2010’s In Film Day 8 (2018)

January – Coco

A film that’s just as beautiful now as it was when it was released. This film is incredibly emotional, but it is also life-affirming. Yes, you’ll cry your eyes out, but you’ll also feel uplifted by the whole thing. Another great thing about it is that it used a mostly Latino cast, they didn’t just hire a lot of white people and get them to do a mildly racist accent. On the downside, apparently, when this was released it was pre-empted with a new short film based on Frozen, which is a somewhat misguided thing to do. This was one of the first films I saw that year, so it could really only go downhill from there.

February – Lady Bird

Or it could get better. This is a personal favourite of mine. I know quite a few people who hate this film, and I get it. It meanders a lot and doesn’t really have a plot. Considering how important story is to me, you’d think I would hate this. But something about this film makes me love it. I think it’s the general tone of it, it’s very warm. It’s basically an Instagram filter placed on polaroid pictures of treasured memories. It makes me nostalgic for a life I never even had, for a time which I didn’t really experience.

March – Blockers

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; it’s incredibly refreshing to see a teen sex comedy from a female perspective. Not many films admit that teenage girls enjoy sex. It’s mostly teenage boys “conquering” girls until they sleep with them. The idea that women can get pleasure from sex is weirdly missing from films (with the exception of two characters; the slut, and the cheating girlfriend/wife), so it is nice to see this film. Also, it’s hilarious, full of great performances all round.

April – A Quiet Place

In 1952 John Cage composed the piece 4’33”. It’s basically: everyone in the orchestra puts their instruments down and do nothing for four minutes, thirty-three seconds. The intention is that it makes people listen to the background noise, to make them aware of the atmospheric sounds around this. This film does that, Because the audience noise was so sporadic, when it did happen it wasn’t annoying, it was scary. That’s what makes this film unique, every time you see it will be different because you’ll have to listen to the background noises around you. They’ll be people uncomfortable who’ll be adjusting their position, which creates noise that scares you, that exact scare will never happen again for any other screening, it’s unique to that one experience. It’s a horror movie with audience participation. I tried watching it on a plane, though, and it didn’t really work.

May – Deadpool 2

This….this was not a good month for me. Most the films released this month that I’d want to see weren’t released at cinemas (How To Talk To Girls At Parties I can understand as was low budget etc, but the cinema showed trailers for Entebbe all the time so how can they not show that?). I prefer this film to the first one, the story is much better for one. I always felt that most of the first film felt like a set-up to the final scene, rather than one continuous story. This felt like a flowing story with a beginning, middle, and end. Plus it also genuinely surprised me, the marketing campaign hid what this film was actually about better than any film I’ve seen (including Endgame). Luckily it did it in a funny way so you didn’t feel annoyed and disappointed. The big downside is TJ Miller is still in it. I would have understood if they reshot his scenes with someone else.

June – Hereditary

The best way I can showcase my feelings about this film is to quote my original review:

It’s been a few days since I watched this. I needed the cool-down period so that I could approach this with the sophistication and slick analytical nature which we are known for. So here goes: WHAT THE COCKING SHIT-FUCK WAS THAT?

I still maintain it’s worthy of the cocking shit fuck. I may have been wrong a few minutes ago when I said Deadpool hid what the film was about the best. This completely misled the audience. Kudos to the film for having the sheer balls to kill what looked like the main character, and so brutally too, I like marketing that works like that, when it deliberately deceives you, but not in a way that you feel cheated, but in a way that it means the story beats come as a complete surprise. It’s the way of saying “okay, now all bets are off” and it throws you off. That’s what you want from this film, you want to be unsettled and to feel like you’re constantly on the backfoot. That sense of unease and uncertainty is essential to a film like this. I love it, but don’t want to watch it again.

July – The Incredibles 2

The first one was Incredible, and this one was Incredible two (I’m so sorry). Everything about this film just works beautifully, the voice-work, the way it looks, the story, it all interacts with each other in the most wonderful way. The story is serviceable, it doesn’t come anywhere near the depth of Toy Story 3, or the heart of Finding Dory, but that doesn’t actually matter. You’re not sitting there thinking “well this story is pedestrian” because the way the film is done you don’t really care, you’re just sitting there amazed at what you see unveiling in front of you. It does what it needs to do, and it does it well. That’s not to say it’s a simple movie, it’s probably the only mass-market animated movie this year that has dealt with the themes this does. Themes of masculinity and feeling worthless because you’re not the one the family depends on, the emasculation that can cause. Was it worth the wait? Kind of. I mean, I’d be annoyed if they said we had to wait 14 years until the next one, but I’d rather they get everything perfect than rush it out. Like A Quiet Place, I watched this on a plane too. Well, I attempted to, the guy sitting next to me was watching it too and he was about 2 minutes ahead of me. I had to stop the film as I knew I would never win that race.

August – Searching

It HAD to be this. It HAD to. This is one of my favourite films, not just of that year, but of all time. A true hidden gem. It’s so good I struggle to talk about it. It does SO much right, and I can’t wait to see it again. *spoilers* even the happy ending doesn’t feel forced or tacked on. Some films are so good they inspire you to make similar films, this film is so good it will kind of make you want to give up as you know you will never touch it. It’s apt that I reviewed this after finishing the Saw series blogs, because that series could learn a lot from this about how to craft a compelling mystery. The film is about a girl who goes missing, and her fathers attempts to find her, but the entire film takes place on computer screens.  This has been done before; with Unfriended, which considering I now call that “Unfriended. A.k.a, fuck that film” should show how highly I regarded that film, and my expectations for this. I have a love/hate relationship with “gimmick” films. You know what I mean, the kind where the biggest sell of it isn’t the plot or actors, but the way they made the film. When they’re done well, like Buried (one person in a casket for the entire film), they’re a great piece of film-making, but they have to be great, because if they’re only okay (Unsane), then the fact it’s a gimmick-heavy film works makes it seem worse. Every writer should watch this film, so should every editor. In fact, everyone who wants to get involved in film-making should watch this film, it’s just so damn good.

September – The House With A Clock In Its Walls

This film is the work of someone who knows what they’re doing, but is toning it down slightly for the younger audience. This is definitely a film for kids, it is a slight horror but it has that warm feeling that you associate with films from the ’80s like ET etc. There’s an air of warm nostalgia to the whole thing that will warm the hearts of fans of those films. It’s incredibly, I don’t know, cosy. Just because it’s a difficult film to dislike, does not mean it’s an easy film to love. It just doesn’t really do much to make you remember it for years to come. The final third almost manages it, with a chaotically fast-paced piece that is logical and weird. The whole film is weird, which makes sense as that’s the message of the film: weird is good, embrace the weirdness. Also; bullies are dickholes.

October – Halloween

I’ve never seen a Halloween film. Well that’s a lie, I might have seen the first one, but when I was like 10 so I wasn’t really paying attention to it. As such my knowledge of the film series is stuff I absorb through pop-culture osmosis. So I know a little bit (He’s called Michael Myers, the third one is unconnected to the rest of the series and was originally meant to be the second one, THAT music etc), but not enough that I feel emotionally connected to. Despite that; I still REALLY enjoyed this. It seems to ignore all but the first one, and is all the better for it. You don’t need to have watched a lot of films to get this, as long as you know the basics of the character you should be fine, actually considering how well scripted this is I don’t even think you’ll need that. It does a great job of bringing you up to speed, explaining what’s haunting certain characters. The downsides of this film; there’s one death which is kind of embarrassing to watch. It’s where Michael Myers stamps on someone’s head, it looks incredibly fake and is almost comical. It breaks the tension completely and takes you out of the moment. There are also issues with the characters. The ones who survive are fine, it’s the ones who die that you don’t really care for. There are some characters with promise who then die before they get to fulfil that promise. And there is a twist which is completely unnecessary and stops mattering after a few minutes, it seems like it is only there because it was the only way they could think of to move the plot from one moment to the next. Luckily the moment that builds up to is superb.

November – Ralph Breaks The Internet

I enjoyed the first movie, it was fun, heartwarming, smart, and funny. It was done by people who had an obvious love for video games, specifically arcade and retro ones. This one……doesn’t really work, for many reasons. Firstly, it kind of feels like a generic movie, not a Wreck It Ralph sequel. The first movie doesn’t seem to come into play much here, it’s not a natural progression and feels like it could have been written featuring any characters. Too many of the jokes veer into “this is a thing, we are referencing the thing, now laugh!” territory. There are some funny moments but they’re few and far between. This wouldn’t matter as much if the script was engaging, but it’s not. It’s incredibly bland, I was actually bored many times throughout this. When it approached what I thought could be an ending I was actually disappointed to be proven wrong. There’s an entire subplot about characters from the first movie starting a family which takes up a grand total of about 3 minutes of screentime. It’s kind of strange as you can tell the film was aiming to be emotionally heavy, and that would have been a good subplot to cut to to relieve tension and provide juxtaposition. It’s way too reminiscent of The Emoji movie for its own good.

December – Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

This film loves the character of Spider-man, you can tell this by the way it mocks him sometimes. It’s like the lego batman movie in that way, it does make fun of previous films, but it’s done with such knowledge and love. This is a different kind of comic book movie, for one thing, it’s REALLY weird. It’s a film for kids that deals with multiverse theory. It’s also incredibly meta, but not too much so. The voice work here is great too. The film-makers didn’t skimp when it came to casting, you’ve got real talent here: Hailee Steinfeld, Lily Tomlin, Nicholas Cage, Liev Schreiber, Kathryn Hahn etc. It also features what has to count as the best and most heartbreaking Stan Lee cameo ever. This is the first film released after his death (not counting the Deadpool 2 re-release), he appears on screen after Spider-man dies and says “I’m going to miss him”. F*cking heartbreaking. The most depressing part of the film, and there’s quite a lot of them, I mean, the original Spider-man gets killed early on, and all the alternate spider-men/pig/women are haunted by a death of someone, they’re defined by guilt about who they could not save. This is the best time to mention the characterisation of the different universe characters; they are all fully-fledged characters with motivations and backstories. This could be a film to launch a franchise.

The animation is some of the best you’ll see, with multiple styles displayed across the film, each incredibly distinct and gorgeous. The fight scenes are done brilliantly too, you never lose track of what’s happening, the final fight, in particular, is a masterpiece of surreal film-making that plays out like a AAA video game boss level. The soundtrack too, is amazing. It really suits the film, the songs are not only great but they go perfectly with the images. It does what a soundtrack should do, it complements the film perfectly. Yeah, I’ve said a lot of good things about this, with good reason, it’s BRILLIANT. The one downside is the flashing lights could cause a seizure, and that really should have been better publicised. Other than that? A great way for me to end the year, and this blog.

2010’s In Film Day 7 (2017)

January – A Monster Calls

This month was STRONG. It had this, La La Land, Manchester By The Sea, Young Offenders (which is now a GREAT sitcom on BBC), so yeah it was a pretty good month. Okay, it also had Assassin’s Creed and The Bye Bye Man so it didn’t have everything. I chose this because it was the first film I saw that year, it’s also REALLY depressing. This is not an easy film to watch on an emotional level, one of the few films I’ve seen lately that seeks to emotionally blackmail the watcher. Reminiscent of a mix between Pan’s Labyrinth and a Neil Gaiman book, can be best described as a modern-day fairy tale. Bayona did a fantastic job of directing this, whilst the Liam Neeson tree is telling stories (it’s an odd film) the film switches visual styles so it almost becomes a living watercolour painting, it’s awe-inspiring and genuinely new, never seen anything that was done like this (the closest is when Hermione was telling the stories of the Three Brothers in Harry Potter and the style switched to a weird animated one). The book is beautiful too.

February – A Cure For Wellness

When I saw this at the cinema the ending of this film was met with silence. Not a “well that was shit” silence, more a stunned silence where nobody was sure what to do next. Everyone slowly came to their senses and walked out the screening, feeling like we’d been bonded by trauma. It was a unique experience, and one I loved. I didn’t love the film though, it had the unfortunate double whammy of being too long, and having underdeveloped characters. It is definitely worth a watch though. It’s ugly, but beautifully so. You may not like it, but I don’t think you’ll be able to turn away from it.

March – Logan

One of the few truly mature comic book movies. A lot of film studios (and audiences tbh) mistake “mature” with “violence” and think to make a mature film all you need to do is add tits and guns (or in extreme cases, penis’s and guns).

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Or this, a penis with a gun

This doesn’t do that, it deals with mature themes. It’s like the entire genre has grown up to lead to this moment. And they decided to follow this with Dark Phoenix? Oh hell no. THIS is where it should have ended. It provided a logical closing point to the franchise and gave it an emotional ending. It felt like closure, and that was shown even by something as small as the song that plays over the end credits. They didn’t pick a bombastic rock song, or a current pop song, they chose Johnny Cash’s The Man Comes Around. And it works. Comic book movies will never reach some of the heights this film hit again.

April – The Promise

I was going to talk about Table 19, because nobody talks about that film and it’s fucking great. Instead, I went with this, not so much because of the film, but the reaction to it. It’s a 2-hour film about the Armenian Genocide which is really good (the film, the film is good, not the genocide). But it seemed to annoy a certain type of people. By certain type, I mean genocide deniers, a.k.a; dickheads. This is one of those “debates” where there’s only a debate because one side refuses to admit they’re wrong, see also; drink driving (yes, there are people who think drink driving should be legal, at least one of which is a UKIP MP), vaccines, global warming, and the holocaust. The sides are basically this; the people who committed the genocide vs. everybody else. Well I say “everybody else”, America still refuses to officially call it one as they don’t want to upset Turkey (also their autocorrect probably changes Armenian Genocide to American Genocide and it makes them feel guilty when they think about the Native Americans, and the slave trade). This film was flooded with fake reviews condemning it, most of which came out before the film was released, so you know they were genuine. Sadly this film was a box office bomb, so it could be argued that the wrong side one.

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I’ll just post this picture again for no reason

May – Sleepless

I’ve seen quite a few bad films at the cinema, but rarely are they as f*cking tedious as this was. You’d think a 90-minute action film set in Las Vegas would be exciting, you’d be wrong. The only reason certain things happen is because characters are idiots, for example at one point the villain points a loaded gun at the main character, now instead of shooting him, he takes a few steps backwards and gets run over a van (which he somehow didn’t hear coming, in an empty parking lot, the emptiness of which I have a problem with also). I’ve seen defences of this say “yeah but as long as you don’t think too hard about it it works. It’s just dumb fun”. And they’re half right, it’s dumb. It’s not nitpicking to point out that someone who has been stabbed (and for whom the wound continues bleeding for 4 hours) should be weakened by that. But nope, the only indication of it is that he occasionally stops and goes “ah”. A stab wound has the same effect as an ice cream headache. It’s a shame as the cast do their job well, it’s just the script is kinda dumb. There are some odd choices when it comes to directing too. You know that “shaky cam fight scene” that the Bourne movies use? They do that here, only they do it for EVERYTHING in the fight. Someone walks away after the fight; Shaky Bourne Camera, someone gets their phone out to phone someone: Shaky Bourne Camera. It also ends with the most obvious sequel hook in a long time. This film somehow ended up with a B rating from audiences, which just goes to show you can’t trust the general public.

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Again, posted without context.

June – Gifted

A lot less Nicholas-Sparks than I thought it would be. Bit formulaic but it plays to the formula very well. Chris Evans is very good in it, but is overshadowed by Mckenna Grace, who is very very good, probably one of the best performances this year. Is it just me or are child actors getting better? Manages to do a performance which is funny, moving, and hits all the right spots in terms of body language and facial acting. Great performance. Jenny Slate was also REALLY good in it, but wasn’t in it as much as she should have been. I mentioned this, and not, say, Wonder Woman for this month because of how nobody knows it. And for when Mckenna Grace officially becomes one of the best actresses of our generation it will make it easier for me to find this blog and be like “I fucking told you”.

July – The Big Sick

Incredibly funny, and with the right amount of heart. You’d need to be made of stone not to feel touched by this film. I’ve seen horrors where a few people have sat there not flinching or jumping in fright, I’ve seen spectacle films where people are bored, and I’ve seen comedies where nobody is laughing. Everybody in the screen I was at reacted to this. They laughed at every joke (to the point where the laughter in the room was louder than the laughter on screen, in a scene set at a comedy club), people “awww’ed” at the right parts, it couldn’t have been more perfect if the film studio paid them to react like that. The characters are so well-written as well, every character seems fully fleshed out. They seem like they exist outside of the film. I highly recommend everybody watch this film, it’s still one of my favourites.

August – Atomic Blonde

Essentially a companion piece to John Wick. It looks superb and the music is brilliant. Had one of my favourite soundtracks in a long time And there’s one scene which everyone has to see; a single-shot fight scene that lasts about 15 minutes, one of (in fact probably the) best fight scene I’ve seen all year. It doesn’t cut away before the impact like most do, it’s mostly silent, no music so you hear every hit, and the fight has an effect on people, you can see them get gradually more exhausted as the fight goes on. It’s just so damn impressive and I want more.

