Creed III (2023) Review

Quick Synopsis: Adonis Creed retires from the boxing world, and is met by Damian, a childhood friend who has just got out of prison. Damian turns out to be a very good boxer, but also a massive prick.

On balance, I probably prefer the Creed franchise to the Rocky one. The first two Rocky films are great, no doubt about it. But the Creed films have something different to them. I think it’s because there is a real-life undercurrent to the whole thing. The character of Adonis Creed is trying to step out of the legacy of his father Apollo, whilst also wanting to pay respect to him. Similarly, the films want to stand out on their own away from the Rocky films, whilst also paying respect to them.

There was still the worry that this would be the film which lets the Creed franchise down, especially since it was being directed by Michael B. Jordan. He is a FANTASTIC actor, but this is his directorial debut, so there is always the risk that handing the reigns over to someone so inexperienced could backfire, especially when that person is the lead.

Thankfully, turns out that he’s pretty damn good. The first Creed film was notable for how it shot the fights, really making you feel like you were in there with them. This goes in a different direction, especially for the final fight. That scene is already one of the best I’ve seen this year. It doesn’t aim to make the fight realistic but uses more abstract visual language to show how it actually FEELS to be in there. For example, at one point, the crowd disappears and the fight takes place in an empty arena, it really highlights the personal nature of the feud between the two characters. Jordan has said he was heavily inspired by anime when it came to how to shoot the fight scenes, that makes a lot of sense. It’s a bold choice, but it pays off.

Another smart choice is casting Jonathan Majors, who was last seen in Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania. As daunting a presence as he was in Quantumania, it’s in Creed where he is more imposing. He looks like someone who can punch your head clear off your head, and carries himself as someone who would. It is kind of a weakness of the film that his point is too good. Most people would do what he did in that situation, so it’s hard to not only sympathise with him but to kind of root for him. I’m not asking him to come out and punch a child, but they could have done more to make him more of a villain. Wouldn’t even take something (Jonathan) major, his incarceration was kicked off by Adonis punching someone who abused him at a children’s home. All it would take is for Adonis to find out that Damian planned that person to be there to steal the money Adonis won from betting earlier. Or have Adonis’s mother Mary Anne point out horrible things Damian did to Adonis as a child (stealing his stuff, belittling him, stopping him from entering a boxing tournament, I dunno, something). He is still a prick, and his underhanded tactics in the fight to make you slightly hate him, but Damian is definitely too easy a character to root for.

Michael B Jordan continues to shine as Adonis, but he is slightly overshadowed by not only Jonathan Majors, but also Phylicia Rashad, who provides much of the emotion, kind of like Stallone did in the last one. On that note, I should point out that Stallone is not in Creed III. To be honest, he’s not missed. If Stallone was in this then it would be far too busy. There’s no space for the Rocky character, it also means that Adonis stands out more as a focused character. You’re not sitting there waiting for Rocky to turn up, you might not even notice he’s not there until you think about it.

Onto the downside: the pacing is a little off. It ends brilliantly, but the middle section seems rushed. Damian chases the title for a while, but we don’t get to see him as champion that much. It’s a shame as there is room for an interesting story about how the boxing world views him. We don’t really get how the boxing world reacts to someone winning the title in their first professional fight, and being much older than most professionals. There’s definitely space to tell this story too, it keeps going back to the incident at the grocery store when really we only needed to see it twice, once at the start, and then again later on for clarification with new context. It also wouldn’t be a bad thing for the opening to be a bit quicker. Those are minor issues, and it doesn’t stop Creed III from being a fantastic film, but it does stop it from being among the best I’ve ever seen.

So in summary, definitely go see this. I’m not sure where the franchise can go from here, but at the moment this is a damn fine conclusion to the saga.

Scream VI (2023) Review

Quick synopsis: People from Woodsboro get stabbed, this time in New York

I am a massive fan of the Scream franchise (despite only managing to catch one of them at the cinema), so a new one is always welcome. They don’t just work as slasher horrors, but also as murder mysteries, you watch them and look for clues to work out who the killers is, and why. The duel genre nature of the franchise is one I’ve always been a fan of, so I was looking forward to this. Scream movies have always started well, and have always been unexpected. The first one killed off Drew Barrymore, the third one killed off returning character Cotton Weary, the fourth was….well it was very weird, the fifth one started with the person who was attacked surviving, and this? This started with someone being brutally murdered, and the killer unmasking himself. It’s a shockingly different way to start the film off, and I love it. I’ll say this now, it’s genius. It subverts expectations twice, and both times it blew my mind and got me very excited.

The ending? Not so much. Scream 3 gets a lot of shit for the killer reveal, but it was still a lot better than this. In the third one, there was still some ambiguity about who the killer could be and what their motives were, we were presented with numerous possibilities, but enough clues so that we could possibly figure it out (but maybe not the “why”). Scream VI does the opposite, it’s blindingly obvious who the killers are. When you have a character say they “had” a son, and also have them talk about swearing revenge on those who hurt his family, it’s not difficult to figure out that they’re the killer, and the motive. Related to this, if a character in a slasher movie dies off-screen and you don’t see the body properly, they didn’t die. This is incredibly obvious to everybody who has seen a movie before. It’s an incredibly disappointing reveal, even more so because it starts wonderfully.

The rest of Scream VI is fun to watch, well, as fun as watching people get brutally murdered can be. The kills are disgustingly brutal, it gets really specific with where the knife goes. Someone being stabbed directly in the throat will always be a manner of murder that stands out more than just stabs in the back or chest. That being said, there is a scene where someone gets stabbed in the chest repeatedly and the sheer violence of it is shocking, so there is a way to do something as simple as that in a way that makes it stand out.

