they’re in trouble. The code is not picked up, but another one with the same message is. Very funny.

Worst Moment: The cheesemonger moment feels a bit of a waste of the performers talent.

Best Performer: Samberg. His child-like enthusiasm is perfect for this.

Opening: Voiceover, showing how the two met. Cliche, but works, also adds some great jokes in there “you’re not Donald Duck, you have to wear pants”

Closing: They decide to release a reboot of the Rescue Rangers TV show. Works. Suits the style of the film.

Best Line: “What’s the first thing that pops into your head when I say Chip N Dale? I’m willing to bet it’s Thomas Chippendale, the london cabinet maker. I bet the second thing is these guys *shows the chippendale dancers*

Original Review here

Confess, Fletch

Ups: So damn funny.

A compelling mystery.

Great ensemble cast.

Downs: Other mysteries have been better.

Terribly marketed.

Could be smarter.

Best Moment: The scene with the neighbour, chaotic comedy.

Worst Moment: Some of the police scenes undermine their characters a little bit.

Best Performer: Ayden Mayeri. Tempted to go with Hamm, but he has enough recognition, Mayeri doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. So just mentioning her now so that when she inevitably becomes a huge sitcom star, I can point out I was a fan of her first.

Opening: The lead is sent by his girlfriend to recover stolen paintings. Might have set up the character more if we caught him at the end of a previous job so we get more of an indication of how good he is. But I respect how quickly it leaps into the main story.

Closing: The redistribution of the stolen paintings. In a lot of films, I would criticise this as being too “look, this character is likeable”, but in this, it kind of makes sense with the way the character is written.

Best Line: “We obtained surveillance footage from a store around the corner.”

“Where the fudge is made?”

Original Review here

Fall

Ups: Effective, to the point it almost made me nauseous watching it.

Likeable characters.

Simple story, done in the best possible way.

Downs: “so it’s just them on a small platform?” If you can’t get past that, you’re not going to like this.

Visuals in the opening are a bit weak.

Might not be able to stomach it more than once.

Best Moment: When the ladder breaks. You know it’s not real, and you know the characters won’t die that early. But you can’t get past the “holy shit, that should not happen” part of your brain. Plus, when it happened in the screening I was at, a guy immediately shook his head, stood up, and loudly exclaimed “nope, fuck that”

Worst Moment: The ending.

Best Performer: Grace Caroline Currey. The film is anchored around her performance, if she fails, she drags the film down and it sinks. Kind of regret saying “anchored” now, feels like it clashes with the metaphor.

Opening: Becky, Hunter, and Dan (Becky’s husband) climb a mountain. Dan makes a quick dismount, by which I mean he falls and dies. The weakest visuals in the whole thing, the backgrounds look incredibly fake.

Closing: Obvious ending. But it happens way too quickly and feels like they cut a 5 minute scene out filling in some things.

Best Line: “If you’re scared of dying, don’t be afraid to live”

Original Review here

Orphan: First Kill

Ups: Actually adds to the mythos.

Great use of practical effects.

Incredible plot that rewards rewatching

Downs: A bit too many “this is a reference to the original” moments.

Best Moment: The reveal. Trust me, it’s glorious.

Worst Moment: “Esther” finding a missing child who looks like her, is like a needle in a haystack. May have worked better if she saw news about the missing child, then decided to make most of the opportunity.

Best Performer: Julia Stiles.

Opening: Leena/Esther escapes an institution by seducing and killing a guard. It’s weird the guy was sexually aroused by someone with a disease that makes them look like a child, right? Very slasher movie, and works well.

Closing: The original film starts. Good to see.

Best Line: What was I supposed to do… put my surviving child in prison over some sibling rivalry shit?

Original Review here

Scream

Ups: Very clever.

Tackles the darker side of fandom.

Good kills.

Has the best use of Red Right Hand in the franchise so far.

Likeable characters

Downs: Wastes some good potential killers.

The twist could have been foreshadowed slightly better.

Best Moment: Dewey’s death. Truly shocking.

Worst Moment: The hallucinations of Billy are an acquired taste that doesn’t fully work.

Best Performer: David Arquette.

Opening: It’s a Scream movie, you know how it’s going to start: ghostface stabs someone. Major difference in this is they survive. It’s a good way of saying “yes we know the conventions, but we’re going to swerve away from them”

Closing: Gale decides to not write about the killers, leaving them anonymous. Good ending, but might have worked out better for the fourth.

Best Line: “See, you can’t just reboot a franchise from scratch anymore. The fans won’t stand for it. Black Christmas, Child’s Play, Flatliners, that shit doesn’t work. But you can’t just do a straight sequel, either. You need to build something new. But not too new or the Internet goes bug-fucking-nuts. It has to be part of an ongoing storyline, even if that story should never have been going on in the first place. New main characters, yes, but supported by, and related to, legacy characters. Not quite a reboot, not quite a sequel, like the new Halloween, Saw, Terminator, Jurassic Park, Ghostbusters, fuck, even Star Wars. It always, always goes back to the original!”

Original Review here

See How They Run

Ups: Compelling mystery

Saoirse Ronan is a ball of energy.

I like that I know there are many Agatha Christie references I missed out on.

A classic throwback to a genre.

Once you realise where the ending is going you’ll laugh your ass off.

Downs: Loses momentum going into the third act.

Some wasted time.

One of the misdirect attempts really doesn’t work.

Best Moment: The murder reveal is executed (pardon the pun) perfectly.

Worst Moment: The dream sequence.

Best Performer: Saoirse Ronan

Opening: Pan down from the theatre down to the eventual murder victim as he monologues.

Closing: Two characters sit down to watch The Mousetrap. Weirdly nice and quaint. Plus it allows the film to end in a thematically suitable way.

Best Line: “What’s next? A caption that says Three Weeks Later” *caption saying Three Weeks Later appears on screen*

Original Review here

The Banshees Of Inisherin

Ups: Darkly hilarious.

A lot of beauty in the shots.

Tremendous attention to detail for the sets and costumes.

Incredible performances.

Downs: Relentlessly bleak, which stops the emotional moments from hitting quite as hard as they should.

Repeats narrative beats.

Best Moment: When Colm actually cuts his fingers off, brutal.

Worst Moment: Dominic dying, only because it’s handled very quickly.

Best Performer: Colin Farrell. Could easily be Gleeson though.

Opening: Pádraic goes to see his friend Colm, who ignores him. That’s it. That’s also the opening 30 minutes or so. It works though.

Closing: The former friends aren’t so much at loggerheads anymore, but definitely won’t can’t be friends again. It’s good as it shows you although this is the end of the film, it’s not the end of the story.

Best Line: “Look at this I found. A stick with a hook. What would you use it for, I wonder. To hook things that are the length of a stick away”

Original Review here

Turning Red

Ups: Likeable characters.

Has something to say, you can tell this is a writers dream project and is deeply personal to them.

Downs: The animation isn’t as good as Pixar usually is.

The characters are slightly obnoxious at times, but then again, they are teenagers so….

Best Moment:

Worst Moment: The furore about “sexualising children” that surrounded the release of this.

Best Performer: Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, brilliantly deadpan.

Opening: Mei doing the usual “so this is me” opening. Instantly sets out who she is, and her relationship with her family. She’s incredibly likeable and her personality shines through.

Closing: The family relationship is fixed, and the red panda is now a tourist attraction at the temple. Kind of obvious was going to end that way, but allows some sweet moments.

Best Line: Honoring Your Parents Sounds Great, But If You Take It Too Far, Well, You Might Forget To Honor Yourself.

Original Review here

2022 In Film: Day Eight (The Very Good)

Belfast

Ups: Does a great job of putting you in the shoes of someone living in that time.

Incredibly personal.

Great performances.

Very funny at times.

Downs: Unless you have knowledge of history, specifically the “why”, you could be lost in regards to character motivation.

Has Van Morrison on the soundtrack. I knew it would be busy so did a COVID test before going to the cinema to see this, and for the next few days after. All that for a film with a fucking anti-vaxxer on the soundtrack

Some people might not like that it’s mostly in black and white. (although I love the moments when it’s not)

Best Moment: His mum dragging him back to a shop in the middle of a riot to make him return something he looted.

Best Performer: Jude Hill. But I did like Lara McDonnell too.

Opening: Sets the scene perfectly. The overhead shots of the are wouldn’t be missed if they weren’t there. Although the transition between colour and black and white, present and past, is visually glorious and I love it.

Closing: “for the ones who stayed, for the ones who left, and for all the ones who were lost.” over a colour scene of the area. Beautiful, poignant, powerful.

Best line: The Irish were born for leavin’, otherwise the rest of the world’d have no pubs

Original Review here

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Ups: Handles a delicate situation perfectly.

Very emotional.

Some great performances.

Sets up the future well.

Downs: Too many moments which don’t go anywhere.

Waste of potential moments.

Best Moment: The attack on the ship. Was like something from a horror movie.

Worst Moment: The final fight. Only because it involves people wearing blue, fighting blue people, against a sky blue background.

Best Performer: Angela Basset. Easily.

Opening: T’Challa dies. Really it’s the only way they could have opened it, they had to address it, so it’s brave they did it immediately.

Closing: T’Challa had a son. Bit of a predictable ending, lets it down.

Best Line: Ramonda’s whole speech in the UN.

Original Review here

Clerks 3

Ups: When it hits hard, it hits VERY hard.

Funny.

Nice to see these characters again.

Downs: It’s strange to say but this is trying to hard to be a comedy. It’s so scared to be serious.

Takes a bit too long to get to the actual story

Best Moment: Dante’s rage. It’s the only scene with no laughs and it’s the best part by a long way.

Feels like these characters only exist in the movies, they don’t exist when the cameras not on them.

Worst Moment: Kevin Smith narrating over the credits, explaining what happened to the characters afterwards. Feels incredibly lazy and last minute.

Best Performer: Jeff Anderson. O’Halloran is close, but Anderson takes it.

Opening: Starts with Welcome To The Black Parade, always a good start. Feels weirdly out of tone with the visuals though. The visuals are low-fi, and Black Parade isn’t exactly low-fi. Kind of weird , feels like it’s just playing over and they’re completely separate.