September – Kingsman: The Golden Circle

It’s pretty much the first film again, but I liked the first one so it doesn’t matter. It is a very good film, and the use of Elton John is perfect. It’s just missing that something to make it different. Maybe it’s the underutilization of some of the new cast, maybe it’s the way fan favourite characters are disposed of too easily. Or maybe it’s that the villain kind of has a really good point when she points out sugar is more deadly than a lot of drugs. I was going to put “Almost Heaven” for this month, and then just sing “Take Me Home Country Roads” instead of typing anything. That would have made more sense as a video blog though.

October – Happy Death Day

Yeah I had no idea whether to go for this or The Death Of Stalin. Both are REALLY good but for different reasons. Despite not being a horror, Death Of Stalin is more horrifying. But this? This has something about it. The script is incredibly clever and brilliant, plus it’s helped by Jessica Rothe’s performance. She adds JUST the right amount of emotion needed for the role. This is probably one of my favourite horror movies of all time, I have so much love for it.

November – Murder On The Orient Express

Because fuck you this is a great movie. I knew the murderer going in and still highly enjoyed it. There was building work going on at the cinema when I saw it so every few minutes you could hear the faint sound of hammering (and not the sexy kind) going on, and I still enjoyed it. It’s so well done and I am genuinely excited for the sequel.

December – Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle

I HAD to talk about this. Not because it’s good (but it is), but because it’s the only film released that month that I’ve actually seen. I was busy with stupid stuff like working two jobs so I didn’t get time to do really important things, like go to the cinema. It’s a shame, and is a regret that will forever live with me. The world has punished me for missing The Greatest Showman by making me listen to songs from it EVERYWHERE I go lately, so I believe my debt has been paid.

Trust me, SO MUCH has been missed from this blog: Baby Driver, Blade Runner, Colossal, Lego Batman, AND HOW COULD I NOT MENTION GET OUT! WTF Lee?

2010s In Film Day 6: 2016

January – Spotlight/The Big Short

I’m including both of these as one as to me they’re both very similar. For some reason I’d get the feeling they’d make a brilliant double feature. Both deal with social responsibility and how to cope when your world collapses around you, how you deal with knowing that something that is supposed to be a saviour for the masses is actually responsible for ruining so many peoples lives. Not just good films, but also very important. It’s weird both of these came out in the same month. Occasionally we’re blessed with great release schedules, and sometimes we have nothing.

February – Goosebumps

Again, another REALLY good month. This month had this, deadpool, Secrets In Their Eyes, and, ok actually that’s it. But that’s still a good month. I chose to talk about this though as I’m not entirely sure what I can say about Secrets In Their Eyes, whereas this I can at least have one paragraph about an aspect of it. This is a weird genre; kid-friendly horror. It’s a really hard genre to do, but when it’s done well it’s great. You can’t depend on cheap tricks for these, you can’t just fill the screen with jump scares, ultra-violence, and sexual assault. You have to get creative and think of ways of maintaining dread through well-written characters and a villain that represents a deep fear we all have. This isn’t the best film I’ve ever seen, but it is one of the ones I feel the most warmth for.

March – The Witch (or The VVitch)

Those of you who are regular readers of this blog (and if you’re not, the subscribe button is like, right there) will know that my relationship with horror is complicated. I like the genre yet it’s the genre with the films I’ve hated most. Luckily this film fixes a lot of mistakes that most horror films make. Firstly, it’s f*cking terrifying. I liked this film a lot, but I NEVER want to see it again, it just felt wrong watching it. Not in the way that people feel when they’re watching A Serbian Film or Human Centipede or a Justin Bieber music video. That’s not fear, that’s disgust, if you go outside and vomit on someone you will disgust them, but it doesn’t make you the next Stephen King. This film is truly chilling. In a way that I genuinely can’t remember any film being. I remember watching this and being VERY impressed with how well it was directed (seriously, Robert Eggers is a f*cking genius with what he did, he managed to make a slow zoom into a forest scary and then managed to make you feel genuine terror at a rabbit). Really the only downside to this film is also one of its strengths. It doesn’t hold the viewers’ hands and walk them through.I guarantee at least 70% of the people who see this will hate it and find it boring, but the others will be sitting on the edge of their seat throughout, and it’s those 30% that the film is aiming at, but this means it often does things which disenfranchise the casual moviegoer. Shots don’t linger on important things as if to say “hey, pay attention to this” and things aren’t explained. You never feel like you’re watching a film and the dialogue flows beautifully and feels natural (which is odd as they’re speaking in ye olde english) but on the downside, moments end before you realise how important they are and how much you should have been paying attention.

April – Captain America: Civil War

I really loved this film when I saw it, and for a long time after. But to be completely honest, Endgame made this film worse in retrospect. It made me realise that this film didn’t really matter in the long term. The actual “civil war” had almost no impact on the rest of the franchise, neither did a character being paralysed. This film was like a little kid playing with army figures, he sets up the troops into weird and wonderful positions, he goes to school, hoping to continue when he comes back from school. But then his dad picks up all the figures and puts them back where they were as “that’s where they’re supposed to be”.

May – Money Monster

A big regret of mine is not seeing this at the cinema, I thought it would be overly preachy and dull. Nope, so tense, a great thriller which just goes to show how talented Jodie Foster is behind the camera. The story is depressingly relevant for these times.

June – The Conjuring 2

I preferred this to the first one, which was one of the most highly regarded horror films of the last decade. Does this mean it’s better? I have no idea, I’m aware of how strong personal bias can be, and I saw the first one in a house, whereas this one I saw in cinema, and horror is a genre made for cinema. Not just for the darkness and the volume, but also because of instant audience feedback, much like laughing, when you hear other people be scared it sets the tone and makes you more scared. And of course you’re forced to pay attention to it, you can’t sit there checking your phone (well, you can, but if you do, you’re a c*nt). I cannot overestimate how strong Madison Wolfe’s performance is in this, giving a performance well beyond her 13 years, bringing to mind Linda Blair in The Exorcist. She’s been in other films before but usually as a “main character when she was younger”, but on this the entire film is dependent on her. If you don’t buy her character and her fear, then the film is dead quicker than one of Henry VIII’s wives. The other performances? Well they’re okay, Vera Farmiga seems to be slightly phoning it in as Lorraine Warren this time, Patrick Wilson doesn’t have much to do but furrow his brow, Lauren Esposito does well with what she’s given but reminds me too much of someone I know for that not to be a distraction. This film does have some great scares, but they won’t stick with you, some of them are almost literally a guy sneaking up behind you and saying “boo”, they’re instant scares. They make you jump and provide good reaction shots for people to use in publicity, but once you leave the cinema all fear is over. You don’t see the world differently like you did after It Follows, you’re not left changed by the experience, every scare takes place in the moment. As such it’s destined to be one of those films teenagers watch in groups and sit in the dark (a genre I shall now deem; “frat house horror” as that seems to be the most popular place to watch horror movies according to American TV and films). Basically, it’s the feature length equivalent of one of those jump scare videos your asshole friend sends you, only over two hours long.

July – The BFG

I went into this with relatively low expectations, I saw Pete’s Dragon the same week and it did absolutely nothing for me, I appreciated what it did well, but I don’t need to see it again and I won’t recommend it to anyone. Also their was a family in front of me that I could tell were going to be problematic, with a whole bag of popcorn thrown on the floor behind them (i.e. in front of me) before the film even started. Yet within five minutes of this film I had completely forgotten Pete’s Dragon, I had forgotten the popcorn, I had forgotten the general feeling of ennui that accompanies my general existence, I was completely lost in the world that this film created. I completely brought into the universe that was created, if I saw this film whilst I was a child my parents would hate it due to the fact they’d have had to watch it every single day. Ruby Barnhill is superb in it, she spends a lot of time being the only real thing on screen, so it’s down to her to convince you that the rest is real, and she manages it. So to summarise; some films are funny, some films are heart-breaking, very few films can be described as magical, this is one of them. And it’s a real shame this film isn’t better regarded.