Usually, “[killer name] in Big City” is a sign a horror franchise has gone off the rails, second only to “in space” as a sign that the movie is going to be shit. I actually like the way they use the location here. New York is loud, so it is conceivable that somebody can be stabbed in an alleyway and nobody will notice. I will respect this for not doing the obvious scenes in Times Square etc. It is in New York, but it’s not a tour of the landmarks. Instead, it is a way to introduce different horror set pieces, the scene on the subway system is incredible, although it was ruined in the previews (as was the scene in the bodega). There are moments where it does get a bit too “You mess with one of us, you mess with all of us!” Spider-Man-like.

The big story leading up to the release was the absence of Neve Campbell, who refused to make an appearance due to Paramount deciding not to pay her enough because they’re bastards. I have to be honest though, I’m not sure what she would have done in this. There’s not really a Sidney Prescott-shaped hole in this story. If there’s a sequel then there will have to be a discussion about bringing her back, but the story they’re telling here? She would have seemed superfluous. They do explain her absence, and it’s a way that makes sense. Without Neve, Scream VI focuses more on the characters introduced in last year’s Scream. The only legacy character to return is Gale Weathers, but Courtney Cox only appears in roughly 4 scenes. Her character seems to have reverted to her Scream 1 persona, in a character development that doesn’t make much sense. Her scenes do feature a nice reference to how she and Ghostface have never really spoken much, but aside from that, Gale’s scenes seem a bit superfluous.

Not quite established enough to be a legacy character, but also returning from this is Hayden Panettiere’s Kirby Reed, who was last seen (and introduced) in Scream 4,or to give it proper (a.k.a, stupid) title: Scre4m (pronounced Screfourm, obviously). It is nice to see her back, not just in this franchise, but in Hollywood in general, with this being Hayden’s first film appearance since Custody in 2016. Kirby’s character arc is a great examination of how characters react to events like this, although I would like to see her explored more in the future.

The rest of the cast is great too, Melissa Barrera keeps her upward trajectory, but I feel this does slightly stall the momentum Jenna Ortega is on from Wednesday. Not due to the quality of the script, but there are moments near the start where her performance seems a little bit weak. Not “OMG this is terrible” level, but it feels like she’s operating at a slightly lower level than everybody else. In a film full of Lennon and McCartney, she’s a George Harrison; still very good, but overshadowed.

So in summary; go see this. It’s very good, although you may get a headache from how many times the “How did they survive that?” alarm in your head goes off.

65 (2023) Review

Synopsis: Mills (Adam Driver) crashes on earth 65 million years ago and fights dinosaurs.

Oh this is annoying. A title like that, and a film like this, you can almost sense that a review would say “65; a film as dull and unoriginal as the title suggests”, that comment itself would be (ironically) really lazy and predictable. But I can’t think how else to put it. Adam Driver fighting dinosaurs should not be as dull as this. Everything is just incredibly bland and dour. I think the problem is that the premise and the length (93 minutes) would lead you to believe that 65 will be an action-packed thrill-ride, albeit one that is a bit tongue-in-cheek and silly. Instead, the whole thing is far too serious, which feels like a missed opportunity.

That’s actually a good summary: a film of missed opportunities. Throughout, the script makes the wrong choices, goes down the wrong path, eats the wrong berries (I forgot the point I was making). Usually a script is lucky enough that these choices would be placed far apart in a script so that it isn’t too egregious but here it’s unlucky enough that it makes two narrative missteps in the opening.

One: Starting with Mills leaving his family behind so he can take part in a two year expedition. His daughter (Nevine) is sick so he needs to be able to afford healthcare etc. We find out relatively early on that Nevine died midway through Mills’ expedition. That should have been spread out. If we start not knowing this daughter is sick then it can unveil that to the audience through the film, and allow us to mentally go back and use the new knowledge to recontextualise earlier scenes. This doesn’t do that, because it gives us so much, so early on, it kind of feels like there’s no character exploration because we’re told too much early on. It’s the narrative equivalent of not bothering to wrap up Christmas presents. It also means that the film starst off calm and serene, which is the opposite of what you want. If it opened up with the spacecraft crashing then the audience would automatically be on the edge of their seat.

Two: We don’t see anybody else on the ship before it crashes. We aren’t introduced to them, the first time we see them, they’re all dead. This feels like a mistake because it means the audience doesn’t feel anything when they die. If we replaced the opening with a small scene of crew members joking around with each other it would flesh them out, so when everybody dies, the audience would actually feel something. The only other character we see is Koa, and with the exception of her desire to be reunited her parents, the deaths of the crew don’t effect the plot at all. There are no moments where Mills feels particularly haunted by all his colleagues being dead (or walking through their blood, in one of the few effective scenes). So what was the point of it? Why kill off that many people if you’re not going to have it have any baring on the plot?

That’s the other thought 65 provoked in me: Why? There are so many times where I don’t know why the writers made the choices they do. The core one: why is it set 65 million years in the past? Why not just have them as humans in the present day on a distant planet? The fact it’s earth, and in the past, adds NOTHING to the story. The odds that human life would evolve to the EXACT specifications on two different planets is astronomical. Is it just there so they can tie in the giant asteroid that caused the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event? I think it is. I did think that whole plot made the characters look like idiots. Mills is an experienced spacecraft pilot, so he is aware of what asteroids do. Yet when he spots a giant flaming rock moving gradually closer to earth, he just seems to be like “meh, not my world, not my problem, YOLO”. Both characters are a bit stupid to be honest. Koa traps a small dinosaur in a tunnel and throws a handful of grenades down, one would have done, and the other grenades could have been used for something else. It doesn’t matter in the end, they don’t need the grenades at any point, they were only used in 2 scenes and they didn’t matter. A lot that happens in this doesn’t matter. For example, at one point Mills wakes up and finds that Koa is foaming at the mouth. He opens her mouth and pulls a parasite out, then she recovers. That’s it, from “oh no, this character might die” to “everything’s fine” in less than a minute. The parasite thing isn’t mentioned again, doesn’t threaten the characters again, so ultimately a near-death of a main character means NOTHING. This keeps happening, something seemingly important happens, they get past it, the threat is no longer there. It’s not narrative, it’s video game levels. It might have worked better if the film had more survivors, then we could see them being killed off as the film develops. It would mean the world actually FEELS dangerous, instead of fake danger that we know can’t pierce the characters plot armour.