Closing: One of the characters dies. Heartbreaking, I wish the film was more of this and less “typical Smith”

Best Line: “i wish I had a life worth fucking saving”

Original Review here

Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness

Ups: Scarlet Witch is a truly sociopathic villain

The closest the MCU has got to a horror movie.

Damn fine special effects.

A decent third act.

Some incredibly inventive action set pieces.

Downs: Offscreen inertia is definitely in effect. There are times where it feels like the characters must be just standing around twiddling their thumbs when the camera is not on them

Should be a 15.

If Scarlet Witch is redeemed it will be a complete waste of her potential.

Best Moment: The Illuminati scene.

Worst Moment: The final scene. Easily.

Best Performer: Xochitl Gomez.

Opening: America Chavez and an alternate version of Strange being chased by a demon, then Strange tries to save the universe by killing Chavez. Good choice of opening, introduces America, shows off the visuals, sets up the multiverse, and shows that stakes are high.

Closing: Strange is walking down the street and is suddenly in pain, developing a third eye. Awful closing. Just leaves a “wait, what?” feeling.

Best Line: “What mouth?”

Original Review here

Lightyear

Ups: Emotional.

Deals with very heavy subjects in a way that’s easily understandable.

Fun.

Good characters.

Downs: Doesn’t feel 90’s enough.

Still not entirely sure why it exists.

Best Moment: The montage of failure.

Worst Moment: The twist about the villain. Doesn’t feel earned.

Best Performer: Taika Waititi. A lot of fun.

Opening: “In 1995, a boy named Andy got a Buzz Lightyear toy for his birthday. It was from his favourite movie. This is that movie”. Setting up the general concept very quickly.

Closing: You know how this ends, from the second this film starts, you know how it ends, come on now.

Best Line: “That was utterly terrifying and I regret having joined you.” That’s also what I say after any social activity

Original Review here

Olga

Ups: The gymnastics themselves are astounding.

Beautiful shots.

Made astounding by current circumstances.

Downs: Made depressing by those same circumstances.

Some side characters feel inconsequential

Best Moment: When Olga has to give up her Ukrainian passport and get a Swiss one. It does a tremendous job of selling her guilt at giving up her national identity.

Worst Moment: One or two of the scenes halt the momentum.

Best Performer: Anastasia Budiashkina. Easily.

Original Review here

On The Count Of Three

Ups: Directed very well, especially for a first-time director.

Incredibly funny but also not.

Good performances.

Downs: The ending third felt like it didn’t belong in the same universe.

Best Moment: Character has a meeting with his boss, then calmly walks into a toilet cubicle and attempts to hang himself. No music. All takes place in real time. Meanwhile a guy walks in and pees in a urinal while singing cheerfully, not knowing about the potential unaliving happening in the same room. It’s bleak and horrifying, plus weirdly funny.

Worst Moment: The very last scene. Dialogue-free, only for a few seconds. But I felt it kind of detracted away from the story. I get why it was done, but could have been a better way of doing it.

Best Performer: Christopher Abbott.

Opening: The two characters pointing guns at each other, ready to fire in a suicide pact, gunfire, cut to black. Great opening, gets you immediately invested, and in that short moment you get their love for each other. You get personality, you get motives, you get relationship with each other. Crams so much.

Closing: A suicide. It’s obvious. It’s one of those films where it all feels inevitable. It’s beautifully written. The other guy is in prison. That coda wasn’t really necessary it felt like. Would have been a stronger ending if it did just cut to black with the gunshot.

Best Line: “Do you know that I have been going to doctors since I was 8 years old in foster care. And most of them had private practices by the way they weren’t this state-employed bullshit. And if any of you guys knew how to help me by now you would have fucking done it. Why the fuck are you guys so obsessed with keeping everyone alive anyway? You think all life is precious? All life? If you lived in my head for one minute you realise it fucking isn’t”. The sheer outpouring of emotion and helplessness.

Original Review here

The Black Phone

Ups: Very creepy at times.

Original concept.

Downs: The Grabber isn’t built up enough by the town. You never get the feeling this is a town in fear.

Serious issues with pacing.

Best Moment: The final fight. Very narratively satisfying to see all the knowledge come together.

Worst Moment: The brother of The Grabber realising the truth. His actions don’t really ring true.

Best Performer: Ethan Hawke.

Opening: Standard “meet doomed character” horror opening. Quite weak, especially compared to how creepy the opening credits are.

Closing: Finn sits next to his crush and says hi. Only works because of the age of the characters, if they were older that would be a slightly pathetic closing. As it is, kind of sweet.

Best Line: “Yeah I took him down cause obviously I’m the grabber you dumb f’ing fartknockers” Great line delivery

Original Review here

The Justice Of Bunny King

Ups: When characters do stupid things, they usually make sense because of how well they’re written.

Heartbreakingly true.

Downs: Overwrriten towards the end.

Best Moment: Being shown around the house.

Worst Moment: Her holding someone hostage feels a bit out of tone at the time.

Best Performer: Essie Davis

Opening: Characters washing cars in the rain to the tune of what I always assume is an Alanis Morrisette song. She then goes and helps someone who is having trouble with social services. Says a lot about her character and situation. Very quickly establishes her.

Closing: A phone call with her kids. She knew she’s screwed up, and she knows she’s made it a lot worse. The kids don’t seem phased though. Which makes it worse. They’re too young. Their innocence comes off as apathy and you can tell she’s doomed. Then the police shoot her. It’s really the only way it could end. It’s emotionally devastating but narratively satisfying. It also says a lot about her character that when she’s being loaded into the back of the ambulance she points out the windows are disgusting

Best Line: “why are you talking to her like that?” After a social worker speaks to the character’s disabled child like she’s an idiot.

Original Review here

The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent

Ups: The most Nicholas Cage move that exists.

Cage and Pascal have great comedic chemistry.

It’s weird.

Downs: Pedro Pascal is too big a name to not play himself.

JCVD is much better.

Best Moment: The wall scene. Yes it was in the trailer, but it’s so silly.

Worst Moment: The two Cage’s bit could go weirder. Weirder than them kissing each other.

Best Performer: Pedro Pascal. He should do more comedy. Okay, he did also do The Bubble this year, but is it really a comedy if nobody finds it funny?

Opening: Someone gets kidnapped, coincidentally whilst watching a Nicholas Cage film. There was room to be more creative here but they didn’t take it. I’m glad they didn’t do the “fight scene opening, but turns out to be a scene in a movie”

Closing: A film based on the events on this film has been released. Cute.

Best Line: The line of coke Nicholas Cage presumably done before shooting this.

Original Review here

Thor: Love And Thunder

Ups: Works as a standalone.

Rescues Jane Foster as a character.

Love is a great character

A lot of very good scenes, and some real creative visuals.

Downs: Tonal issues.

Occasionally goes a bit too silly.

Feels like a lot of wasted potential of some stories.

Best Moment: The montage of Thor and Foster falling out of love. Works as a mini-film on its own.

Worst Moment: Everything with the goats.

Best Performer: India Hemsworth. Not in it much, but owns every scene she’s in.

Opening: Thor is fighting with the Guardians, and ruining everything. Funny, but does make the rest of the Guardians feel a bit weak. Plus, do they just not care about looking for Gamora now?

Closing: Foster dies, Love lives with Thor. Bit weird, he hasn’t expressed much desire to be a father before. Sweet though. But I still can’t shake how out of nowhere it feels.

Best Line: “Once we bring the children back, we shall feast! Not on them. We don’t do that any more. That is a dark part of our history”

Original Review here

Three Thousand Years Of Longing

Ups: Phenomenal visuals.

Interesting stories.

Downs: Really loses steam in the third act.

The romance feels rushed.

Sub plots aren’t picked up on.

Best Moment: That trailer. That got you hyped up for it like a good trailer should.

Worst Moment: When you realise it’s a box office bomb.

Best Performer: Idris Elba

Opening: Alithea goes to Istanbul and suffers hallucinations. The hallucinations are kind of a weak point for the film. But it does have some interesting visuals.

Closing: The Djinn visit Alithea and says he’ll check in every few years. Kind of sweet, but they never really felt like a couple so it’s a bit weird he has this connection with her.

Best Line: Love is a gift. It’s a gift of oneself given freely. It’s not something one can ever ask for.

Original Review here

Umma

Ups: A great opening credits sequence.

Shows that the director is meant for great things.

A haunting look at family trauma

Everyone feels like real people.

Downs: Some jump scares are a little corny.

Best Moment: Really clever scare involving a face under a sheet. Really creative.

Worst Moment: There’s a moment where the main characters mother attacks from the grave, using clothes. It looks a bit hokey and silly.

Best Performer: Sandra Oh

Opening: The sound of knocking and someone asking their mother to open a door. The daughter apologising, the mother rejects her apologies and we hear electric noises and screaming. Good start, suitably creepy.

Closing: The daughter goes off to college, showing she’s being allowed an independent life. Yes, it’s cliche, but really it’s the only way this narrative could end.

Best Line: Look, I know you think people think you’re weird, and I’m not gonna lie, you are. But, no, you think being weird is a bad thing, you think you’re the only one. But you know what? You’re not. There are tons of other weirdos out there, cool interesting people like you. You just have to out into the world and find them.

Original Review here

Violent Night

Ups: Very bloody.

Clever allusions to Home Alone

Deeply cynical whilst also heartwarming.

Downs: A bit longer than it needs to be.

Could go deeper with the satire.

Best Moment: The reveal of Santa’s past.

Worst Moment: The villain’s motive is a little meh.

Best Performer: Leah Brady is incredibly adorable and likeable. I’d also like to point out Mitra Suri, but that’s for different reasons.

Opening: Santa is drunk. Seen this kind of thing before, but the fact it’s actually Santa does mean we can get a scene of him drunkenly vomiting from up high.

Closing: The reindeers come back, with gifts. Little bit plot convenient that they happened to miss the whole thing.

Best Line: Now, I know you’re an idiot, but don’t be an idiot out loud.

Original Review here

We’re All Going To The Worlds Fair

Ups: Some great make-up. Best demonstrated when someone puts his fingers under loose skin in his arm and starts pulling out tickets. Incredibly creepy and weird and disgusting.