August – David Brent: Life On The Road

An odd film, funny in parts but it seems strange in the way it handles the main character. All through the film he’s shown to be a delusional person who annoys everybody. Logically this film should end with him realising the error of his ways and changing accordingly, maybe stop being such a dick to everybody. But nope, this ends with everyone else changing for him, and saying “he’s not that bad really”, “I quite like him actually”, and he the character doesn’t do anything to deserve this, they all just suddenly decide they like him now it’s reached the end of the film. I actually feel a lot of sympathy for the supposed antagonist of the film, all through the film he’s shown as someone who’s just trying to get on with his job but the main character keeps getting in the way and making so much noise he can’t do it, and when the guy finally snaps and says “look, just shut the fuck up”, we’re supposed to be angry at him, instead of just “yeah, that makes sense, he should have done that earlier”.

September – Kubo And The Two Strings

A film so strong and confident I just automatically assumed it was based on something. The fact that a new property can set up a world this full and real says a lot about the talent of both the writers and the directors. This was one of the few films in 2016 I was actively following from the moment I saw the first trailer, it just looked so good, the music choice (While My Guitar Gently Weeps) was inspired, and visually it was very different from everything else. This HAD to be fantastic for me to like it, anything else would be a bigger disappointment than the first time I tried Hershey’s Chocolate.

October – Storks

Expected it to be terrible, yet was actually quite funny. Not the greatest plot but very charming. Plus it has a fight scene where all the characters are trying to not make any noise so they don’t wake a sleeping baby, which was just hilarious, very inventive.

November – Edge Of Seventeen

It HAS to be this film, and not just because I’m watching it as I write this. Let’s get the obvious out of the way here; I’m fairly certain I’m not the target audience for this film (a feeling which was confirmed by the cinema being almost entirely teenage girls), so this had an uphill battle to impress me, an uphill battle which was evened out by the release of the trailer, which was funny, slightly heartwarming, and cynical as hell, I’m glad to say the only difference between the film and the trailer is the film itself is a lot more heartwarming. It’s just as funny and cynical as you’d hope, although part of my opinion on that might be because I have a weakness for any film which has “I’m going to kill myself” as the first line. It’s not just the cynical nature of the film that’s done well, the characters themselves are really well defined. Even when the characters do and say terrible things, you understand their motivations, even though you don’t agree with them. They are all fully fleshed out, and they all get good lines. Unpopular opinion, I tend to dislike “comedy characters” in films and sitcoms, mainly because it means the writers tend to give them all the best lines, leaving the other characters somewhat underdeveloped. That’s a problem which this film avoids, most of the characters could comfortably lead their own movie, that’s a masterful piece of scripting and the writer should be commended for that. Which is why I’m glad the writer also directed it, it’s easier to follow directors careers than writers as more emphasis is put on directors. I was surprised this was directed by the writer, although it kind of makes sense, this seems like a very personal story and they’d be nobody better to get that across than the person who wrote it. It’s more surprising that this is her first film as a director, whilst it’s not exactly full of “wow shots”, or inspiring cinematography, it’s a lot more accomplished than a first time director should be, here’s hoping she gets a chance to do more work in the future with someone elses script, will be interesting to see what she can do. I feel her best work is as a writer though, the script has some amazing pieces of dialogue that really hit home. My personal favourite being (and i’m paraphrasing here) “I just don’t want to have to live with myself for the rest of my life”. Like I said, I’m watching it right now and it is still just SO perfect.

December – Moana

A film so good it almost seems like Pixar made it, if it wasn’t for the songs. But oddly enough it’s the songs that push this to the top spot. I hate songs in kids films usually as they’re just distracting, but here it served a real purpose, characters seemed to have their own musical motifs attached to them, and the songs are REALLY good. There’s a crab singing a David Bowie-esque song, The Rock singing a song about how awesome he is, and they’re still not the best songs in this film. On the downside there’s one or two jokes that take you out of the movie (there’s a twitter joke in here which is quite funny but completely unnatural), but then they’re followed with moments of brilliance (the psychedelic crab scene, for instance, features animation so colourful and beautiful, the likes of which haven’t been seen in a long time). It also features what is without a doubt the best pee-joke of the year. So there’s that. Oh, it also features adorable/terrifying coconuts, which is always the sign of a great movie (be honest, how much better would every film be if you added anthropomorphic coconuts?)

 

So yeah, that was 2016, and I didn’t even get to mention Zootropolis, Batman Vs Superman, Creed, or Room. Room is one of my favourite movies ever, and the fact I didn’t mention it just shows how good this year was.

2010’s In Film Day 5 (2015)

January – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance)

Oh yes, damn this is good. This film is so good you forget how pretentious the title is. It’s a two hour film that’s made to look like one continuous shot, and it manages it. You’re not sitting there going “oh, well that was the obvious cut there”. It’s done SO well that you can’t help but be impressed by it. Also, Keaton is amazing in it.

February – The Interview

It Follows also came out this month, and I’d much rather talk about that as it’s a SUPERB horror film, set in somehow the past and the future, it’s great. So why am I talking about this? Because this had a bigger influence on reality, nearly starting a war between America and North Korea. Can you imagine if that actually happened? Historians would have to mention a comedy film in regards to a war. Wars are supposed to be about important things; for a country to get freedom from the nation that’s oppressing it, to stop a genocidal Charlie Chaplin invading Belgium, or because a president is facing impeachment and wants a distraction. To me, the most interesting part of this story isn’t that it happened, mainly because most of the leaks were standard industry bullshit and backstabbing. The most interesting part was when Sony threatened to sue any news agencies that reported on it. Bold tactic, and one I’m very glad didn’t work. “Oi, news, stop reporting on things!” The news is mostly bullshit anyway, if it had any less substance it would qualify as toilet roll (very hard to do with the digital edition).

March – The Voices

I had to mention this. This is one of my favourite films of all time. I was looking forward to this film since it was first announced, when all I knew was the director and the actor involved. Persepolis is one of my favourite things of all time (as evidenced here), so the fact the author of that was directing this piqued my interest, then Ryan Reynolds was announced as the lead actor and I was more excited than I should have been. The only film I have been checking the internet for information for during production. If this was bad it would have ruined everything, but luckily it’s REALLY REALLY good. Funny, beautifully shot, and the most WTF ending I’ve seen in a long time. It both comes out of nowhere and makes perfect sense. Also, it’s a surprisingly good take on mental health. Yes it’s horrifying at times, and sometimes it’s hilarious, but it’s also surprisingly poignant. Fuck it, I’m linking the trailer too, you have to see this.

April – The Duff

Yeah, Age Of Ultron came out this month, but I said everything I needed to about that here. John Wick came out too, but there are 2 sequels to that I can talk about, plus I mentioned it in depth here. Plus I don’t talk about this film that much when I really should. It’s better than Mean Girls, and that film is enjoyable. It really hits the marks you need it to. If it wasn’t for Edge Of Seventeen then this would be the best teen movie I’ve seen at cinema.

May – The Big Game

You know what? I’m not going to say anything here. I’m going to directly quote our other writer and what he said about it back in 2015:

“”As spectacular as it is funny” “Samuel L Jackson has his tongue firmly in his cheek”. I wish either of these statements were true about this still born mess, failing to be dumb fun. The concept is great; a wimpy President played by Samuel L Jackson is chased through the mountains by terrorists and is helped by a badass child warrior. This should be as fun and or as campy as Olympus has fallen, or White House down…but instead, the kid isn’t a badass at all and spends most the film trying to find himself and failing; and though all his lines are wimpy, Jackson still plays it like a badass, so it’s just awkward. For a film apparently just going for fun, it takes its story and characters’ much too seriously, and its biggest failure is trying to distil genuine arcs and development on these blocks of wood.””

June – Spy

Yeah, it was really slim picking this month. I blame Minions. That also came out this month so studios didn’t release much against it. This is probably the best one of the month. Definitely, my favourite Jason Statham performance as he just leans into the ridiculousness of who he is.

July – The Gallows

I’m going to quote the same blog that the Big Game quote came from for this.

There was a lot of bad films this year but this tops the list for absolutely NOTHING about it working. It was badly shot, the actors were shit, the characters were annoying, the “twist” didn’t make sense in terms of plot and seemed to be an asspull, the jump scare ruined what would have actually been an okay ending (seriously, if you have a moment in your film where a character gives a monologue on stage and then the lights go out and the curtain goes down: END THE FILM THERE!), the characters were the most annoying people I’ve seen outside of Twitter.  

Still accurate, although on reflection, maybe Big Game was worse.