Of course, this could have been on a different planet with a different asteroid, and nothing would have been different. In fact, it didn’t even need to leave earth. The plot, as it is, would work perfectly fine if it was a character in modern times who is on a ship that lands on a deserted island full of creatures. I mean, that would basically be King Kong, but this is not a film aiming for originality anyway so fuck it.

So in summary; a film clearly aiming for spectacle, but instead ends up being utterly forgettable. Far too many pointless scenes adding up to a pointless movie. It also has possibly the worst title of the year in terms of making it easy to find in a few years time.

Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania (2023) Review

Quick synopsis: It’s a Marvel movie, you know what the plot is.

M.O.D.O.K looks fucking stupid. Sorry, I just had to get that out of the way before I start this.

*gathers notes and restarts*

Since Endgame, it feels like the MCU has been stagnating slightly. It’s doing the cinematic equivalent of setting up a lot of dominos, which will hopefully all tie together wonderfully, but at the moment it’s kind of uninteresting. Quantumania looks like it may end that, the next stage is set up so heavily that it needs to start being acknowledged soon.

First off, yes, this film has flaws. The visuals are a bit inconsistent. It’s both beautiful yet ugly, technically astounding yet a cheap mess. Everything looks green-screened, and the Quantum Realm itself is a bit bland. It’s a shame as there are moments where it is glorious to watch, where you truly get a sense of scale and wonder. But for the majority of it, it’s kind of bland. There was a chance to fill this world with colour, so that every scene pops off the screen, as it is, it’s just there. I mean, it’s still impressive that it was all created, but it still doesn’t look like a $200million budget film.

There was some controversy before Quantumania was released due to the recasting of Cassie Lang. Nobody was assuming that Abby Ryder Forston was going to come back due to being too young, but there was an assumption that Emma Fuhrmann would. I don’t know why they cast someone in Endgame when they were planning to look to recast if Cassie Lang came back. Secretly, I’m glad they did, Kathryn Newton is one of my favourite performers around at the moment, and she is a REALLY good Cassie. So yeah, I get why, and she is the better choice, I just, I think it’s a shitty thing to do to recast like that.

In terms of the other performers, the main issue is that Bill Murray feels wasted. I don’t want him as a main character, but having him in it then doing what they do with him feels like such a weird casting decision.

There are some people annoyed that Michael Pena didn’t come back. Luis was one of the most popular characters in both Ant-Man, and Ant-Man and The Wasp, with his rapid-fire delivery and vocal style of summing up events being a highlight. Truth be told, there wasn’t really a way for Luis to fit into this. If they did, then Luis would have felt unnaturally shoe-horned in and would have been weird. Part of this is because Quantumania does SUCH a good job in terms of pacing. Sometimes you can be waiting around for a lot of the running time waiting for the story to kick off, but it happens here incredibly quickly. Same with the way it ends. It doesn’t linger long after the story is resolved, they resolve the story, give a quick coda, then end it.

There is no Luis, but there is Kang (weak segue, I know), and Kang is a fantastic villain. Part of that is due to Jonathan Majors, he CRUSHES it. Josh Brolin was fantastic as Thanos, there’s no doubting that. But if they let Majors do what he is capable of doing, Kang could end up being better. Majors has such a screen presence, especially physically. He is a hell of an actor for the MCU to have going forward, and the concept of different multiverse versions of him is incredibly exciting when you think of the potential for Majors to show what he can do.

Now onto the big issue I have: M.O.D.O.K. I’ll admit, I’m not that familiar with M.O.D.O.K as a character, but I assume we’re supposed to take him somewhat seriously? It doesn’t help that when I look at M.O.D.O.K I don’t see a “Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing”, I see Krang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It doesn’t help that the CGI is awful and just looks ridiculous. To be fair, I don’t think there is a way to make a giant human head look threatening, so there’s not much they could have done to help that. Well, they could have just kept the fucking mask on and NOT SHOW THE ACTUAL FACE. Do the reveal through dialogue instead of unmasking. That would then make it seem like the face has been disfigured, and let the audience wonder how badly it has been ruined by what it’s been through.

Overall, Quantumania is a bit like the last few Marvel films; entertaining enough, but won’t change your mind on the genre. On the plus side, you don’t need to have watched all the TV shows for the film to make sense, although Loki will need to be watched to understand the post-credits scene.

2022 Film Awards Day 3: The Personal

Well I Liked It

Films which I liked, but others didn’t, whether it’s reviews or the general public.

Thor: Love And Thunder (RT Score: 64, Metacritic: 57)

It’s weird, a few years ago Marvel films were all overrated, being described as “the best films ever, they should win Oscars” but now it feels like the opposite has happened, and they’re being looked down on by Marvel fans. A lot of the time it basically comes down to one of two things:

  1. It didn’t have things the audience expected it to. This was especially prevalent for Multiverse Of Madness, in which I’ve seen people genuinely annoyed that Tom Cruise wasn’t in it as an alternate version of Iron Man. There was zero indication he was ever going to be, but that doesn’t matter, these guys heard someone say it on the internet and expected it to be true.

  2. “Too woke”. Which basically means, “It has a woman in it and she’s not overly sexualised or a damsel in distress”

I actually liked this, yeah it’s not the best film ever but it’s not the total piece of shit that some fans say it is. It has genuine emotion and deep themes. Plus the child actor is actually adorable to watch.

Death On The Nile (RT Score: 62, Metacritic: 52)

I don’t get the bile people have for this film. Is it great? Nope, and it’s definitely not as good as the first one, but it’s not terrible. Yes, the CGI for the backgrounds is lacking, but it is an entertaining film to watch. Other films did similar things better, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a good film. Just because chocolate cake exists and is delicious, doesn’t mean eclairs aren’t good too.