Reminds me of Gone Home, and I’ll always appreciate thinking of that game.

The scene where she paints her face and tears her stuffed toy apart is weirdly creepy.

Weirdly hypnotic.

Both the lead performer, and the writer/director, are clearly meant for bigger things.

Downs: Definitely too slow and weird for a lot of people.

Needs a clearer narrative.

Best Moment: The message she gets with the image of her face distorted. It’s so simple but it’s expertly done.

Worst Moment: The ending where it changes focus. Bit of a narrative miss-step.

Best Performer: Anna Cobb

Opening: Casey sitting in her room on her own, eating (I think) cheesestrings before introducing herself and saying she’s going to take the “Worlds Fair Challenge”. Good use of silence as it makes you lean in and pay attention. But it goes on a bit too long. Especially since she stops, changes the lights, and then starts recording again and continues talking to the camera. Which consists of her saying “I want to go to the worlds fair” into the camera, smearing blood on the computer, then sitting in strobe lights. The opening credits, much more effective, just a series of shots of the local area in ruin. Not “apocalpyse” ruins, economic ruins. Shops are closed down and boarded up. This plays alongside a great piece of music which may well be one of the best original compositions of the year in terms of made movie soundtracks (although the one for Olga was close)

Closing: She has (possibly) met up with JLB. There’s a strange ambiguity to it that could leave an audience frustrated. It’s all done from JLB’s perspective. It reminds me of the opening, in a bad way. That sense of “nothing is happening”.

Best Line: I swear, someday soon, I am just gonna disappear, and you won’t have any idea what happened to me.

Original Review here

2022 In Film: Day Seven (The Good)

Black Adam

Ups: One of the stronger DC films of last few years.

Genuinely surprising twist.

Is nice to see a big budget super hero film without a white protaganist.

Has genuine emotion.

Downs: Underwritten villain.

Generic plot

Needs to be more violent.

Doesn’t explain some characters well enough.

Best Moment: The reveal. Has actual emotion and explains so much of what happened before.

Worst Moment: The final battle is a bit underwhelming.

Best Performer: Noah Centino. He has to be good otherwise the character would seem like a Deadpool/Ant-Man rip-off.

Opening: Flashback to 2600BC. Not a terrible way to start the film, slightly too over-stylized, but gets the job done. It does explain it all much quicker than similar films, so props for that.

Closing: Going to go with the post-credits scene here. Superman turns up, in Henry Cavill’s last performance in the role. I don’t think anything will happen with that now so seems a bit of a waste.

Best Line: “Tell them the man in black sent you.”, just before Black Adam rips someone in half. Needed more of that.

Original Review here

Catch The Fair One

Ups: Script is very good at realising the darkness in humanity.

Says a lot about how kidnapping is treated by people, especially when it happens to non-white people.

Downs: You might find it a bit too bleak, to be expected given the subject matter.

Best Moment: The kidnapping. Only because it’s so naturally done. There’s no dramatic music leading up to it. It’s unexpected and shocking. There’s a lot of choices in this though; the missing persons group was also up there for being chosen

Worst Moment: Going to be a bit weird, but I’m chosing an argument between the main character and her mother. It’s REALLY good, but it’s not followed up on. If they followed it up, this would be a difficult section because there are no weak scenes. But with a scene THAT good being worthless, feels like a waste.

Best Performer: Kali Reis

Opening: Training for a boxing match. The sparring session is done as a 30-second one-take that highlights how physically impressive a performer she is. That’s to be expected though, as she is a boxer. It has a weirdly haunting score too. So far, so good, but standard. Then she wakes up and you notice there’s blood on the bed. Something so simple yet added so much.

Closing: Dream sequence. I get why, it’s the only way the film could get a narrative sense of closure, and it is realistic that these stories don’t have happy endings, but fucking hell. Also a wasted opportunity, providing websites and information in the closing credits could have been useful.

Best Line: “Fuck this I’m sorry”. I know, on its own it’s not great. But as a response to “if you’re daughter was still here, what would you say to her?”. That sentence, said by a quite muscly MAN, who then storms out. Says so much about fatherhood, masculinity, and grief.

Original Review here

Death On The Nile

Ups: A fun well-crafted murder mystery that wrongfoots you constantly and makes you feel like an idiot for not getting it.

Downs: Some of the CGI is a bit weak.

Gal Gadot has terrible line delivery at times.

Arnie Hammer

Best Moment: The reveal. A story like this lives and dies by the ending. This gets it right and delivers it with great tension.

Worst Moment: The moment where one of the bodies is found could be done a little better.

Best Performer: Kenneth Branagh, obviously.

Opening: Poirot at war. Showing how he used his deductive skills to help his squadron advance. Mainly there to show his human side, and explain his moustache. But it hints at something I now want: Poirot before he was a detective, using his skills in other situations.

Closing: Poirot sitting at a jazz club, sans moustache (as in, without moustache, that’s not the name of the club). Provides a bit of breathing space at the end, but otherwise is just a bit meh.

Best Line: “oh he accuses everyone of murder” “it’s a problem, I admit”

Original Review here

Emily

Ups: Ambitiously directed by Frances O Connor (she has a great future if she gets the right films).

Beautifully shot.

Brings a long-past time to life in an effective way.

Downs: The romance doesn’t quite work.

Quite dull for some of the opening.

The visual language is unclear for parts of it.

Best Moment: When the brother turns up. Mainly because the way Emily reacts to him makes her seem better as a person.

Worst Moment: The drunken conversation. Mainly because it’s weirdly edited.

Best Performer: Emma Mackay.

Opening: Emily is on her death bed and is asked what made her want to write. Yes, it’s a “how we got here” framing device. *sigh*

Closing: She dies. As you can tell from the opening. Would have been nice to have more information about her during the credits.

Best Line: Everyone’s strange if you look at them for long enough.

Original Review here

Midnight

Ups: The relationship between the two women is delightful. They have great physical chemistry that helps sell the family relationship between them.

Great shots.

Very funny at times.

Downs: A few shots could be a bit clearer.

Best Moment: A quick moment of Kim Kyung-mi in her job, dealing with an angry swearing (via sign language) woman. In response she simply raises her middle finger. Brilliant comedic timing and she does it so well. Weird to pick a comedic moment in a film like this I know.

Worst Moment: The opening murder could look a bit better. It’s fine going back to watch it, but on original watch it can be a bit difficult to place everybody.

Best Performer: Jin Ki-Joo

Opening: A woman misses a taxi and decides to walk home, but she gets murdered on the way. Tense way to open it, and the lighting is superb. Also sets up the killer as a manipulative bastard. It then goes into Kim Kyung-mi doing customer support via sign language, which is a weirdly comedic scene.

Closing: Characters sitting on a beach. It’s a nice coda to an earlier conversation. It’s not necessary, but it’s a really nice closer and means you end the film with a little bit of hope.

Best Line: Going to include a non-verbal one, the middle finger.

Original review here

Mr. Malcolm’s List

Ups: It’s nice to see a new period piece.

Well developed characters.

Funny.

Much smarter than similar films.

Emma Holly Jones could be a director to keep an eye on in the next few years. Great potential

Charming.

Downs: Not really very original.

Forgettable.

Best Moment: When the titular Mr. Malcolm is forced to defend his list. He makes a great point that he shouldn’t be criticised for daring to actually want to enjoy the company of the person expected to be his wife.

Worst Moment: Ending is a little cliche.

Best Performer: Freida Pinto, but Sope Dirisu is up there.

Opening: Julia goes on a date to the opera. It’s awkward as hell. Good way to start the film, and really wrongfoots you with Mr. Malcom’s personality.

Closing: They end up together. Obviously.

Best Line: “Love cannot be planned so carefully, my dear. It will stir things up a bit. That is part of its charm”

Original Review here

Nightmare Alley

Ups: It looks fantastic.

Tremendous performances.

Compelling story.

Downs: Music could be better.

Slightly misleading marketing.

Best Moment: Clem explains how he lures the geeks in. Lets you know how horrific the world really is, and it pays off beautifully.

Worst Moment: The murder/suicide doesn’t hit quite as it needs to.

Best Performer: Bradley Cooper. Normally not too impressed with him, but he’s great in this.

Opening: The lead burns a house down after putting a body under the floorboards. Great opening as it means you are instantly asking questions that you want answers to. You’re drawn in and want to watch.

Closing: He gets offered a job as a geek. “just a temporary job, as a fake one”. After his conversation earlier he knows what’s happening, and all he can do is accept it.

Best Line: “Find out what they’re afraid of and sell it back to them.”

Original Review here

Spirited

Ups: Fun.

Goes by quickly.

Downs: Ryan Reynolds character doesn’t seem evil enough.

A lot of the songs aren’t memorable enough.

Best Moment: The Good Afternoon song

Worst Moment: A child commits suicide. Don’t get me wrong, I think that was a narrative masterstroke, but it will annoy some people.

Best Performer: Ryan Reynolds

Opening: A woman apologising to the ghost of Christmas yet to come for her misdeeds. Already shows it’s interesting and new. Personally, I would have held off the reveal a few minutes more, if it was played straight for a few minutes then the reveal would have had a bigger impact. Props for being able to put that much sentimentality into a 5-minute sequence though.

Closing: The spirits now work other holidays too. Scrooge is back alive and married with kids.

Best Line: “He’s like the perfect combination of Mussolini and Seacrest.”

Original review here

The Lost City

Ups: Funny.

Well-crafted action scenes.

Radcliffe is having a blast.

Flies by much quicker than you’d expect.

Downs: Incredibly predictable.

Never gets better than “entertaining”

Best Moment: Someone getting shot in the head. Funny, and one of the few surprises in the script.

Worst Moment: “the real treasure was love”.

Best Performer: Channing Tatum.

Opening: Imaginary scene set in a book. Very fun, and sets the tone. Also makes good jokes about the fantasy romance action genre as a whole.

Closing: The two are together. Shockingly predictable.

Best Line: “I’m a woman; I can’t mansplain anything.” ” Uh, I’m a feminist, and I think a woman can do anything a man can do.”