August – Vacation

Over 4 years later and I’m still trying to figure out who this film is aimed at. It contains lots of nods and winks at the previous films in the Vacation franchise, but the type of humour is very different so the odds of someone liking both are quite low, but people who didn’t watch any of the others are unlikely to get the references. Although the weirdest comparison between the two is how much Chevy Chase has changed. The story is kind of bland. In fact, let’s be honest, the story is completely irrelevant, the jokes carry the story, not the other way around. Not so much a film, more a series of different sketches. But let’s face it nobody is watching this for the story are they? They’re watching it for the laughs, and this film does have that. But a lot of them are so predictable, you can spot a lot of jokes coming miles away, you just sit there waiting for the inevitable punchline, by which time the wait has meant it is almost as painful as being punched in the face.

September – Bill

A wonderfully silly kids movie. The closest we’ve got to a modern Monty Python movie. Not as educational as the TV show it’s based on, and the songs aren’t as impressive, but it’s still very funny. Side note; I was going to talk about another film here, one which horribly disappointed me. But then I read about how the writer is a massive sex pest, so fuck that guy.

October – Macbeth

This is mainly here to remind me that I really need to see it. It was mentioned on a podcast I listen to called How2Survive and they highly recommended it. Probably the best movie podcast I listen to at the moment, and I’ve picked a terrible time to recommend it as they’ve just gone on a break for a few months. But essentially they take a film and discuss how to survive (OMG I just realised why they called the podcast that) it, whilst also discussing the film. I love it, it’s a unique idea. Although I have to be honest I very rarely remember their how to survive tips, I mainly recall the random discussions (especially when they refer to wikihow) and the obvious love for films that they have. Also their politics (by which I mean, they also think women are people) match mine, which is always nice to hear. Listen to it here.

November – Lady In The Van

Damn this was a good month, a month where Bridge Of Spies isn’t the best movie of the month. It’s mainly the script. The dialogue is delightful. There’s a plot device which isn’t utilised enough to be truly effective, and the author cameo is too obvious to the point where I didn’t know what he looked like but I still knew that was him.

December – Christmas With The Coopers

This film tried to be Love Actually, and failed (or as one person I nearly worked with would say “this film tried to be love. Actually and failed”). Mainly because the characters are quite unsympathetic, and it goes on way way too long. They have a good ending point but then someone gets taken to hospital and it adds another 20 minutes. I can barely remember anything from it, without looking at the poster I can’t even remember who is in it. I think Steve Martin voiced a dog.

2010’s In Film Day 4 (2014)

January – Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

This is probably the biggest horror franchise which I’ve completely ignored. No idea why as I’ve heard the first one is quite good, I’ve just had no interest in them. I was going to do them for Halloween blog last year but I accidentally purchased the mockbuster version instead. Maybe it would have been funnier to do those films instead, but I had so little free time in October that I didn’t want to waste it watching bad films.

February – Robocop

How is this not bigger? Maybe it was a timing thing. The general feeling of Obama’s America was more hopeful than it is now. Now everything seems bleak and horrible. We’re a few days into the year and the political climate is heating up (as is the actual climate, as the devastation to Australia has proven), there’s cynicism and hatred everywhere. Nobody has any hope that the future will get better. Even people who support the parties in charge think the future will suck for a lot of people “but it will be worth it to get blue passports”. So maybe now is the time we need a Robocop film.

March – Captain America: The Winter Soldier

I feel this is the most important movie in the MCU. Not so much because of the story, but because of the quality of the film. This was when Marvel movies went from dumb fun to capable of brilliance. This is where comic book movies stopped being a genre and started being a subdivision of other genres as diverse as spy thrillers, space comedies, and family dramas. All that’s left now is a comic book horror movie. For more of my thoughts, read here.

April – The Amazing Spiderman 2

A month after The Winter Soldier wowed audiences, this came out. I feel those two things are linked. Since the MCU started, a lot of other franchises have been attempted. Not many have worked, probably due to the fact that it took the MCU a while to get going, and people forget this. People think all the Marvel movies started being connected, yet The Incredible Hulk was a standalone movie, the only reference to Iron Man being a short post-credits scene (well the only obvious reference anyway). It was possible to enjoy those films on their own, yet a lot you can’t, they spend far too much time setting up future franchises that they don’t really spend enough time on it’s own story (biggest offender is The Mummy reboot a few years ago).

May – Godzilla

Now, this is a potentially better franchise. Kong and Godzilla work as standalone films and are great spectacle films. I feel age has been kind to this film, there was a lot of disappointment when the film came out. That was mainly because it had Bryan Cranston in it and people expected him to be the main character, so when he died and was replaced with Aaron Taylor-Johnson it was bound to rub fans up the wrong way. Yet if you know about it and watch it again then it’s actually quite an impressive piece of film-making. It’s not a film that you’ll love, but if you have an impressive enough television and sound set-up then it’s a great way to spend an evening with people. A few years ago I watched the Planet Of The Apes trilogy over New Years eve, I feel the two Godzilla movies and Kong would also make a great thing to watch like that. Have a few people round and have the film in the background as you chat shit and eat cheese. This film also has a REALLY creepy piece of music.

June – Oculus

This was the first film I watched with my Cineworld card, and it remains the worst cinema experience I have ever had, to the point where it soured me on the movie. The lights came on about 10 minutes before the film ended, completely ruined the experience. You don’t realise how lights affect the cinema experience but it does. As soon as those lights came on it deflated the room, it took everyone out of the movie. I do need to watch this film again to give it a fair go, I feel the constant “it’s real! no it’s not! yes it is! no it’s not!” fake outs would still annoy me, but maybe not as much.

July – Guardians Of The Galaxy

I feel people have forgotten what happened before this film came out. It seemed destined for failure. A lot of people were saying it’s going to be the first bomb of the MCU. That a film featuring characters most people don’t know, featuring actors a lot of people don’t know, set in space, wouldn’t work. That it would fail, and fail HARD. Just goes to show, nobody has any idea what will work. People expected The Lone Ranger to be huge, and I bet you completely forgot that film existed until now. Again, my thoughts here.

August – Sin City 2

The time between this and the first film: 9 years. That film was a success, this was bombed. Just goes to show the importance of timing when it comes to sequels. If you do them too soon then the audience will get burned out (think of the game series with yearly release cycles), yet if you space them too far apart then the audience either won’t care, or society would have moved on beyond what you’re making (best example of this is the Duke Nukem game). I don’t know why this is so much worse than the first one, it just feels less than. It feels like the first one was a labour of love, and this one was in pursuit of fans of the first one. I could be wrong, and usually am.

September – Life After Beth

I love this film. I know it’s not the greatest film of all time, but it’s unique and very funny. The closest film is Shaun Of The Dead, but that’s only in terms of genre as they’re both zombie rom-coms. When it comes to style and tone, this is a completely different bushel of bananas. Something about this film feels very 90’s or late 80’s. It would be easy to imagine this as a brat pack John Hughes movie. I haven’t said it yet in this blog, but I highly recommend this film. Even if you don’t like it, I very much doubt you’ll be bored.

October – Gone Girl

So damn creepy and dark. I saw What We Did On Our Holidays about 2 weeks before, a very different performance from Rosamund Pike. It also has the best Tyler Perry performance ever. To the point where you almost forgive him for the Madea movies (I feel I’m being mean to those movies considering I’ve never seen them, they could be comedic classics that I love, but after watch the trailers, I sincerely doubt it). Again, I highly recommend you watch this film, but you will need to prepare something nice for after. This film will drain you, but not in a way that makes you feel empty (if that makes sense). It will emotionally kill you, but when some films do that they leave you unable to speak for a while. This is the opposite, you’ll come out talking a lot. It also has the best blu-ray presentation ever. It comes with a childs book that is kind of nice, but when you read it in the context of the film, it’s horrifying. This, and Life After Beth, heavily inspired us to make this.

November – The Drop

Wait, I saw this just after Gone Girl? Damn 2014 was great. I thought this film would be kind of standard “Boston gangster” film. It’s GREAT though. A huge part of that is Tom Hardy, this is the film where I fell in love with him as an actor. It made me realise he gives great performances. I truly believe he’s probably the greatest actor around at the moment, every role he has he throws himself completely into it. He doesn’t really have a performance “type”. He’s helped in this film by the script though It’s so fucking good. It takes you by surprise every step of the way and will hook you in for the duration. Not just a great film, a very very smart one too.

December – St. Vincent

An annoying film. Because it’s really good. It’s smart, funny, and touching. But the worst thing about it is Melissa McCarthy is REALLY good in it. As such it’s disappointing when you see so many films where she returns to type. It also shows another side to Bill Murray, a slightly sadder and softer side. Bill Murray is lucky he’s Bill Murray. Seriously, watch films he’s in and imagine his character is played by another actor, you would HATE that character. Most of his characters are arseholes, complete dicks. Yet somehow he makes them work. Lucky bastard.