Bullet Train (RT Score: 54, Metacritic: 49)

This genuinely baffles me. This is a fantastic film, featuring some of the best action scenes you’ll likely to see. It also has a great soundtrack, is very funny, and has some really good performances. It’s over 2 hours long (including credits) but doesn’t feel it. Is the low score based on the fact it’s a bit sweary? I’d settle for a 7-8 out of 10 for this, but for it to be rated SO low by critics is disappointing. I’m guessing critics just hate fun things.

I Don’t Get It

Men (RT Score; 69 [nice], Metacritic: 65)

Not a fan for one reason and one reason only; I’m not really a fan of weird mood pieces. It set up a plot and depended on the weirdness and mood to carry it through. I wanted to have some idea and grounding as to why it was happening. I don’t need my hand held for every little thing, but I want some idea of the reality.


Licorice Pizza (RT Score: 91, Metacritic: 90)

This got a lot of love from people. Some people truly loved it and considered it a masterpiece. It also did very well in terms of award nominations. It’s just, I personally couldn’t get past the ages of the people involved. A love story between a 15-year-old and a 25-year-old is not something I want to see, I just find it gross.

Most Surprising

Chip N Dale: Rescue Rangers

I had every expectation that this would actually be terrible, turned out to be one the funniest films of the year. It’s incredibly self-aware, and much smarter than you’d think. It’s on par with The Lego Movie in how entertaining it is. Ordinarily, I’d be worried whether my nostalgia is clouding my judgement, whether my growing up on it means that I’m either predisposed to loving this movie because “hey, these characters existed when I had hope, that means they’re good”, or alternatively, it would make me hate it because “His eye colour is Egyptian Blue in the original, here it’s Persian Blue, worst film ever!”. I can safely say that’s not the case because I never watched these characters as a child, and as such, couldn’t give a shit.

Confess, Fletch

“Oh boy, a remake of an 80’s Chevy Chase movie, this is going to be good,” said nobody. Remakes are generally not good. Especially not remakes that are pushed out with zero advertising. It was just kind of put out there for a week. It had all the hallmarks of a film that the studio was ashamed of. I don’t get that, it’s a lot of fun to watch, has a decent story, and has genuine franchise potential. It got really good reviews both from reviewers and audiences. So it feels like a case of “those who watched it, liked it, but not many people watched it”.

Everything, Everywhere, All At Once

I like trailers. I don’t obsess over them and watch them desperate for details. But if I’m about to see something, I will usually watch a trailer beforehand just so I know what to expect. I purposely didn’t do that with this. I had somehow landed myself in a situation where I heard almost nothing about this. All I know was “something to do with multiverses” and “it’s very good”. I was kind of excited to go in knowing that little. I prepared for something very good, and what I got was something incredible. I expected it to be good, but I didn’t expect to fall in love with it as much as I did.


Orphan: First Kill

The first one is a, well, “modern classic” is pushing it a bit, but it’s certainly earned its place as a good showcase of modern horror. But it was built around a killer twist, a twist which the audience will know going into this one. It’s also a prequel, and those are never good. So how can this work? How can it be anything but a colossal (well, medium) failure? By being really f*cking good, that’s how. Also by pulling off a much better twist than the original, because you don’t know there’s a twist. You assume everything is going as it should, then when the reveal of a character’s true intention is revealed, it suddenly explains a lot of things. I loved this film, and considering I expected it to be terrible, the fact it’s one of my favourite horror films of the year says a lot. Are other films in this category better? Yes, easily. But the gap between “how good this film is” and “how shit I thought it would be” can’t be beaten.

Most Disappointing:


Why do so many films mess up King adaptations? Dark Tower was a mess, IT: Chapter 2 was disappointing, and this? This is just bad. It’s a shame as a character like this should be updated. The world we live in now is very different from the world we lived in when the original film was released (except for the threat of nuclear destruction from Russia). It would be interesting to see how the modern military would react to someone with these powers, and what would happen in an internet world where any incidents can be shared online instantly. Sadly, this film isn’t interested in showing any of those things. The only way it could be more predictable is if it actually played the Prodigy song, but at least then it would have some energy.

The 355

I thought this was going to be the first movie I saw in 2022, luckily it wasn’t, it would have kicked the year off on a somewhat sour note. It feels like it thinks that putting women in a generic spy movie is somehow groundbreaking. Without gender, it’s the same film you’ve seen many times before. Stunningly predictable, and with bland action scenes. Just not good enough for a modern audience.


This should be gayer. I don’t know how to explain it, but it should be. It does some good things with the villain reveal, but you can’t watch it and not feel like you’re watching a PG edit of a 15-rated film.


Halloween Ends

Obviously, this wins. I really enjoyed the first two (well, technically the second and third, or the eleventh and twelfth), to the point where Halloween Kills is genuinely one of my favourites in the franchise. But this? A steaming pile of shit would be kind. It feels like it was written on a napkin by someone who hadn’t watched the others. This is not the movie that the previous two set up. It seems like they were so focused on subverting expectations they forgot to make it workable. You can’t have the final Halloween movie barely feature Michael Myers, and you’re a dumbass if you think you can.

Worst Movie

The Bubble

This is bad. It’s such a waste of so many talented people. It feels like Apatow just got everybody to make shit up, and kept the worst options from every take. The pacing is terrible, it completely wastes what could be a good comedic sequence of them in quarantine. Absolutely nothing about it works. It focuses on the wrong characters, and the characters it does focus on aren’t likeable, but aren’t really detestable enough to be the figures of hate the film portrays them as. I’m not even nominating anything else, because this is such a colossal failure that nothing deserves to be compared to it.

Best Film


I saw this relatively early on last year, and it immediately disqualified quite a few films I saw prior to being nominated for this award. The difference between this, and films I liked that came before it in 2022 was huge. I am so glad I saw this, and I immediately told my friends about it. It’s hauntingly beautiful, and I am still occasionally emotionally affected by the flashbacks. If this was a different year, this might have won, but it was SUCH a stacked year in terms of quality films.