Original Review here

White Building

Ups: There are some beautiful looking shots.

The tonal shift is well-earned.

Downs: One of the characters just leaves the film halfway through.

Quite dull at times.

Could do a better job of telling the audience the importance of the building.

Best Moment: The three friends trying to chat up three girls on an adjacent vehicle. Despite the fact it’s all taking place on two scooters it’s strangely normal. It’s just a group of guys trying (and failing) to impress a group. But it’s so genuine, the girls reactions are so cruel, and the guys are so desperate.

Worst Moment: A diseased foot. I was eating dinner at the time I was watching it, gross.

Best Performer: Chinnaro Soem. He’s not technically the best actor in the movie, he’s only really in the first half, but his undeniable charisma and the way he carries himself, he has undeniable star quality.

Opening: Aerial shots of buildings. It looks weirdly beautiful in a horrible way. The buildings are in a state of obvious need of repair, like the before in a stage of House Flipper (great game btw). Sets up the living standards well. It’s so quiet and weirdly peaceful too. Then we get two friends talking. Weird choice as the story is about three friends, but the fact we’re introduced to two of them,

Closing: The building is being knocked down. Seems to be genuine footage from the time. No music, done almost silently. The manner in which it’s shot, and the eerie stillness to the whole thing, bring to mind an execution. We then see the lead just sitting outside in the evening, soaking in the silence. Personally, I’d have stopped on the demolition, but I can see why they would go with the personal ending.

Best Line: “one day they turned up with trucks and guns, so those people didn’t get a penny for their house”. Explains so much. Not just about why people would accept selling their house to the government when they’re clearly not getting enough money for them. But also why people are acting the way they do, the government just doing that and everybody skipping over it says a lot about the town, and the fear they must have that something so horrific can be discussed so casually.

Original Review here

You Are Not My Mother

Ups: Kate Dolan is a hell of a director.

Shot like a drama, which makes the horror seem more realistic.

Gripping.

Downs: Writes itself into a corner where it opens doors it can’t close without disrupting the narrative.

Could be a bit slow for some people.

Best Moment: The dance scene. It’s got a really weird energy. It’s elegant and beautiful, but in a very aggressive way. And then an ankle breaks

Worst Moment: Some of the school scenes don’t work.

Best Performer: Carolyn Bracken. Almost entirely for the dance scene.

Opening: A baby in a pram in the middle of street in darkness. Such a simple but effective way to open the film. The baby is then taken to the woods by its grandmother, who lights a ring of fire around her. Instantly gets you asking questions.

Closing: The Mother is back, this time with a lucky token to keep her safe. A somewhat abrupt ending

Original Review here

2022 In Film: Day Six (The Quite Good)

Beast

Ups: Good length

The CGI animals have a real presence

Wonderfully directed.

Downs: Not essential

Dialogue is a bit simple.

Quite cliche at times.

Best Moment: When the characters walk through the village and discover all the dead bodies. Haunting, like something out of a horror film.

Worst Moment: Lion in the house, only because it didn’t feel as natural as the other parts.

Best Performer: Elba, obviously.

Opening: The characters arrive at the reserve. Good way to showcase the scenery.

Closing: Surviving members of the family recreate an earlier family photo. Cliche, but kind of sweet.

Best Line: Death came calling to my wife and daughters and i wasn’t there to say no you can’t have them

Original Review here

Elvis

Ups: Is great at telling you who he was, not in a “facts and important dates” way, but in a “understanding who he is” way.

Austin Butler. He is phenomenal.

Will make you cry at times.

Downs: Weirdly edited.

Tom Hanks is a strange choice.

Terribly paced. Tries to do too much. There are at least three stories worth telling, and they’re not given enough time.

Best Moment: The Christmas special. Punk as anything.

Worst Moment: The assassination of MLK, trying to tie that into Elvis feels a bit cheap.

Best Performer: Austin Butler, obviously.

Opening: Tom Parker is on his deathbed. He then talks about how he met Elvis. Kind of a lazy framing device.

Closing: Elvis, fat and depressed, sings at Las Vegas. Truly emotional.

Best Line: His entire speech on stage to Tom Parker. Blistering fury.

Original Review here

Looking For Venera

Ups: The central relationship between the two.

The sociopolitical subtext to everything

Some really interesting shots.

Downs: Not very engaging at times.

Best Moment: The family dancing around a room to music being played on a tinny radio. The enthusiasm the characters have for the activity and for each other is heartwarming to see. And completely stopped by a man coming home and telling them to go to bed, all that happiness and joy, gone in an instant. Really demonstrates the power that the patriarchal system has over them.

Worst Moment: There’s a scene just after that at the breakfast table. It’s really well acted and has some shocking moments, but the characters are out of focus. Very picky I know but it’s too basic a mistake to make in a professional film.

Best Performer: Kosovare Krasniqi 

Opening: A sex scene in the woods between two fully clothed people. Strange choice as you don’t know who they are. Filmed from behind some trees so you do get a wonderfully voyeuristic feel to it. It’s later talked about by the characters, so we didn’t really need to see it.

Closing: A young boy drinking water at a table at a family dinner. At first, I thought “that’s a weird way to end it”, then it hit me. He’s observing. He’s watching the family interactions, he’s seeing how men treat women, and that’s what he’ll grow up to be too. A simple shot implies that everything will repeat. Kind of genius.

Best Line: “I’m not a coward like her”, that line shows her growth so much, but also her immaturity, as saying that to an abusive dick just means they’re going to take it out on the other person.

Original review here

She Will

Ups: Very claustrophobic.

Great sound work, both in terms of music and general sound design.

Downs: The fire incident doesn’t have a narrative follow-up.

Needs to set up some of the background characters better so we know how they’re regarded in-universe.

Feels like it should be better.

Best Moment: When she enters the lodge. You really feel the claustrophobic nature of it.

Worst Moment: A close up of a slug. Really specific but it cuts to it, and then cuts back, way too quickly to the point where it seems like a mistake.

Best Performer: Alice Krige.

Opening: Closeup on a womans eyes looking up at lights. Eye close ups are always good in horror movies as they can be so expressive. We see surgery being performed on her, intercut with her putting on makeup. A nice contrast, and intriguing enough to make you wonder what’s going on, especially when she talks about her mask being one of “preservation”

Closing: A scene of chaos and female reckoning.

Best Line: “The mud here is thought to have healing properties because of all the ashes from women who were burnt as witches” *blank-eyed stare* holy fuck.

Original review here

Sonic The Hedgehog 2

Ups: Better than the first one.

Funny.

Actually has a plot.

Downs: Still inconsistent with the speed.

Quite forgettable.

Tries too hard with the comedy sometimes.

The lead character is kind of obnoxious.

Best Moment: The fact that the villain is basically defeated by a punch in the balls, much like Hitler was.

Worst Moment: The bar dance.

Best Performer: Idris Elba, he is hilarious.

Opening: Sonic is attempting to be a hero. Fun start, and demonstrates both his speed, his morality, and his naive nature.

Closing: They play baseball. Quite funny actually.

Best Line: “It’s so nice when diabolical evil lives up to the hype!”

Original Review here

The Adam Project

Ups: Perfectly cast.

Always good to see new ideas given a big budget.

Downs: Some characters are sidelined unnecessarily

The dialogue could be better.

Bad CGI at times.

Best Moment: The goodbyes. Incredibly emotional. There are two fight scenes I nearly chose, which looked good. But this section is incredible.

Worst Moment: The villain’s death. Mainly because the CGI looks atrocious.

Best Performer: Walker Scobel.

Opening: Ryan Reynolds has stolen a jet and uses it to escape through a wormhole. Sets up the central theme almost immediately.

Closing: Back in the future. Adam meets his wife again. Sweet, but not sure it was the right choice. We don’t see that much of them together.

Best Line: “Hey. You have her to take care of you. She has no one. You understand? Do you understand? She wakes up every morning with a broken heart and a, and a closet full of his clothes and gets nothing from you but a fistful of crap, and not even, like, ten seconds of genuine empathy. You know, thity years, you still get sick to your stomach every time you remember how you treated her now.” More moments like that please.

Original Review here

The Princess

Ups: Bloodier than I expected.

Some good fight scenes.

Downs: Really bad CGI at times.

Feels too much like a video game at times.

The whiff of pandering never really goes away.

Best Moment: The opening because it sets it up as being something different

Worst Moment: When she sets someone on fire. Only because the CGI is REALLY bad

Best Performer: Dominic Cooper

Opening: The Princess (hey, that’s the title of the movie) wakes up in a tower and finds herself chained to a bed. Flashbacks to her being kidnapped. She breaks her own thumb to escape. Surprising but effective.

Closing: She slits a guys throat. There’s a lot of blood and his head comes off (which was a bit weird as she didn’t initially seem to cut that deep). The king announces that now women can rule the kingdom. Yay, finally equality for all rich people of that one family. Her friend didn’t actuallly die, then a guy who’s been searching for her the whole film recognises her. Kind of expected. Then there’s a completely neutered cover of White Wedding

Best Line: “You’ll learn to sleep with one eye open. To never turn your back. I’ll be in heaven, just thinking day and night of ways to kill you. And you’ll be in hell, wondering when it’s coming. And you know that it will be coming. Because you know that I’ll never rest, never idle, never stop, until i am standing above your corpse, holding – in my delicate, manicured hands – your still beating heart!”

Original Review here

Zero Fucks Given

Ups: Has the best drunk acting. They don’t make sense and they talk mostly shit.

Adèle Exarchopoulos, she’s quite good isn’t she?

Downs: There are a few plot points which don’t really go anywhere. Some more interesting plots are suggested but not followed up on.

Best Moment: Montage where everyone is recording safety videos and have to end it by standing still and smiling for 30 seconds in silence. Very awkward and weirdly funny.

Worst Moment: The moments when she’s not on a plane.

Best Performer: Adèle Exarchopoulos, obviously.

Opening: Pre-shift meeting of airline crew. Being told to focus more on individual sales. Then some beautiful shots of flying through clouds. That meeting doesn’t really lead to anything.