2010s In Film Part 3 (2013)

January – Movie 43

Yeah, this year did not start out on a high, did it? It’s a shame this film is (allegedly) awful, as I wish there were more anthology comedy films. It could be a great way for new writers to get their work published alongside established ones. A way to overload a film with talent so you’re almost guaranteed to get an audience. Plus they’re easier to film as you can do quite a lot at the same time on different sets, and you don’t have to worry about continuity that much. This could have led to a resurgence in the genre. As it is, we got one of the worst films ever made.

February – This Is 40

This is such a waste. So much of it is not needed. Entire characters seem like they’re just there to pad out the runtime. It’s a shame as there is some very funny and interesting stuff in here, but since the film is over 2 hours long it’s not that you remember. There’s so much nothing there that it overloads the good stuff. This really could have been edited down to a really good 90 minutes.

March – Red Dawn

This movie exists. I had no idea this movie exists until now. I know the original exists, but I had no idea this did. There have been so many remakes of classic 80’s films and barely any of them have been any good: Footloose, Robocop, I’m sure there are more but they’re so forgettable that I’ve…….yeah I’ve forgotten them.

April – Scary Movie V

This film series went down FAST. I think it’s because the parodies became less focused. They stopped being genre parodies and just became “this film happened, let us reference it”. The first one specifically targeted the scream movies, as such the things they made reference to were well researched and funny. A good parody should make it hard to watch the original without laughing, and the newer films scattergun approach to parody doesn’t achieve that. The series also led to the unfortunate “[blank] movie” films, most of which were just terrible (Date Movie, Disaster Movie etc).

May – It’s Such A Beautiful Day

This is not a film you enjoy, even if you like it, you won’t really enjoy it. It’s an animated film which is a lot bleaker than that sounds. Don Herzfeldt is a scary genius. If you don’t believe me, look at what he did for The Simpsons. That was him on a leash (not literally, unless he’s into that sort of thing, I don’t know him.), so imagine him with no limits, no eye on the mass market. It’s insane. At time horrifying, at times beautiful. At times unbearably sad, at times it’s so uplifting it’s wonderful. This film is everything you want and everything you don’t want but you need to witness. Just watch that Simpsons clip first, if you can’t handle that, you won’t manage the film. If you see the beauty in it (the “still love you homar” moment always makes me feel teary) then you will in this too.

June – Man Of Steel

Why hasn’t the DC universe hit like the MCU has? Maybe it’s expectations. Everyone knows Batman and Superman so everyone has expectations for when they watch a film with those characters in. Not as many people were familiar with Iron Man when that film came out, so the film-makers had more of a blank slate to work with. Plus, there hasn’t been a critically and audience acclaimed film based on the MCU characters (with the exception of Spider-man and he didn’t arrive until late), the only character to have a film audience was The Incredible Hulk. Compare this to DC, the main characters for that: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman. All three of them have already had iconic performances (Christopher Reeve, Adam West, Michael Keaton, Christian Bale, Linda Carter etc) and great films (and some terrible ones, let’s be honest).

July – The Smurfs 2

Did we really need a smurfs sequel? Did we really need the first one? Both of these questions and more can be answered in my Big Book Of Fuck No, available everywhere because it didn’t exist.

August – Kick-Ass 2

Fuck Jim Carrey. Now, this has nothing to do with his performance in the film, which was actually surprisingly good, and everything to do with his promotional work for the film. Which consisted of him disowning the film and telling people not to watch it. His reasoning was that after the Sandy Hook massacre, saying he could no longer support being in a film with that level of violence. Because before Sandy Hook there was never any violence, and certainly no mass shootings. Nopenotasingleone.

Whilst I have no doubt that Sandy Hook was a tragedy, for it to be the bit of violence that tips you over the edge is just strange. It’s almost naive to think there was no violence in the world before that, and his reaction is like a schoolchild getting into politics “guys, guys, did you know there was a war years ago?” Also, he’s anti-vax. So yeah, fuck him.

September – White House Down

I’m still not sure if I’ve seen this. I watched either this, or Olympus Has Fallen, and I can’t remember enough about it to remember which one. It was so dull. It would have worked in the ’80s but it was just so lacking in substance that it left zero impression on me (I can’t even remember which guy was in the one I watched, that’s how little impact it left on me).

October – Thor: The Dark World

I saw this at a midnight screening, so not only did I watch a terrible film, I stayed up until about 2am to do it. Really soon after this, a relationship ended which I’m not entirely sure I’m completely fine with yet. Now I’m not saying this film was entirely to blame, but it didn’t help. Electric bastard.

November – The Counselor

I should love this film, it’s dark, gritty, has an interesting plot, is well made, and has great performances. My issue is that it’s a little too dark. It’s just relentless bleakness, but it’s so relentless that you end up becoming immune to it and just not caring. It’s just too cold a film with characters who you don’t really care about that much.

December – Frozen

Yes, there was a time before this movie existed. A wonderful time, America had a black man as president instead of someone who probably blacks up in his spare time for sex with his wife. Britain had an unpopular racist in charge instead of a perplexingly popular racist one. Alan Rickman was still alive, sugary drinks didn’t have an extra charge on them. It was a good time, then this happened. I feel I should watch this film but I won’t be able to take it seriously as one of the only voice actors I know in it is this guy.

2010’s In Film Part Two (2012)

January – The Iron Lady

Not a part of the MCU, sadly. Completely different. Iron Man is about a rich merchant of death who’s arrogance leads to his initial downfall, but he eventually finds redemption before dying. This is about a woman who was the same, but didn’t bother with the redemption part.

February – Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close

This film was HATED when it came out. Deemed as exploitative (it’s very 9/11-ey) and is essentially emotional blackmail, but badly done. Initially released just after the 10 year anniversary of the attacks, which just adds fuel the fire that it was done to exploit the terror. So yeah, very negatively reviewed, yet somehow got nominated for best picture at the Oscars. I’m still not entirely sure how that happened.

March – The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists

Damn this film is funny. All you need to know about this film is that it’s made by Aardman (the creators of Wallace And Gromit), has Hugh Grant in it, plus has characters called:

  • The Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate
  • The Pirate Who Likes Sunsets And Kittens
  • The Pirate With Gout

That alone tells you what type of film it is.

April – Cabin In The Woods

Sooooooo much yes. I’m not sure how good this will be to people who aren’t familiar with horror movie tropes, but as someone who is a fan of the genre I love it. It potentially explains every single horror movie, connecting all of them under one umbrella. It has one plot issue that I dislike. It shows a bird flying into an invisible wall near a cave, being electrocuted and dying. This means that when someone tries to jump over the gap later on, you know it’s not going to work and that he’s going to hit the wall. If it came as a surprise then you would be in the same position as the characters and the shock would just kill your soul slightly. I highly recommend everybody see this film.

May – American Pie: Reunion

Is it weird that these films were really successful, people love them, and yet with a few exceptions, it made almost zero long term impact on popular culture. The actors in it had brief moments of being big but now the biggest one is probably Sean William Scott. It’s just weird that if you removed these films from history, not much would change.

June – Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Still haven’t seen this, because apparently, it’s actually quite serious. That’s weird. I thought a film like this would be a comedy. I just can’t imagine taking an idea like this seriously. Thankfully the film I wanted turned out to exist and was Pride And Prejudice and Zombies.

July – The Dark Knight Rises

I actually like this movie, I think Tom Hardy was great as Bane. I’ll admit I’m still not sold on Bale as Batman, he’s an average Batman and not a great Bruce Wayne. I’m just kind of disappointed that this was the final film. There seemed to be a lot of missed opportunities and I would have liked to have seen more Batman villains in the franchise to see how he would have handled them.

August – A Few Best Men

Better films were released this month, of that I am certain. But this one needs love, it’s funny and very British. I love it.

September – Resident Evil 5

How are there this many films in the franchise? I’ve watched one of them and all I can remember is that the last line in the film, the line which is supposed to make you go “wow, that changes everything and is very important”, is also the tagline of the movie. Stupid.

October – Skyfall

The only Bond film I’ve ever seen. It’s alright. I’m just not a fan of Bond. I don’t know why, I like the video games, and the music is great. But the actual films leave me bored. I realise they’re technically great, but I just don’t actually care about them. I should probably watch more (live-blogging those would be one way for me to kill a month or two). Maybe that’s why I don’t care, because there’s so many of them already so I feel when I’m watching them I’m watching them from a point of few of someone who doesn’t know everything I should. I wouldn’t understand any references if any are made. So I feel I’d be watching it a lower level than other people.

November – Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir

2012 featured a documentary about Roman Polanksi, as well as one about Woody Allen. Fuck ’em.

December – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

This film franchise is weird. LOTR was HUGE, and so was the first Hobbit movie. Lots of people very excited about it, and the screening I was dragged to in York was packed out and full of fans. Yet this, and the next film, were so badly received that by the time the third one came out almost nobody was talking about them. The box office didn’t drop that much, so it’s almost like people went to watch them just out of completion anxiety, and they weren’t actually excited about them. It’s a shame as Martin Freeman is perfectly cast, it’s just a shame the film isn’t that great. I’m not that big a Tolkein fan so I can’t judge why, I’m guessing it’s the stretching out one small book into 3 big films that people don’t like, and the HEAVY CGI use which makes it look like a video game.

 

So yeah, that’s 2012, not the end of the world as it turned out. Actually it was soon after this that I started paying more attention to film and seeing A LOT more at cinema.

2010’s In Film: Part One (2010+2011)

So we’ve reached the end of the year, and the end of the decade. Well, this is weird, isn’t it? There are people who voted in the last election who weren’t alive when 9/11 happened. That’s weird. Time is strange. So to cope with the inevitable passing of time, I’m going to make you all feel really f*cking old and briefly talk about one film from every month for every year of the past decade. Some of these films I haven’t seen, particularly before about 2015 when I started to go to the cinema more. We’re going to start at the beginning, because we’re not Memento.

January – Tooth Fairy

God damn you 2010. This is why this blog is hard, January 2010 was, well it was not good. Here’s a list of films released that month that I’ve heard of: The Book Of Eli, Bitch Slap, Tooth Fairy, Youth In Revolt, Leap Year. That’s it, it does feature two films that share a name with bigger things though: Girl On The Train, Stranger Things. That was a terrible start to the decade and I really hope the year gets better. I chose Tooth Fairy because it’s weird to look back on a film before a time where The Rock was legit the biggest action star on the planet. To be honest I’m not even sure how that even happened. I personally can’t pinpoint the film which launched him into superstardom, I’m guessing Fast And Furious because of the mainstream appeal those movies have. Nonetheless, this is a strange film to watch, is kind of cute and funny. Not something that will stick with you, but a film you’d probably watch if it was on and you were bored. Also, it has Julie Andrews on it, which is always nice.

February – Ponyo

Originally released in 2008 in Japan, this film FINALLY saw a UK release in 2010. I love this film. It’s one of the most adorable films you will ever see in your life. It is just so cute, the cinematic equivalent of a lovely hug. Ghibli can do incredibly mature and depressing films (Grave Of The Fireflies being a notable example), this isn’t one of them. Yes it has mature moments, but it is overall a kids film, and has all the positive things that that entails. It reminds me of the live-action version of The BFG (which sadly almost nobody has seen, but they REALLY should).

March – Alice In Wonderland

Damn this movie to Hades. This film made Disney realise that they can just do live-action remakes/re-imaginings instead of coming up with new versions. I hate this trend and refuse to watch them. I watched the live-action Jungle Book they made a few years ago and disliked it because it didn’t stand on it’s own merits; it made so many references to the animated film that you couldn’t watch it as a stand-alone movie as some of it wouldn’t make sense, but they’re not going to be better than the originals, and they’re also not going to be different enough to justify their existence. So really, what is the point of them? So yeah, damn this movie.

April – Iron Man 2

You can read my thoughts about this movie here, this is only here to make you realise how old this franchise now is. How the cinema landscape has changed and yet this franchise is still going strong. I remember people really liking this film when it first came out, yet now everyone hates it. It’s the opposite of Iron Man 3 (which I have always loved btw).

May – Four Lions

This month is the opposite of January. In this you had this film, Hot Tub Time Machine, A Nightmare On Elm Street (shut up, I like it). All films I love, albeit two of them as guilty pleasures. This is probably my favourite though. It’s one of my favourite films of all time, and is still depressingly relevant today. Really you do HAVE to see this film, it’s funny and horrifying and then back to funny again, and then back to horrifying as you realise how true most of it is.

June – MacGruber

I weirdly like this film despite knowing nothing of the character (SNL isn’t really a “thing” in England. Like A Christmas Story, Kiss, or deep-fried butter, it’s huge in the US, ignored over here). This is not the greatest film in the world, but it is a fantastic way to kill some time, and I wish I saw this at the cinema when I had the chance, or that I had watched it with people. I imagine this is great when high, not that I would know of course.

July – Toy Story 3

It was either this or Inception. I went with this instead because this film made me cry. There’s not much I can say about this that hasn’t already been said. It’s the perfect closer to a great trilogy. It’s so good I didn’t want a fourth one to exist, although when it came out I was very glad it did. Pixar are magical.

August – The Human Centipede

Yet again, a film I haven’t seen. So why am I talking about this? Look, I know I’m incredibly immature at times, but this film made me realise that I do have some sense of maturity. It made me realise I had outgrown the “watching shocking things for shocking things sake” stage. It made me realise that I didn’t want to waste my time with ugly art.

September – The Town

Damn I love Affleck. And this film is just more proof of why. I really wish he was given a MAJOR film, he deserves it as both a director and a screenwriter.

October – Despicable Me

Yup, those little yellow bastards have been with us for an entire decade. Now used almost exclusively by middle aged women on facebook to admit they’re massive alcoholics but it’s okay because it’s gin/wine, which is socially acceptable for some reason. “It’s always Gin O’Clock” is something you can proudly put on facebook, yet “I’m going to down a bottle of vodka on my lunch break” isn’t.

November – Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1

Another cinema-ruining movie. A film which made studios realise that they no longer have to make self-contained films, they can just split them into two double their money. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it really doesn’t (Twilight, The Hobbit). Here’s the thing though; I can’t remember how this film ends. I know the plot of both of them, but I can’t remember what happened in each separate film. Compare this to Infinity War/Endgame where I know what happened exactly in each part (or even the IT films). These films do seem like one film that was just cut into two, rather than made as two. I didn’t watch any of the films before the last one came out, and this is partly why; I don’t want to wait a year to see the end of a film I just paid to watch.

December – Little Fockers

Depressing point; kids today might recognise DeNiro mainly from comedy films rather than what he’s best at. That seems wrong. I kind of enjoyed the first two films, but I had no desire to see the same jokes repeated again, and the fact that NOBODY speaks about this film says a lot about it.

Now onto 2011. It doesn’t get much better

January – It’s Kind Of A Funny Story

This is here just to remind me that I really need to read this book, it’s been recommended to me by quite a few people so I should get round to it at some point.

February – Big Momma’s: Like Father Like Son

Ah, remember when this series was a thing? Quick question, did anybody actually ever like these films? You never hear anybody say anything about them, they’ve made almost zero impact on pop culture, yet somehow it still warranted sequels. Tax dodge?

March – Submarine

Oh, so I guess 2011 was just “films I should have seen but didn’t but will get around to one day”? Stop making me feel bad! And I know “why don’t you just pick another film for this month?” Because almost nothing was released this month.

April – Scre4m

Terrible title aside, I do genuinely like this film and I think it features both the best opening, and best villain motivations, of the series. The scene where the killer is injuring herself are brilliantly psychotic and looked like a lot of fun to film.

May – The Hangover: Part Two

I have a weird relationship with this film series. It boils down to me not respecting the people in it that much, and that’s down to this film. Australian racist Mel Gibson was supposed to have a cameo in this as a tattoo artist, but the cast and crew stopped it happening due to him being a drunk nazi. Now I’m not saying he should have been in it or that nazi’s should be allowed in films. But I will point out they had Mike Tyson in this series, and he’s a rapist. Yet the public seem to have forgiven him. So I don’t think it was down to morals, I think it was down to “this will make us look bad” rather than a genuine worry about ethics.

June – X-Men: First Class

The film that saved the X-men franchise which was in desperate need of saving after Last Stand and Origins: Wolverine. In the end it kind of ruined the franchise though as it led to too many discrepancies between timelines. It also led to Dark Phoenix, and fuck that film. But this did show that you can save a franchise thought to be dead. All it takes is to make a good film and people will, well not “forget”, but certainly forgive the sins of the past films.

July – Cars 2

Because even Pixar make mistakes. And for them to put three of their worst films in one franchise is admirable. Still, made a lot of merch sales.

August – Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes

Yes! Now we’re talking. This is one of the most complete trilogies of all time. It follows one story arc but each film is self-contained. Everyone was wary about this film when it was announced, and for good reason. Thankfully it turned out great. This is a trilogy where any film in it could claim to be your favourite one. The fact it lost the academy award for best visual effects is a travesty. As is no nominations for Andy Serkis.

September – Tucker And Dale Vs. Evil

Yeah everyone should have seen this film by now. It’s hilarious. It’s one of those films that you feel has always existed, like the fact that there was a time before this film existed is strange. A bit like Led Zeppelin, but with more woodchipper deaths and less raping of underage girls.

October – Tyrannosaur

Are you a happy person? Do you wake up with a spring in your step and a desire to smile and sing and bring joy everywhere? Watch this film, it will soon cure that. When Olivia Colman won an Oscar earlier this year, the collective thought from everybody who saw this film was “it’s about damn time”. I haven’t seen The Favourite, but I really struggle to see how it can be better than her performance in this. It’s completely heartbreaking and wonderful and depressing. I love it so much.

November – 50/50

The best Seth Rogan film. This film makes me tear up everytime I see it. Based on a true story and all the better for it. The cast are on top form; Rogan plays the role he played in real life, so brings an emotional honesty to the character. Joseph Gordon-Levitt puts his puppy dog-like face to the best possible use. Plus it has Anjelica Huston, and I love her. It also has the best possible use of “To Love Somebody” you’ll ever see.

December – A Very Harold And Kumar Christmas

These films don’t get the love I feel they should. They’re REALLY funny and have something to say. This one is oddly mature compared to the others, but still juvenile in the right ways.

Black Christmas (2019)

So this will probably be the last film I see this year. In my review of Knives Out I mentioned that I think that probably be the last great film I see this year. After seeing this movie I can categorically say I was I definitely right. This movie is not a great movie. In fact it’s kind of bad, and for reasons I hate to bring up as it makes me sound like a dick. So the reason I didn’t like it? The politics. Now I don’t want to be one of those “keep politics out of films” dickheads. This is essentially a film about how patriarchal power structures silence and oppress women, particularly when it comes to justice for rape victims. That’s a message that is, depressingly, still incredibly relevant and is well worth discussing in a film, the issue is that the film itself isn’t good.  It means well and what it says are things that have to be said, but they have to be said better than this. I haven’t seen anything this hamfisted since Kermit’s date night.

david-cameron-put-private-part-in-dead-pigs-mouth-shock-1651842
Not the worst thing someone has put in a pig though

It deals with themes such as sexual assault and the PTSD that can come from it, but it does it really badly. For a film about someone breaking out and trying to escape that memory, the main character isn’t given much of a personality outside of that. Almost all her actions (and most conversations) in the film come from that one event, so whilst the character is trying to not let it define her, the film insists upon it.

The other characters aren’t written much better either. Nobody is given any depth, especially the villains. Horror movies need compelling villains to kill characters, or you need characters you care about and feel scared for. This film has neither. The villains are so 2-dimensional they’re practically stick figures. I’ve had occasions where trailers have spoilt the film, this almost does it in the opening text crawl. It has a quote about using the supernatural to punish people made by a character who founded the college the film is set at. So when you see a statue of that same person oozing a black liquid then being used on people wearing the same clothes as the killer, you can pretty much guess what’s going on. That’s a big issue with this film; how predictable it is. As soon as I saw one character I literally thought “he’s too obviously evil to be evil”. But no, I was wrong, it turns out that he, and all the characters who you might think would be evil, turn out to be, shock horror, evil!

So the black sludge, the scene with the reveal is where the film takes a weird left turn. It manages to be both weird, and predictable. I get you don’t want to do the same thing as the original film, but when you divert this much from the original then what’s the point of remaking it anyway? It would be like doing a remake of Psycho and it turns out Norman Bates is possessed by a ghost. Actually, that is actually exactly what it is, the villains in this use the black sludge on impressionable students so that they get possessed by the founder of the college. Here, the film misses an opportunity to do two really interesting things.

One: a debate about whether possessed people who kill people are evil or whether the possession is to blame. Yeah, that doesn’t happen here, possessed or not, they all get locked in a room and burn to death.

Two: throughout the film, the main character gets close to a guy called Landon. He gets caught and possessed by the spirit of the founder. The college founder is an old white guy who owned slaves and is possessing men to get them into the positions of power which he feels they deserve. Now I don’t want to cast aspersions on a slave owner, but I don’t think his “only men should rule the world” extends to non-whites like Landon. The intersectional nature could have been a really interesting subject to tackle, but it doesn’t. And I think that’s REALLY white. I don’t get how they can miss such an obvious political point to make.

So should you see this film? Regrettably, I’d have to say no, it’s just not fun, or scary. It’s yet another horror film restricted by its rating as it can’t get as violent as it needs to at some points. This is very notable with one death where we see a dead body on a chair, it gets spun around and before we get a full shot of the face and the damage done to it, it cuts to a reaction shot. If you do that “slow-motion chair spin” shot it should end on a reveal of the face, that should be the closing shot of that sequence, the slow nature of the chair spin is a build-up to that moment. In this it’s like a build-up to the revelation that she’s dead, which is something the audience already knew from the second we saw her, so what was it for?

I haven’t seen the original (or the first remake) to judge whether it’s good compared to them, I imagine people who saw those will actively HATE this film as they change almost everything about the plot. I can’t imagine either of those two films are worse than this, but I can say with 100% certainty that it’s not as good as the song by the same name by former X-Ray Spex singer Poly Styrene

Knives Out (2019)

I went into this expecting to be slightly underwhelmed to be honest. I knew it had had good reviews, but I was concerned it would be overly stylised and too self-knowing to truly be enjoyable for me on a personal level. Yeah, I was wrong. I loved this film, it will probably be the last “great” film I see this year. December is usually full of overly sentimental family movies, so I can’t see anything topping this. Still, what a way for the year to end. This is one of the best scripts I’ve seen in a film all year. It reminds me of Searching, which as anybody who speaks to me for more than a few minutes will know is a good thing. Like that film, this is also one which goes where you wouldn’t expect it to. That’s always a good sign for a whodunnit. If you figure out the ending in the opening thirty minutes of the film, the film has failed (the exception is Murder On The Orient Express, I already knew the ending of that film but it was so well done that the film was enjoyable anyway). This is different though, you get told the “killer” relatively early on, the rest of the film is dealing with hiding that fact, and figuring out who hired the detective in the first place.

This could be viewed as a mistake, if the audience is here to find out the killer then why are you revealing it that early? The answer? Because they can. The script is good enough to carry that subverted expectation. It’s not just a good script in terms of story, the dialogue is brilliant too. It’s REALLY subtle in parts, there are unsaid jokes throughout the whole thing. My two favourites are in regards to how the family speak to Marta, the recently deceased’s nurse. When we first see her a member of the family comes up to her and says “I wanted you at the funeral, but the rest of the family voted against it”, and you feel “oh, well at least that family member is nice”, but then it happens again, and again, and again. Practically every family member says that to her. The other thing they say: her families country of origin. They all say different ones. Some say “your family came here from Ecuador”, whereas some describe her family as coming from Mexico. It’s a brilliantly subtle piece of writing that indicates how the family actually view her, and the fact it’s never explicitly pointed out is genius, once you realise it you’ll laugh every time it happens again. It was so subtle I expected it to be brought up later as a plot point and be flashbacked back to in a montage so you realise “oh yeah”, but it never was, and for that it deserves applause.

It’s not just the script though, the acting is brilliant too. It’s been marketed as an ensemble film but I wouldn’t really say that’s the case. There are definitely a few main characters, in reality, it’s more of an ensemble supporting cast. Some of the characters are entertaining but nowhere near enough is done with them. I can’t really go into more details without spoilers but trust me, there are some actors in this who deserve more.

If I had to say something bad about this film? I’d struggle to find something to be honest. The directing could be slightly better. It looks great, some of the images the film constructs are superb, but there is a feeling it could flow slightly better visually. Like if you took each shot individually it looks great, but put together they’re only okay. Compared to the way that someone like Edgar Wright does visuals and you get the feeling it’s somewhat lacking. For a normal film, this would be fine, and the shot constructions would lead to it looking fantastic. But for a film with performances and a script THIS good, it pales in comparison. The script is a 9.7/10, the directing is “only” a 7.9. Yeah, I’m really struggling to find bad things about this film if THAT’s what I’m going with. Go see it at the cinema, I’m probably going to do so again.