There’s a moment in this film where a ladder snaps and the character is left hanging in the air. At this point in the screening I attended, someone a few rows over just stood up, said “nope, fuck that” and left. There were a few moments when I considered joining him. It’s so well done that I couldn’t watch it, it was too tense. There’s a part of my brain that sees the things that happen in this and go “nope, that’s a bad thing to do”. Despite the fact it is obviously fictional, you get lost in the world so convincingly that your brain forgets it’s not real.

The Batman

Mainly for the fact that it’s only 20 minutes away from being the same length as Avatar: The Way Of Water, yet never feels it. I would watch this again, in fact, I did. I saw it twice at the cinema and was just as into it the second time. I’m not even sure I want to watch a trailer for Way Of Water again. It is not a perfect film, but it is the best comic book MOVIE in a while. It feels actually mature (rather than what it usually means when people say “we’ve made a mature comic book movie”: tits and guns). It also does the best job of showing WHY Batman does what he does.

Glass Onions: A Knives Out Mystery

Trust me, any other year, this could have won, I know people who have watched this multiple times already, and I don’t blame them. Everything about it works. It’s funny, it’s clever, and it’s just so damn entertaining to watch. I still count it as one of the best films I’ve seen and is definitely in my top 50, maybe top 10. So why isn’t it top? Because it was against something magnificent.


Everything Everywhere All At Once

Of course, it’s this. Nothing else could even come close. This is one of the best things I have ever seen in my life. This truly had everything I want in a film. It was funny, it had great action scenes, good music, yet it was also incredibly heartbreaking. I didn’t think a scene of two rocks talking to each other could make me feel as tearful as it did here. This should be a mess, it tries to do SOOO much, and the things it tries to do all have different tones. It balances the silliness of dildo fights, and the meaning of existence and trauma. It’s weirdly existential and nihilistic at the same time. This isn’t just film, this was a life-changing experience.

2022 Film Awards Day Two: The Technical

Best Looking

I tried to go for different types of visuals here, so everything here has a different reason for me liking the visuals. On the downside this means that some did miss out, purely because what they did very well, others did better.

Avatar: The Way Of Water

Obviously, this was going to be here. The film itself is dull, but it’s a visual masterpiece. The worlds feel lived in, with environments and buildings showing suitable wear and tear.


The level of detail on the clothes is amazing. You can almost feel the fabric. There’s a great visual flow to everything too. The house etc looks lived in due to the little visual details.


Mainly because it did a great job of making you feel like you were high up. This was probably the most nauseating film I saw all year, and that’s entirely due to how effective the visuals were.

Licorice Pizza

I hated this film, but I loved the way it looked. It looked like it was being watched on an old cathode TV.

Orphan: First Kill

It’s a prequel, filmed 13 years on from the original, but you never think that the actress is 13 years older than she was originally. All practical as well.

The Batman

Very rarely has Gotham looked quite as grimy as it does here.


We’re All Going To The Worlds Fair

Without the visuals, this would be poor. It would be too incomprehensible. With it, it’s hauntingly beautiful. Some films have looked better, but few films have enhanced the quality of a film as much as was done here. It’s like being trapped in a lava lamp.

Best Music


I watched this film once, haven’t watched anything on youtube about it since, and I don’t own the soundtrack. I can still hear some of the songs in my head sometimes.

Bullet Train

It had a Japanese cover of Holding Out For A Hero playing out during action scenes, what else do you want?

Licorice Pizza

A good mix of classic music that suits the tone perfectly. Yes, I am aware it’s weird to nominate a film for two positive awards if I hated it. Deal with it.


So very creepy. Incredibly effective at making you feel wary of what would otherwise be beautiful countryside.

The Justice Of Bunny King

Mainly for the cover of What’s Up that plays over the end.

We’re All Going To The Worlds Fair

I mean, I purchased the soundtrack. The only movie soundtrack I purchased all year in fact. So it’s kind of here by default.



“The Family Madrigal” earned this film a nomination, “Surface Pressure” won this for it. A legit heartbreaking song.

Best Character

Bee – Bodies Bodies Bodies

She’s one of the few likeable characters. She’s just so damn kind that you see her in this world and really feel for how the dickweeds are treating her. She goes through so much through the course of this film that your heart just breaks for her.

Jupe – Nope

A character is in such strong denial about his trauma. Only being able to talk about it through the medium of an SNL sketch, and then repeating the exact same damn mistakes. It’s stupid, and it’s baffling, but it’s so human.

Luisa – Encanto.

Had a lot of options for this and really there are many that could be chosen, in the end I went with her because it’s specifically her song where the whole tone changes and the film becomes something different.

Mina – Ballad Of A White Cow

She is so beaten down by her situation, and you can’t really blame her for feeling like she does. It’s made worse by the fact that this happens all the time to women in certain parts of the world. They’re powerless to stop it, and others are powerless to help. There’s a scene near the end which demonstrates this. I talked about it in the original review and I’ll post it again here:

Sadly, this act of kindness ends up getting her evicted (for having an unrelated male in the house), but she never mentions it to him. She hides it from him out of kindness for him. Because she doesn’t want him to feel guilty.

The Riddler – The Batman

Takes a character who is usually seen as a joke by the film-going audience, and makes him a highly disturbing serial killer.

The Wolf – Bullet Train

He gets a whole sequence fleshing out his backstory, giving him a compelling arc which you know he’s going to use as the basis to redeem himself later in the film. Instead, he dies, very quickly. And it’s brilliant.


Benoit Blanc – Glass Onion

I think he’s now up there with the greatest characters in modern cinema. Everything about him is notable. The fact that “Benoit describing other films” is now a meme, displays just how well-written and defined this character is.

Worst Character

Cyclone – Black Adam

Mainly because it did a terrible job of explaining her powers.

Spider – Avatar: The Way Of Water

His characterisation is all over the place. He was raised with the Na’vi and dislikes humans. He gets kidnapped by humans and then starts liking them, even though many of his friends have been killed by them. He then watches the humans attempt genocide, and decides that’s too much, he has to leave them. But not before saving the villains life, making sure he can come back in the sequel.