Closing: Her in Dubai (wearing a face mask incorrectly btw, it’s not covering her nose) watching a fountain show. Impressive but does seem a bit too much like someone’s holiday video rather than something in a film. It was all supposed to be from her phone, hence the very final shot of her turning the camera towards herself and pulling her mask down. Slightly underwhelming.

Best Line: I prefer to be the irresistible one than the good girl. There is no past, there is no future it’s just you as a cabin manager in this precise moment and her in front of you. Nobody cares about your personal life or your personal issues or what you did yesterday or what you’re going to do tomorrow.

Original Review here

2022 In Film: Day Five (Once Was Enough)

Films which were fine, I’m glad I saw them, but I’m in no hurry to see them again.

A Hero

Ups: Very human

Looks amazing, some beautiful setpieces.

The relationship between the lead and his girlfriend feels very natural

Downs: The writer/director is a dick.

Quite dull in times.

Best Moment: The scene of him in the bank saying he found the bag. Great background acting from the extras when he mentions he’s in prison.

Worst Moment: The ending. It drags slightly

Best Performer: Amir Jadidi

Opening: He’s let out of prison. The pure joy on his face, and then the slight disappointment when none of the taxi cabs stop for him. It’s such a small way to introduce a character, but it does so much. Almost no dialogue for the first five minutes, mostly him walking. But it does allow you to look at the nice scenery.

Closing: He’s back in prison, but with some form of dignity. You don’t hear what his son says to him, but it’s weirdly powerful to watch them say goodbye to each other, it’s heartbreaking. It does go on a few minutes longer than it needs to. The final shot of him inside, queuing up to go back in just feels a bit like wasted time.

Best Line: “where in the world are people celebrated for not doing wrong?” Essentially Chris Rock’s “you don’t get credit for doing shit you’re supposed to do”, but in a dramatic sense.

Original Review here

All My Friends Hate Me

Ups: Very funny

All felt real.

The performances

So awkward.

Downs: A bit too real to be enjoyable.

The friends are really unlikeable.

Best Moment: The ending. Mainly because it’s the only bit of warmth.

Worst Moment: The reveal of the death, seemed to come out of nowhere.

Best Performer: Tom Stourton

Opening: Pete drives to the party, intercut with him having a conversation with his girlfriend. It’s a really weak opening actually, the editing feels a bit weird, like you’re watching a DVD on shuffle.

Closing: Someone nearly dies. I won’t say who, and I won’t say how (I mean, I probably did in the original review but still, nobody reads those). Okay that’s not the ending, but it should have been. It’s a natural crescendo, but then the film continues into an awkward car ride home which doesn’t really land narratively.

Best Line: “You’re doing a bit crap”. It’s at this point the shift happens and he does start being hated by everybody.

Original Review here

Amsterdam

Ups: Very funny.

Good ensemble cast.

About a fascinating piece of US history.

Downs: Issues with tone.

Has trouble with pacing. Going too quickly and then too slowly.

Far far too long.

The characters don’t take the situation seriously, which means the audience don’t.

Best Moment: The three characters in Amsterdam. Weirdly life-affirming.

Worst Moment: The many many instances of tonal whiplash.

Best Performer: John David Washington

Opening: Burt Berendsen is a doctor who specialises in treating war veterans. Good way to introduce both the character and the world.

Closing: The plot is uncovered, and nothing happens. Bit bleak, and not sure that’s what’s really needed right now.

Best Line: “Each one of us is given a tapestry, our own opera. This person and this person. Thinking about it… love is not enough. You got to fight to protect kindness. You get attached to people and things. And they might just break your heart… but that’s being alive”

Original Review here

Avatar: The Way Of Water

Ups: It looks superb.

Good performances.

Sets up the sequel well.

Adds to the mythology.

Downs: Stupid character decisions.

Actually, stupid characters (especially Spider).

Exhaustingly long. That’s the only reason it’s in this section, otherwise it would be the “very good”. But I’m not sure I can stand to watch this film again.

Best Moment: The first time we see Omaticaya. Breathtaking.

Worst Moment: The very lazy way it handwaves everyone speaking in English (sometimes). Oh, and the entire final act.

Best Performer: Sigourney Weaver

Opening: A “where we are now” explaining what’s happened in the last 12 years, Jake now has a family. I think this film assumed everybody remembered the last film, almost zero attempt to appeal to people who can’t remember that much.

Closing: A completely unnecessary sequence set on a sinking boat. The audience had already got into “okay it’s ending soon” mode, only to have another 20 minutes or so tacked on. Oh, and Spider saves his not-dad, even though he hates him because of the whole “genocide” thing. Done purely so the character can come back in the sequel.

Best Line: “Well, I hate you times infinity Lo’ak. Penis face!” Mainly because it came out of nowhere.

Original Review here

Ballad Of A White Cow

Ups: Very tense.

Great performances.

Unique.

Important.

Downs: Could cut about 10 minutes from it

Pacing a bit slow

Muddled messages

Best Moment: Just after the worst moment (depicted below). He gets back in the car and starts driving her around. She’s haunted and just stares ahead with tears on her face. Not a word is said but her face says so much.

Worst Moment: There’s a scene at the end of a phone conversation where she finds out the truth about the guy who’s helping her (that he was one of the men who sentenced her husband to death). The camera is focused on a car on the opposite side of the road. So it’s a static shot of nothing of any importance.

Best Performer: Maryam Moqadam

Opening: Opening text about a quote from the Quran about slaughtering a cow. Then a white cow in a courtyard of a really bleak building. Looks weirdly CGI.

Closing: She poisons someone. It’s not quick or comedic. It’s probably the best poisoning I’ve seen in a film for the long time You truly get his panic and torment, but also how ultimately it doesn’t make her feel better or bring her peace. Although it then shows him sitting at the table, so it’s likely she imagined it and realised the meaningless of doing it. Or she just sat his body up on the chair, which is much less likely.

Best Line: “why don’t we ask daddy for some?” Makes you aware that she hasn’t told her daughter that her dad was executed. Tbf, how do you say that?

Original Review here

DC League Of Super-Pets

Ups: Good jokes, some of which will only work in this film.

Full of references.

Downs: Kevin Hart doesn’t work as Bat-Hound

Bit simple.

The human heroes get overpowered too easily

The human/pet choices are far too convenient.

Not enough for adults.

Best Moment: The bat-hound flashback saying why he got abandoned. Heartbreaking.

Worst Moment: The “sacrifice”. Mainly because you know it won’t stick so there’s zero tension.

Best Performer: Keanu Reeves. Not in it much but is perfect.

Opening: Destruction of Krypton. Because that’s not been seen enough in films.

Closing: All the pets have formed a super-hero team. Pretty obvious. The big thing from the ending (well, mid credits scene) is the film debut of Black Adam. Didn’t really gather that much hype though.

Best Line: “That’d better be a licensed toy or I will freak out.”

Original Review here

Lingui, The Sacred Bonds

Ups: So very tense.

Some lush landscapes. Africa is still presented as “sand and sadness” so it’s good to see lush greenery and beautiful rivers.

So powerful.

There’s an act of violence near the end which is incredibly realistic. That works for it and against it. It doesn’t make it seem cinematic, but the dull thuds give it a strange bruality.

Downs: The editing could be slightly clearer at parts.

Some shots could be better.

Chemistry between the two leads isn’t quite there.

Best Moment: When Maria tries to drown herself. It’s eerily calm and quiet. Most drownings are like a series of crashing waves, this is more like a calm lake

Worst Moment: There’s one REALLY bad edit where someone is walking and suddenly it’s edited so they’re about 2 feet away and standing in a position where they’ve been there a while.

Best Performer: Achouackh Abakar Souleyman

Opening: Character cutting open and stripping a tire, using the parts of it to make wire stoves. Good introduction to how resourceful she can be.

Closing: Brutal violence, followed by the daughter being given independence.

Best Line: “Many girls get pregnant, and it’s bad for our image” ouch.

Original Review here

Moonfall

Ups: Delightfully dumb.

Fun.

The large setpieces are well-crafted and unique.

Downs: Some really bad CGI for backgrounds.

Even an idiot could point out scientific inaccuracies.

Aggressively American

Best Moment: Most of the moments with John Bradley’s character. He’s funny and really nerdy.

Worst Moment: The entire sub-plot of the family back on earth getting to a safe location. Adds nothing.

Best Performer: John Bradley.

Opening: The original incident. Showing two of the characters being attacked. On the plus side it’s dynamic, exciting, and lets you know what’s happening. On the downside, it lets you know what’s happening. It would have been nice if they withheld the truth a little bit longer, let us have doubts about the main character’s recollection.

Closing: The character who died forever lives as AI. A massive cop-out that I saw coming a mile off. Also seems like really unsubtle sequel baiting.

Best Line: “You’re part of the Moon now.” so dumb.

Original Review here

2022 In Film: Day Four (The Alright)

“so, what was that film like?” “was alright”

I mean, I don’t know how else I can explain it. These are films I’m never going to own, but if they’re on Netflix I might have them on in the background while I do something else.

Broadcast Signal Instructions

Ups: Good at setting tone.

Very weird.

Will appeal to an audience that likes this kind of thing.

The intrusions themselves are superb.

Downs: VERY reminiscent of Censor. Not a direct remake, but enough tonal and narrative similarities that make you wonder. It’s like they took Censor, played Chinese Whispers with it a hundred times until it had changed, and then made the result.

Doesn’t answer the mystery.

Bit cliche at times.

Best Moment: There’s a moment where he gets fired and his boss does it by leaving him a six pack of beer. There’s something weirdly good about that. It’s completely unnecessary but it’s such a unique touch

Worst Moment: When you realise it has no intention of answering the central mystery.

Best Performer: Harry Shum Jr.

Opening: James is transferring tapes over at work, then goes home. Really well done actually. They don’t go with traditional horror music, they go with jazz, which gives it a strange ethereal quality. Some really creative shots too. It then goes into slightly more horror dream fare but the transition between reality and horror is handled well.

Closing: I think he kills a mentally challenged person. I mean, the guy seems to not fully comprehend what’s going on at times, asking when his dad is getting home and using simple language. And I’m assuming he dies because he’s forced to record a confession, and then James is seen with a hammer. Then James hits a robot (?) with his car. The robot locks eyes with him, screams, and coughs up blood.