Billy Lomas – Scream

Hallucinations always feel like a cheap way of bringing dead characters back, and that’s definitely the case here. It’s nice to see the actor again, and it does make some narrative sense, but it kind of feels like they came up with the concept of him coming back first, and then wrote a reason for it.

Will – Ambulance

Only because it’s yet another “No, I don’t kill” character who then DEFINITELY kills nameless characters by causing accidents and vehicular destruction. He’s written too much like a cliché, which renders him really uninteresting to watch.

Alana/Gary – Licorice Pizza

When the two characters were apart, they were smart, funny, likeable, and I wanted to see more of them. When they were together they were selfish, manipulative, and nonsensical. It drove them to be the worst versions of themselves. Which for a film about a relationship is a bad thing.


Corey Cunningham – Halloween Ends

His entire arc lessens not just this film, but the entire modern trilogy. They really dropped the ball with this entry, and part of that is because of the sudden focus on Corey. I refuse to believe this was the plan all along, if it was, it should have been threaded through the previous two films.

Best Performer

Janelle Monae – Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

A strong cast throughout, but Monae inches ahead because of her (spoiler) duel roles. It’s difficult as not only does she have to play both, but also has to play one who is pretending to be the other. It’s a really tricky performance, but she manages it, and provides the glue that holds the film together.

Ayden Mayeri – Confess, Fletch

She’s surrounded by veterans of the comedy game in Roy Wood Jr, Jon Hamm, Annie Mumolo, and John Slatterly. Meanwhile, she is still yet to have a Wikipedia page. That’s a damn shame, as in a film of comedy giants, she stands out. Her line delivery provides some of the biggest vegan laughs (that’s laughs that contain no Hamm). I want to see her in more stuff, especially leading a sitcom. She’s got the skills, and now she has the credibility.

Grace Carolyn Currey – Fall

The film is anchored around her performance, if she fails, she drags the film down and it sinks. I kind of regret saying “anchored” now, feels like it clashes with the metaphor, but the point still stands.

Anastasia Budiashkina – Olga

If this was “best film debut performance by a sports star” then Anastasia would definitely……be in the top two for this year (spoilers). Even without her complete inexperience, this would be an astounding performance. But when you consider that this is her only acting performance, it’s almost impossible to believe.

Kali Reis – Catch The Fair One

The other sports star performance of the year, this time from a boxer. She has an advantage over Budiashkina in that she has acted before, in an episode of True Detective. Normally, that wouldn’t be enough experience for a director to base a film around. She brings an energy to this film that is unmatched. I also love the fact that she seems like a genuinely good person, albeit one that punches women in the face for a living.

Austin Butler – Elvis

Everyone is familiar with Elvis Presley. They know his voice, they know his look, and they know his mannerisms. So if a performer is lacking in certain aspects, not only will it be noticed, but the person will be ripped apart by a truly passionate fanbase. If you even get a syllable wrong, you’ll be crucified. It’s a LOT of pressure, and it could destroy a young actor. I know Elvis fans, and ones who dislike a lot of things, they liked his performance. I did too, there’s a moment near the end where it shows footage of the real Elvis and it suddenly hit me “oh yeah, I was watching an actor”.


Stephanie Hsu – Everything Everywhere All At Once

I tried to limit it to one performer from each film, and this was the hardest one to pick. Everybody in this is at the top of their game. There’s not a single moment where the performances could be improved. In a way, this film is for all three of the leads, but Hsu deserves highlighting because of the sheer amount of differences she has to give her variations. Michelle Yeoh does too, but a lot of her hardest work is in the physical fight scenes, and the differences aren’t quite as varied as the ones Hsu is given to do. Very few performers can be both an omnicidal maniac, and a broken and scared teen who just wants her mother to recognise she’s in pain, even fewer manage both of those in the same film.

2022 Film Awards Part 1: The Moments

Going to try something a bit different this year, rather than place every award in one post, I’m going to split it over three, mainly to avoid repetition, and to keep it to a readable length. In this one I’ll be focused more on moments, focusing more on how films started, ended, and the moments in between.

Worst Closing


It feels like they cut a few scenes off. It goes from “here’s my plan” to “I succeeded” way too quickly. It’s a shame as there could have been a lot more tension in those scenes.


Really unsubtle sequel bait. The premise of the film itself is stupid, but whilst watching it I thought that was a deliberate “yes this is dumb, but it’s fun” stylistic choice. Then the way the story concluded made go all Benoit Blanc “no! It’s just dumb”.

The Batman

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED this film, and it is long, but the ending is the only part where it feels long. We got the point being made, they didn’t need to repeat it again and again.

Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness

Just a simply terrible ending. A great film leaves you feeling things, this just leaves you thinking “wait, what?”. It’s basically a “guys, there’s trouble at the old mill” shrugs shoulders “here we go again” ending that was popular in 70’s tv shows.



Vulture ends up here from the MCU. One of those endings which just gets dumber the more you think about it. It is technically a post-credits scene, but considering they put it in the marketing, I’m counting it. A shitty ending to a shitty movie. 

Best Closing


A very sweet textual tribute. I’m normally not a fan of text ending a film, but it works brilliantly here.

Halloween Ends

The destruction of Michael Myers. The PERFECT way to end this franchise. If you ignore, you know, the whole middle section of the film.

Nightmare Alley

The main character submits to a life of being a geek. It’s horrifying, and so bleak. But perfect.

The Justice Of Bunny King

A phone call with her kids. She knew she has 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


Bodies, Bodies Bodies

The reveal changes everything about this. Closes what you thought were plot holes, and puts a whole new spin on the film on the characters. The build-up to it is great too, when you can sense it is about to happen.

Best Moment

Belle – Everyone Sings

When the world starts singing, it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a sign saying “free cheese”.