Best line: [incoherent noise]. Weird I know, but the intrusions themselves are superb, and the way they twisted the audio dialogue is a big part of that.

Original review here

Joyride

Ups: Fun script.

Colman is a joy as always.

Downs: It’s weird to see Olivia Colman with an Irish accent.

Some odd dialogue options. Like when she’s on a plane and can’t get off. She expresses surprise and says she can still physrically get off because “the stairs are still there”. I don’t know, kind of feels like it should have had a “fuck” or “feck” there. It’s the end of a buildup of anger and it needed a swear as punctuation.

Don’t see enough of the dad being violent or abusive. His villainess is very PG. I’m not asking him to kill a child, but the film takes about him being someone who inspires fear, yet never really see it

Best/Worst Moment: Joy nearly drowning. I’m including it in both because while it is an emotional scene, more could have been done with it. A scene of that nature should not be as expendable as it is. It’s really only there so you can get a callback at the end.

Best Performer: Olivia Colman, obviously.

Opening: A funeral for a mother. At the funeral, her 13 year old son realises that his dad has stolen money from a collection jar set up for the hospice that looked after her. A lot of films would have taken time to build her up, this launches straight into it. Including the opening credits and logos, we see the mother, her funeral, the money getting stolen, then the kid stealing it back, all within 4 minutes. On the downside, possibly robs us of some emotion. Although, it’s a coming of age comedy, so it doesn’t need to be super depressing and bleak, not everything needs sadness. And it’s good to see a film launch so quickly.

Closing: Joy realises that she really does want the baby she tried to give away. Kind of obvious really.

Best Line: “you can’t get off, the doors are closed” “the door can open, that’s what doors do”

Original Review here

My Neighbour Adolph

Ups: It’s unique, you have to give it that.

Moments of genius.

Downs: Do we really need a cute folksy calm Hitler movie?

Best Moment: The fact the whole conflict is kicked off by “Hitler” taking part of a garden that doesn’t belong to him? Genius.

Worst Moment: The reveal is a little weak.

Best Performer: Udo Kier.

Opening: Flashback to Mr Polsky growing up. Does a good job of setting up his childhood and explaining why he is how he is.

Closing: They’re not quite friends. It’s hard to explain, because it’s strange.

Best Line: “What’s Soloman?” Out of context, means nothing. In context, hilarious.

Original review here

Operation Mincemeat

Ups: Fascinating story.

Good performances

Downs: Bit bland

The interpersonal relationships don’t work.

Best Moment: The bit where they’re discussing the specifics. Very fun, and almost like a spy movie.

Worst Moment: The strange interactions between Kelly Macdonalds and Colin Firth’s characters, bit of a strange almost romance that doesn’t go anywhere.

Best Performer: Matthew Macfadyen

Opening: Simple set-up of characters. Could be better, could be worse. Very ITV

Closing: Text explaining what happened to everybody. Weirdly that’s the most fascinating part of it.

Best Line: The introductory monologue. Sums it up quite well.

Original Review here

The Bad Guys

Ups: Some good animation.

Pretty solid heist moments.

Downs: Wears its influences too obviously so it feels like it lacks originality.

How do you not use the song?

Best Moment: Snake giving up the push pop. Very sweet.

Worst Moment: The music section just after the opening title card. Seems a little too “We’re relevant and cool”

Best Performer: Sam Rockwell.

Opening: Two characters discussing an upcoming birthday. They’re sitting in a cafe where everybody is scared of them. Quite Pulp Fiction, which is a weird choice for a kids film. They then rob a bank and drive away. The opening at the cafe wasn’t needed at all, if the film started with them coming out of the bank it would have livened it up, and wouldn’t have given me the “wait, is this going to be terrible?” worries.

Closing: The truth is revealed to the city. It’s good, but I feel the con by snake was over a little too quickly, if he turned earlier in the film then the fact he was double crossing the guinea pig would have been a bigger shock rather than the “well obviously, he was only friends with him for about 3 minutes”.

Best Line: I’M HAVING A BABY! IS THERE A DOCTOR? OR PERHAPS, SEVERAL SECURITY GUARDS, THAT CAN LEAVE THEIR POST AND HELP ME?

Original Review here

The Duke

Ups: Very likeable characters.

Funny dialogue.

Actually has a good twist.

Downs: Never gets better than “good”

Best Moment: The twist. Enough time has passed since release where I feel safe talking about this. It turns out he didn’t steal the painting, his son did. Genuinely didn’t expect that.

Worst Moment: Some of the court scenes go on a bit.

Best Performer: Jim Broadbent.

Opening: The court case. Makes sense to start there as that’s what everybody is here for.

Closing: He watches a Bond film at the cinema, spotting a reference to the stolen painting. Later, his son admits the truth, but doesn’t get prosecuted. Interesting historically, and good to know.

Best Line: “I’d just finished reading Joseph Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness and I felt a need to explore Sunderland.”

Original Review here

The Lost King

Ups: Fascinating story.

Enjoyable while you watch it.

Downs: It plays out like we don’t know what happened. It was big news in the UK, we’re all aware of it.

Disposable.

The liberties it takes with the truth.

Best Moment: The crowd-funding scene. Heartwarming, especially when it reveals her husband donated.

Worst Moment: When she gets clues from a ghost. They changed a lot about the character, but I don’t think it’s particularly a big secret that she had more to go on than “a ghost told me”.

Best Performer: Sally Hawkins

Opening: Philippa Langley loses a job opportunity. Sets up the character well, albeit quite unsubtly.

Closing: Ghost Richard appears to thank Philippa. Then text tells us he is now officially recognised as the rightful King of England for the period he was King. Nice to know.

Best Line: “are you sure you want to join this group? you look normal”

Original Review here

The Northman

Ups: Deliciously brutal.

Intense.

Looks incredible.

Downs: A lot of wasted time.

Mean spirited.

Best Moment: The volcano fight. Because of how amazing it looks. Although Queen Gudrún’s revelation about the truth of her relationship with Amlath’s father (he was a vicious rapey dickhead who she never loved) is up there too.

Worst Moment: The opening, because of how much of a slog it is to get through.

Best Performer: Alexander Skarsgård

Opening: The death of the king. It takes FOREVER to get through.

Closing: Everybody dies. Really the only way this film could end. This isn’t going to get a “happy ever after”

Best Line: This is the last tear you will shed in weakness. It will be given back when most you need it.

Original Review here

The Phantom Of The Open

Ups: Charming.

Funny.

Downs: Forgettable.

Wastes some actors.

Best Moment: When he gets invited to go to America.

Worst Moment: Dream sequence. Just kind of dumb.

Best Performer: Mark Rylance.

Best Line: Pick all the flowers you can, while you’re still young.

Original Review here

Uncharted

Ups: Gives you enough backstory so it makes sense even if you haven’t played the video games.

Fun action scenes.

Even the most ludicrous action scenes don’t look overly CGI’d.

Downs: Full of “well that’s convenient/they shouldn’t have survived that” moments.

Plot is very pedestrian.

Best Moment: The falling cars. Yes it’s dumb, yes it’s impossible, but it’s a lot of fun.

Worst Moment: The cameo of the voice actor from the video games. Incredibly unsubtle. It’s shot in a “this is a cameo” way so you know it’s somebody.

Best Performer: Tom Holland.

Opening: Starts mid-action scene. Taking all tension away from scenes set before that that occur later on in the film.

Closing: An action scene on boats, in the air. There is a “are they actually friends” moment, where a character spends so long debating a choice, he wastes the chance to not need to make a choice.

Best Line: Rescued? Don’t you mean looted?

Original Review here

2022 In Film: Day 3 (The Meh)

Films I don’t hate, but I don’t like. Ones which I’m likely to forget about quite quickly.

Black Medusa

Ups: Stunningly brave and creative,

Downs: I feel it could show a little bit more.

There are moments where things happen and we don’t really see them on camera, or we just see the set up but not the payoff. It works a lot of the time, but there are one or two moments where it would have helped to see.

Best Moment: The scene in the woods. not saying it’s “good”, but it’s artfully shot and harrowing without feeling exploitative.

Worst Moment: There’s a scene which is like a minute of a guy masturbating outside. That’s it, it had a point but that point was made much sooner than the film thinks it was.

Best Performer: Nour Hajri

Opening: Shows people dancing etc, but then has narration over a black screen. A weird choice. But then the story starts and the main character rapes a drunk guy with a broomstick.

Closing: The relationship she’s been building up with ends, so beautifully done. Then the 9th night happens and it’s clear she’s probably going to continue doing what she does

Best Line: The story about the man in the hole, wondered why it was there but then it pulls it in at the end.

Original Review here

Fisherman’s Friends: One And All

Ups: Very feel-good

Good music.

Downs: Predictable.

Kind of dull at times.

Instantly forgettable. I’m going to have to break from the format here and not put a “closing, opening, best line” etc, because I genuinely can’t remember anything from this film. There are things I might remember, but they could be from the first one. I have nothing.

A bit too boomer.

Best Performer: James Purefoy.

Original Review here

Munich – The Edge Of War

Ups: A fresh take on WW2 movies.

Downs: Could do more with the flashbacks.

Should have been a mini series.

Best Moment: Everybody shouting abuse at a Jewish couple. Really demonstrates how normalised the hate was.

Worst Moment: Paul’s whole character arc.

Best Performer: George MacKay

Opening: A party. A unique way to start a world war 2 film, they normally start with horror, the idea of starting with celebration is great, it shows exactly what people have to lose. The party is a graduation party for 3 students in 1932, one of whom is German. It’s good to show the friendship between the two countries. It also shows how Germany had hope at that time, they were excited about a “New Germany”. Spoilers, 1930s Germany did not end up a good place.

Closing: War is postponed. I mean, it still happens, but later, and once Britain is better prepared. That’s the point a lot of people miss when they criticise Chamberlain. Britain was not ready for war with Germany at the time, and the peace deal was a way to buy time. As soon as he got back to Britain, Chamberlain started preparing for war. Without it, we’d have lost.

Best Line: We don’t choose the times we live in. The only choice we have is how we respond.