Bodies Bodies Bodies – The First Death

Ties everything together perfectly, and is timed brilliantly. When I saw it I could sense when different people got it. The laughter of recognition made its way through the audience and it was a wonderful experience to be part of.

Bullet Train – The Wolf

Really there are a lot of options here, almost all of the fight scenes are worthy. But I have to go with the introduction of The Wolf. His entire sequence is a masterclass in how to set up a character’s motivations, and it’s stylish as hell. It gives what could be a small character SO much detail.

Catch The Fair One – The Kidnapping

It’s so naturally done. There’s no dramatic music leading up to it. It’s unexpected and shocking. There are a lot of choices in this though; the missing person group was also up there for being chosen

Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness – Illuminati

Gloriously vicious and violent. Plus it really shows how dangerous a character she is.

Fall – Ladder Break

A moment of incredible tension that truly shook up the audience in the screen I was in.

Nope – SNL

The fact that Jupe can only relive the trauma through an SNL skit says so much about him. That level of denial explains so much about his character, and why he does what he does. It’s one of those scenes which only gets better the more you think about the implications of it.

The Batman – Flood Saving

When he goes to save a group of people, they flinch away from him. Genius. It shows how his use of fear to keep order needs to be balanced with providing hope.

Thor: Love and Thunder – Relationship Montage

The Thor/Jane Foster romance is one that hasn’t really been well received in the MCU, with the whole thing feeling a bit flatand unnecessary. This saved it. It made the relationship feel real, and it meant you actually felt the heartache that Thor was going through.

You Are Not My Mother – Dance Scene

It has a really intense energy. I don’t see how they could have done that scene any better, the most perfect way. Also a great piece of dynamic storytelling and character-building.


Everything Everywhere All At Once – Googly Eyes On A Rock

Again, a lot of options. So many of the fight scenes are incredible. But I have to go with something simpler, a scene of a silent conversation between two rocks. Even remembering it brings me to tears.

Worst Moment

Scream – Billy

The hallucinations of him are something that hasn’t really been a theme in the Scream series (outside of a brief few moments in the third one), so it just doesn’t feel like a tonal fit.

Clerks 3 – Ending Credits

Kevin Smith narrates over the credits, explaining what happened to the characters afterwards. Feels incredibly lazy and last minute.

Elvis – MLK death

Trying to tie the assassination of MLK into Elvis’s career feels really cheap and unnatural.

The Lost King – Ghost Clue

They changed a lot about the character, but I don’t think it’s particularly a big secret that in real life, the character had more to go on than “a ghost told me where he was buried”.

The Phantom Of The Open – Dream Sequence

Completely unnecessary and a bit stupid. Almost embarrassing to watch.

Firestarter – “It’s different for us”

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. It takes a lot for a scene of a simple conversation to be nominated for this, the scene is so bad that it managed it.

Morbius – Falling Fight Scene

It’s an incomprehensible mess. A basic necessity of a fight scene is you should be able to tell what’s going on. This is just a blob of grey falling down from a great height.


Avatar: The Way Of Water – The Entire Third Act

Not needed. When I saw it at the cinema the start of the final action scene caused a noticeable reaction, and not a good one. It was like the air had been sucked out of the room. If it was a live gig people would have thrown bottles of piss. 

Best Opening


It automatically gets the audience asking questions, and kind of horrifies them too. It also sets up the reveal beautifully. There are some flaws in how this film approaches mystery and questions, but the set up is incredible.

The Batman

Instantly sets up this universe as being something different from what we’ve seen before. It feels like every time we get a new Batman movie it’s advertised as “this is dark and gritty”, but this is the first time it feels truly earned. It’s genuinely disturbing and sets up the tone better than any other opening could have.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Mainly because it automatically answered the question everybody was going to ask, and did it in a respectful and dignified way.


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

You Are Not My Mother

A baby in a pram in the middle of the 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.

Broadcast Signal Intrusion

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.


Halloween Ends

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 kid’s fault), but the town still blames him. The film never gets close to this level of small-town paranoia and fear again.

The Whale (2022)

Quick synopsis: Charlie, a reclusive obese English teacher wants to reconnect with his teenage daughter for a last chance at redemption.

There have been some negative reactions to this film, so I’ll address them first. The portrayal of an obese character has caused some issues, with some describing it as dehumanising. The director, Darren Aronofsky has defended his work, saying that when obese characters are portrayed in media, it’s normally as a joke. We’re encouraged to laugh at them, to mock them. I’ll give him credit, this doesn’t do that. We’re not supposed to laugh at Brendan Fraser’s character, which is a nice change. The trouble is, instead of laughing, it does kind of feel like the film wants us to be utterly disgusted by him instead. Is revulsion better than laughter? Maybe it just wasn’t the right film for Aronofsky to make, he has a habit of making things ugly, and for a film like this it is a bit uncomfortable. Especially when he plays music that’s akin to a horror soundtrack when Charlie stands up. He also makes sure to add lots of sound effects when he eats, making it seem as gross an act as possible. It may be eye-opening towards the subtle abuse that people go through, but it sure as hell is not shown through a sympathetic lens.

It’s a shame about the tone as otherwise, it is a fine movie. The performances are great all the way through. Fraser has been getting a lot of plaudits, and rightfully so, his performance is heartbreaking. He gives the character so much sadness and despair just with everyday life. Sadie Sink is an odd case as I’m not sure whether her performance was inconsistent, or her character was. Still, she’s a teenager so inconsistency is to be expected. The best part of Sadie Sink is her physical resemblance to the actress who plays her mother. Throughout I thought the mother would go unseen, but there was a small part of me thinking “this girl looks a lot like Samantha Morton”. So the fact that Morton then appears as the mother is something I certainly appreciated, although I can never get past how much she looks like one of my friends.

Personally, I think Hong Chau is the real star of the show, mainly because she’s the only character who seems real. Everybody else feels slightly overwritten and like characters in a film. Her character is played off completely straight, with no stereotypical manners or behaviour. She’s the smallest physical presence but has the largest screen presence. The discrepancy between her performance and the quality of the film is nowhere near as big as it was in Downsizing, and I hope she now gets the attention she deserves.