Original Review here

Studio 666

Ups: Endearing

Really good deaths

Good music

Very rewarding for fans of the genre

Downs: Not funny enough to be comedic, not scary enough to be a horror.

Best Moment: The opening.

Worst Moment: It tries to have “But then it turns out Dave Grohl is the killer” as a reveal. But we already would have guessed that.

Best Performer: John Carpenter. He obviously doesn’t give the best performance, but how am I not going to give Carpenter an award?

Opening: A woman tries to crawl away from someone trying to kill her, she fails and dies in a much more brutal way than I expected. Good way of setting up the brutality, and the music is amazing. Then goes into a very unique opening credits sequence.

Closing: Dave Grohl has survived but is possessed. Reminded me too much of the ending of Leprechaun In The Hood

Best Line: “get your own song! nerd” not great, but the circumstances are hilarious.

Original Review here

The Gray Man

Ups: Passes the time.

The moment of him refusing to assassinate someone because there’s a kid standing near him does a great job of telling us who he is, and the “do it anyway” shows what kind of people his bosses are.

Downs: Despite being released recently, still feels incredibly dated.

Has some really clunky ways of introducing certain characters.

Best Moment: Gosling has a fun blink and you’ll miss it moment where he screws in a light bulb mid-conversation whilst walking through the street. Just a fun little piece of character work.

Worst Moment: Most of the action scenes, just because they’re a bit dull.

Best Performer: Chris Evans.

Opening: Gosling in prison. He gets offered a job as an assassin by the CIA, based on the fact he killed his abusive dad 8 years previously. It feels like they would have a more extensive recruitment process. Sets up the central premise well enough, and gives us a title drop. But overall it feels like a “this could have been referenced rather than shown” moment.

Closing: A slightly understated rampage of revenge. Sets up a sense of hope that the previous scenes didn’t have. Leaves it open for a sequel, but a sequel isn’t needed, as there’s enough narrative closure that the story does have an ending.

Best Line: You wanna make an omelette, you gotta kill some people

Original Review here

The Night Doctor

Ups: Interesting story.

Some tense moments.

Downs: Needed a gimmick.

Has no idea how to treat the main character.

Loses steam a bit in the middle.

Best Moment: When he goes to visit Ossip, the drug dealer to whom his brother owns money. It’s a great subversion on what you’d expect, and changes how you feel about the characters.

Worst Moment: There’s a moment when his cousin turns up at his flat. The camera movement isn’t quite as smooth as could be and it’s a bit weird to watch

Best Performer: Vincent Macaigne

Opening: Him giving prescription medication to someone, in his car. A discussion follows about a mutual acquaintance who recently died, which leads to a discussion about the futility of existence and mortality. Not the most “wow” opening. But it sets up who the character is, and that this is going to be a very serious film that goes to dark places.

Closing: He ends things with his mistress and tries to get back with his wife by performing an anguished declaration of love. Nice, but feels a bit hollow. And then he gets stabbed by someone he punched earlier. Kind of feels like the writer had no idea how to end it so just killed him (like in the original Clerks ending)

Best Line: “helping people nobody cares about is always political. As is what you’re doing, making insinuations about my ethics because I help addicts, that’s political”

Original Review here

The Outfit

Ups: Very strong directorial debut.

Rylance is damn good.

Downs: Not as good as similar films.

World building is a little weak.

Best Moment: The reveal at the end is done well.

Worst Moment: The opening drags.

Best Performer: Mark Rylance

Opening: Mark Rylance talking about the love and care that goes into making a suit. It’s weirdly interesting, but did nothing to make me wonder if this was essentially going to be Kingsman. It’s not. That’s backed up by the fact that it goes on for about 5 minutes, getting less interesting as it goes on.

Closing: He sets the shop and fire it’s revealed he’s actually been a badass this whole time. Obvious but it was set up beautifully. One thing I especially liked is they showed someone standing up behind him slowly, but didn’t draw attention to it.

Best Line: When talking about Big Ben: “they have clocks in Chicago, they look startingly similar in London”

Original Review here

2022 In Film: Day Two (The Bad)

Films to which I say “oh, I hated them, but……”. Make no mistake, these are not good films. But the people involved have potential to make good ones in the future, if they stop being shit.

Ambulance

Ups: Some good performances

Unique idea.

A few very good shots.

Downs: All the action scenes feel hollow, when cars crash they’re filmed in a way that has no weight to them so you don’t really feel the carnage.

Too much fluff.

Some baffling shot choices.

Best Moment: The split second where Will gets shot. Changes the ending completely.

Worst Moment: A moment we don’t see, we don’t see the beginning of the bank robbery. There’s no sense of planning.

Best Performer: Jake Gyllenhaal. He makes a good sociopath.

Opening: The character needs money because his wife is dying of something (I’m not sure they ever say what). It really unsubtly mentions/shows his war veteran status. All character work, setting up who he is, and his motivations. Also really long and there must have been a better way of doing it.

Closing: One of the brothers dies, the other one lives but is likely to get away with it because the witnesses like him. I mean, yeah, he was roped into the worst parts, and he wanted the money for a good reason. But he still took part in a bank heist and caused millions of dollars of damages. He’s good, but not innocent.

Best Line: You are all gonna have the greatest story to tell at dinner tonight!

Original Review here

Licorice Pizza

Ups: Looks stunning

Wonderful soundtrack

When the characters are apart from each other, they are actually fun to watch.

Downs: Unlikeable characters.

Meandering plot.

He’s 15, she’s 25. That’s creepy. That’s why this film is rated so low for me. It’s a dealbreaker. Otherwise it would be about 2 blogs higher.

Best Moment: The Jon Peters scene. Funny, and completely disrupts the myth of fame.

Worst Moment: After telling Alana “say yes to whatever a casting agent says”, Gary then gets annoyed when she says “yes” to being asked whether she’s okay with nudity. He then goes full incel and shouts at her that it’s fucked up that she won’t show him her tits, but is willing to show them on camera. She then shows him them. So he’s an asshole, and she’s an idiot.

Best Performer: Sean Penn. He’s not in it much, but he’s so sleazy when he is.

Opening: They meet. There’s not much to it really. Would have felt more natural if he wasn’t 15, and she wasn’t an adult.

Closing: They run together and kiss. Yay, the adult and the child are now able to be together.

Best Line: Fuck off, teenagers!

Original Review here

Men

Ups: Technically, it’s very good.

Smart ideas.

Looks incredible.

Great performances.

Downs: I much prefer narrative.

Very unsubtle.

A bit anvillicious.

Best Moment: When you realise her attackers are getting the exact same injuries her husband had when he died. Sooooo smart.

Worst Moment: Rory Kinnear as a small child. It looks weird.

Best Performer: Jessie Buckley.

Opening: Harper travels to a holiday home. There are some things which could be standard but are instead really creepy shots.

Closing: Batshit insanity. Can’t sum it up.

Best Line: “what is it you want from me?” “your love”

Original Review here

Minions 2: The Rise Of Gru

Ups: Weirdly good opening credits. Very Bond-like

It is much better than the first one.

Downs: For one thing, the timelines doesn’t work out.

Can’t contain the momentum over a long period of time.

Does anybody want this?

Waste of supporting cast.

Best Moment: The opening credits.

Worst Moment: The plane sequence, a bit too silly.

Best Performer: Taraji P. Henson

Opening: A villain steals a map in the 70s. Just an excuse for cheap puns. Some of which did make me lol though. Then leads through to a character called Wild Knuckles (terrible name), who steals something, then gets betrayed by the villain group he’s with. Does a good job of setting up the villains.

Closing: The person you thought died, didn’t. He was never referenced in the other films so I assume he died like 5 minutes after the events of this film.

Best Line: “Call your mom, it’s ransom time” “She might pay you to keep me”

Original Review here

Unhuman

Ups: The line “What in the upper-case fuck?” is one I’m going to have to steal.

Oooooo pretty colours.

Downs: The directing could be better, there’s a conversation at the start which is weirdly shot, with some editing decisions which are definitely conscious choices, but seem like mistakes.

The bus crash itself is well shot, but there’s one a moment in it where someone bashes their head on the chair in front and it has no impact at all, but she gets a broken nose.

Should be gayer. That may not make sense, but watch the trailer. That makes it seem like it will, at the very least, have some degree of non-straight sexuality to it. But it doesn’t.

Best Moment: There’s a great split second moment where a guy is handed a menstrual pad to pass over to someone with a broken nose to help clean up the blood. The pad is new and in an unopened box, but the guy still acts with utter revulsion. I don’t know where that was the actors decision or the directors but it’s really smart.

Worst Moment: Whilst the mid-point plot twist is pretty cool but depends on things happening exactly as they do. So if you think about it for more than a single second the whole thing falls apart.

Best Performer: Brianne Tju.

Opening: Really happy joyous music over a blumhouse logo. Unexpected but fun.

Closing: Everyone who survived is back on the bus, the teacher turns out to have survived. The two villains then get recruited by an anti-drug crusader.

Best Line: “Let’s just hope we hit a racist so we don’t have to feel bad”

Original Review here

X

Ups: Is well aware of what it is and what it’s trying to do.

People who like it, will really like it.

Downs: Very cruel to the characters.

Just not my kind of horror movie. That’s the biggest issue. I can talk about a lot of my issues with it, but my biggest one is it just wasn’t for me. Like how I never vibe with Rob Zombies work for some reason. Some just don’t gel with my horror sensibilities.

Best Moment: Pearl pleading with her husband to have sex with her. Very sweet.

Worst Moment: Same moment, but the fact it was met with disgust and laughter by some of the audience in the screening is kind of bleak. “ewwww, old people want to have sex”

Best Performer: Jenna Ortega

Opening: A group drive to a house, planning to make porn. Could have slipped in a few more Texas Chainsaw references, or get rid of it.

Closing: One of the cops finding a camera, “what’s on there?” “probably some fucked up horror movie”, END!