Here’s the thing, I know this is a good film. I know everybody involved is brilliant and is hard to criticise. But it’s just such a difficult film to actually enjoy. And the characters are so cruel to each other at times that it’s hard to take much enjoyment in the darkness. It’s just not something I will ever want to watch again. If it resented its main character less then it would be more tolerable, as it is, it’s the equivalent of a 20-minute prog rock song that lacks a killer hook. The hook/fish/whale thing was inadvertent, but f*ck it, make your own joke involving it.

Puss In Boots: The Last Wish (2022)

Quick Synopsis: Puss in Boots discovers that his passion for adventure has taken its toll when he learns that he has burnt through eight of his nine lives. 

I like the Shrek films, but that’s it. The first is a very entertaining film, but they’ve suffered a weird identity crisis since then. It’s only natural, the first one was a parody of fairy-tale stories, mocking the tropes and cliches that they contain. But after it was a success, the franchise became the very thing it was initially parodying. It still made jokes about the tropes, but it was doing it from a place of now being part of the club. There hasn’t been a new entry in the main franchise since 2010, probably because of the poor reception to the fourth one. Most of the people who enjoyed the first ones are now adults with jobs, bills to pay, and a favourite ring on the hob (Bottom Right, btw). So is there really any desire for this, especially one from the director of The Croods: The New Age?

The opening doesn’t fill you with confidence, a standard fairy-tale opening about wishes. You’d be forgiven for expecting that you won’t so much watch this, as suffer through it.

Then something happens; Puss In Boots dies. It’s okay, as he’s a cat so he has 9 lives. Well, HAD 9 lives, and he now has one. This kicks off the main theme of the film, one that’s obviously perfect for a kid’s film: Existential dread.

It does an excellent job of displaying that dread, it’s probably helped by one of the best pieces of sound design I’ve ever heard. That sound is genuinely haunting, and wouldn’t be out of place in a horror film.

Also wouldn’t be out of place in a horror film; the villains in this. Anybody who played The Wolf Among Us knows what you can do when you take fairy-tale villains seriously (as opposed to what people usually mean when they say “adult fairy-tale characters” which just involves dressing them in sexual clothing and giving them tattoos). Goldilocks and the Three Bears as a crime family makes all the sense in the world. The true villain is Jack Horner, the characterisation of him is one of the most horrific adaptations you can make. I don’t say that lightly, this film is shockingly dark at times. A good example of this is when a plant eats someone. It doesn’t just do a “plant goes nom, the person disappears”, the plant leaves a skeleton. He also shoots his own men with a unicorn horn that causes them to explode.

It could be argued that the villains are TOO good. There are three separate villain stories here, and all of them are worthy of a lot of time and exploration, but because they’re all in the same film they occasionally fight for space. It does lend the film a slight manic energy that’s reminiscent of It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World (or for modern audiences; Rat Race), but that doesn’t happen enough.

The action set-pieces are unique, especially when they take place in the middle of ever-changing landscapes and everything flows together in a manner that reminds me of Spider-Man Into The Spider-Verse. Some of them could be improved slightly, there are a few too many elastic physics moments that pull you out slightly, but it does mostly work.

The voice cast is pretty good, with some returning from previous films, and some new. The only small quibble is that Florence Pugh and Olivia Colman sound quite similar at times. It’s weird to hear Ray Winstone in a kid’s film, but it works for the character. Harvey Guillen as Perrito was an inspired choice, meaning a character that could be annoying is actually lovable as hell. Mulaney does what he needs to as Jack Horner, but he’s definitely not the highlight.

So yeah, go see this, it’s much better than you’d think it would be. Just leave about 20 seconds before the end so you avoid the disappointing sequel hook.

The Pale Blue Eye (2022)

Quick Synopsis: Detective Augustus Landor investigates a series of grisly murders with the help of a young Edgar Allan Poe

I suppose it had to happen. I’ve had a run of really good films so far, with every single one worth watching again. So I suppose it’s inevitable that eventually I’d get a film I didn’t like in 2023. It’s a shame, but this is probably the longest I’ve been into a year before that happened. Also, the first Netflix film I watched this year which just goes to show something, I’m not sure what, though.

So why doesn’t this work? It should, it has a really stacked cast. Look at the names involved: Christian Bale, Toby Jones, Timothy Spall. What connects those names? All British. The film location? 1830’s New York. Which (and I’ve checked a map), is not Britain. I get sometimes actors play different nationalities, and it’s usually not a big deal. But for this many members of the cast to not be American feels a bit weird. This could have been a great showcase for young American talent. The biggest non-British performer is Gillian Anderson, and she’s almost British as she’s spent large portions of her life here. Just to check, America still has actors, right? Or are they just depending on comedians now?

At times it’s beautiful. The location lends itself well to stylistic shots of landscapes, and it suits a story like this. The director, Scott Cooper, also directed Antlers, which you may remember I was not a fan of. And if you don’t remember, here’s the link anyway, warning, I do go off on a weird tangent for……well pretty much all of it.

The other issue? It’s hard to get through. Not because of content or strangeness, but because at times it is painfully dull. Ultimately, it comes down a poor script. It doesn’t know what kind of film it wants to be. Does it want to be a gothic horror? A murder mystery? The most annoying thing about the script is how much it fumbles what should be the highlight. The reveal of the murderer towards the end. One, the things that needed to happen are a little hard to believe. There are so many coincidences and weird character decisions. The scene showing the reveal isn’t even exciting. It tells you who the murderer is, then explains the motives, then shows you the murders in flashbacks. We didn’t need a scene of them killing people or approaching them, we know it happened, and we gain nothing from a barely lit shot of someone punching someone and shouting “who else was there?” at someone.

It’s a shame as I really wanted to enjoy this, I was hoping the Poe thing would give the film a sense of intelligence and darkness, as it is, you could replace Poe with anybody and it wouldn’t change the plot much at all.