Original Review here

2022 In Film Day One: The Awful

And so begins our annual end-of-year round-up. As you can tell by the title, these are the worst films of the year. Unusually for me, most of these are fairly obvious, I don’t think there are any here that people will be too surprised/offended by. Although I did use to know someone who genuinely said Fant4stic was one of her favourite films, so I wouldn’t be too surprised if these did have fans. I’d be disappointed, yes, and would definitely judge that person, but I wouldn’t be that surprised. For most people, these will be fairly obvious.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore

Ups: Has some good visuals

Nice to see some of these characters again

Jacob is still entertaining.

Downs: Whilst Jacob is entertaining, they need to think of a better way to get him into the story as it feels forced.

Villain is neutered

Incredibly dull

Ezra Miller is in it.

They released a “homophobe-friendly” version in China, all it took was removing 6 seconds. But no, it’s “soooooooooo vital” to the plot.

Best Moment: There’s a moment where Jacob tries to get Queenies attention and she just ignores him, weirdly heartbreaking.

Worst Moment: The rescue of Newt’s brother. Just felt like padding. If you took it out wouldn’t effect the plot at all.

Best Performer: Dan Fogler

Opening: Dumbledore and Grindlewald have lunch together. A moment that’s so inconsequential that (as of writing) it’s not even mentioned on the Wikipedia page.

Closing: Jacob and Queenie get married, Dumbledore slowly walks down the street. Makes me think they should have changed the opening. The third main scene is on the same street, and starts off in the standard Harry Potter way of “Normal scene, then it turns out this character is magic”. So if they started with that, not only would it have kicked off the plot better, then it would have had bookends.

Best Line: “Our war with the muggles begins today!” A line that promised so much, in a film that delivered so little.

Original Review here

Firestarter

Ups: Good colour scheme

Downs: Incredibly stupid adults.

No sense of a cohesive style.

Feels like it was made to create a franchise.

Best Moment: At the old mans house. The only bit of the film with actual emotion.

Worst Moment: “it’s different for us we know what it’s like….”. That scene has THE worst piece of editing I’ve seen this year. Or a bad performance. The line is delivered as if it’s half of a sentence. She doesn’t get interrupted, she doesn’t slow down or lose her bearings, the camera just cuts away and there’s no sound of her talking anymore. It sounds like she’s been cut off by silence.

Best Performer: Ryan Kiera Armstrong. The biggest flaw with her performance is that she isn’t McKenna Grace.

Opening: They had creepy music over the production logo, I appreciate that. In terms of the opening of the film itself; there’s a baby in a crib, and when the parents walk away, a fire starts.

I actually typed that whole thing as soon as I saw the baby in a crib because I knew what was going to happen. I know it is a remake, but it’s a remake of a film I’ve never seen, so it should not be that predictable. It had a much better opening during the opening credits, and if it fleshed that out it would have been better.

Closing: She’s on the beach, and meets up with someone who tried to kill her, but who is no longer being telepathically controlled. He carries her. Emotionally lacking, not great narratively, and looks a bit dull.

Best Line: “Liar, liar, pants on fire!”. Definitely not the best line, but one that sums up how much effort went into the script.

Original Review here

Halloween Ends

Ups: It’s different.

Provides a definitive and fitting end to the franchise.

A good study into social grief and how demonisation of people can create demons.

Downs: Haddonfield doesn’t feel real.

Characters have changed personalities since last film.

So preoccupied with providing a twist, it forgets to have a decent story.

Needs more Michael Myers.

And more Laurie Strode.

So much wasted potential.

Best Moment: The opening.

Worst Moment: Corey and Michael locking eyes, which makes Corey evil. So stupid.

Best Performer: Jamie Lee Curtis, always.

Opening: Corey is babysitting a kid and accidentally kills him. Apparently, this is frowned upon in babysitting circles. It was an accident (and kind of the kids fault), but the town still blames him. The film never gets close to this level of small town paranoia and fear again.

Closing: The dead body of Michael Myers gets thrown in an industrial shredder. Perfect way to end this franchise. There’s a weird cult-like nature to the whole thing and it’s weirdly beautiful.

Best Line: “My son. This town turned against him after the accident with Jeremy Allen. They would’ve felt for him. They would’ve helped him heal. But because your boogeyman disappeared, they needed a new one.” This is the crux of the plot, but it’s handled as well as I handle things when I’m juggling.

Original Review here

Morbius

Ups: Show’s that Sony does have a plan for a future universe.

Something new

Downs: Terrible fight scenes.

Poorly written.

Leto is a prick.

Best Moment: Him testing out his powers.

Worst Moment: The fight scene near the end. An incomprehensible mess.

Best Performer: Matt Smith.

Opening: Morbius goes to a cave to get bats. Completely unnecessary. Could have been covered in dialogue. The scenes of them growing up would have been a better start.

Closing: Vulture somehow ends up in this universe. It may seem stupid at first, but the more you think about it and how it happened you realise it’s actually REALLY stupid.

Best Line: “Vampire bats weigh almost nothing yet can take down an animal 10 times their size”. This film thinks dialogue like that is smart. It’s not.

Original Review here

The 355

Ups: Some good performances.

Good editing outside of the fight scenes.

Downs: Incredibly bland.

Lazy.

Seems very netflix

The shadow of the villain doesn’t loom over the film.

Best Moment: There’s one piece of editing which is GENIUS. They go from a fight scene to someone slicing a tomato and the match-cutting is SUPERB.

Worst Moment: The ending where they all walked in the room to face not Bucky Barnes. Reminded me of that bit in Endgame where all the female characters ended up in the same scene. Just there to get a “woo you go girls” moment.

Best Performer: Fan Bingbang. Not in it enough but she’s incredible when she is.

Opening: Sets up Jason Flemyng’s character well, and the electronic macguffin. But then the film relegates him to the background. You never feel his presence.

Closing: The aforementioned worst scene. I’ll say again, the film did not need all the characters there. 2 of them only said 1-2 lines each, I can’t remember if Penelope Cruz or Lupita Nyong’o said anything, if they did it certainly wasn’t anything of substance. Jessica Chastain then explained what will happen for the benefit of the audience, in a very dreary monotone.

Best Line: When they explain the title. Completely unnecessary, but interesting nonetheless. It would be like if an Adele song was interrupted by a lecture, but a good one.

Original review here

The Bubble

Ups: Interesting idea.

Downs: It does a terrible job of juggling the performers’ time.

The hotel staff are the best part of the movie, and they’re not in it enough. Which is weird as it starts with them.

Tries too hard.

Best Moment: Beck’s dinosaur rewrite of Ladies’ Night. The only music sequence that actually works in the film.

Worst Moment: The TikTok dance section

Best Performer: Guz Khan

Opening: Establishes the universe this film is set in. Does a really good job of setting the in-universe franchise. But I feel it would have been more useful if we actually saw footage instead of posters. Just seeing the posters feels cheap.

Closing: A documentary about the making of the film has been released. Seems a bit cruel, and not really that narratively satisfying.

Most Notable Line: “you remember the reviews from your last film Jerusalem Rising”. Terrible dialogue, clunky as hell, and is unnatural. That sums up this film.

Original Review here

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022)

Quick synopsis: Tech billionaire Miles Bron invites his friends for a getaway on his private Greek island. When someone turns up dead, Detective Benoit Blanc is put on the case.

I’m a massive fan of Knives Out, it was my favourite film of 2019, by quite a long way. So I had high hopes for this. It did receive a small cinema release, and I was hoping it would be showing at my local. Sadly, that was not the case. It’s a shame as I don’t just want to watch this, I want to be in the room as others are watching. I want to hear reactions to this. This is a film that inspires reaction. The twists and turns, the dialogue, the revelations, they’re made to get audible reactions from the audience. This definitely has an audience too, and the film knows this. It knows people are going into it with certain expectations, and it plays on that. It does have to be commended for the fact that watching the first one isn’t necessary. That’s kind of the case for some other films as well, but they are not as stand-alone as these are. It’s refreshing that as more Benoit Blanc films get made, people will be able to watch them in any order and not feel lost.

One thing you do get from having previously watched the first one is a slight expectation of what you’re going to get: a murder mystery with an ensemble cast which will amaze you. That’s definitely the case here. The cast here easily matches the cast of the first one in terms of known names and new performers, with not a single weak link. This also has some good cameos; the first one only really had Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a detective in a TV show, this one not only has Gordon-Levitt (this time credited as Hourly Dong), but also Hugh Grant and Ethan Hawke in quick scenes (Hawke’s in particular is a real “Blink and you’ll miss it”). The solid reputation of the first one allowed Johnson to land some names to play themselves: Yo-Yo Ma and Serena Williams are probably the biggest, (the fact that they don’t signpost who Yo-Yo Ma is is pretty clever too, he just appears, gives an answer to a puzzle without introducing himself, then leaves). Sadly it also has Stephen Sondheim and Angela Lansbury, who passed away before the film was released. Lansbury is particularly heartbreaking because there’s so much potential in a universe where Lansbury is friends with a well-known private investigator.

The main cast we do have is superb, everybody is great. Kate Hudson is barely recognisable as fashion designer Birdie Jay, it would be nice if Leslie Odom Jr was given more to do but in a stacked story like this, it’s inevitable that some will feel shortchanged. Jackie Hoffman is only in one scene but absolutely steals it. The real star of the show is Janelle Monae. I’m more familiar with her as a musician (Screwed is an AMAZING song), I have seen her in a few things (Moonlight, Hidden Figures, and the rather disappointing Antebellum). She’s given a lot more to do in this than she has previously, and pulls it off wonderfully. Edward Norton is wonderfully annoying, and you can tell he was having a blast making this. Daniel Craig’s accent is still a bit strange. But he’s committed to it now so I suppose it’s worth it to get more of these films.

The story is so damn fun. After a run of “the plot is pretty basic” films, it’s nice to have something like this. Something with genuine surprises that make you pay attention.

Unless you’re cuntservative columnist Ben Shapiro, then you criticise a murder mystery film for daring to mislead the audience, like a fucking moron. With the exception of him, reaction to this has been mostly positive, with a lot of people saying it might be better than the first one. I’m not sure if I’d go that far, but it’s definitely closer than most sequels to matching the quality of the original. Once more time has passed I think I may end up preferring this one, it had better dialogue, a more unique look, and is a lot more fun. Well worth a watch, I couldn’t think of a better way to end 2022.