Escape Room (2019)

I love the premise of this. The idea that an escape room actually being a torture device that tests people’s wits and logical thinking? I love that! I did not love this film, mainly because they don’t seem to make to the most of the actual premise. It reminded me of Saw, and not in a good way. I insulted that series a lot, but when it was good, the storytelling was superb; when it was bad, it was just a mess. This is closer to the bad. It never gets quite as messy as the Saw movies, by which I mean in terms of how bad the storytelling of those films got, not by the gore. Although more mess in this film would improve it. It is lacking in gore. I’m not a fan of needless gore, but in a horror film, it’s kind of needed. You need some form of brutality to the physical pain to make the audience feel it. I don’t just mean “you need to see lots of blood,” but if you don’t see blood, you need to make up for it through either the performances or the sound design. Sound is an element which often goes underlooked in horror films. A lot of them know you have to use music but don’t really know how to use it effectively. Most of the time when they use music and sound it’s like this:

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LOUD NOISES.

Seriously, that is at least 80% of horror films approach to sound, and it sucks. But yeah, back to the point I was making. This film could have maybe worked if it had excellent sound design, excellent performances, excellent ANYTHING really. But it’s all just so plain. Some of the rooms are pretty unique (there’s one in a bar which is a particular highlight), but that just brings me to another issue I had with it. There are multiple rooms. The point of an escape room (not the singular room, not rooms) is you’re locked into one room and there are things which don’t make sense until you see them in a new context later on. It’s about making the most of limited and confined spaces to create terror. Now THAT’S a horror movie. What this one does is constantly move from one room to another. The rooms don’t really seem to link together well in terms of spatial geography. (Seriously, I’d like to see the architectural blueprints of the building this film takes place in.) So, not only does it not really work, but it also wastes a potentially great idea. Seriously. Think about it: a horror film with multiple deaths in a closed room would be incredible because you’d have a constant reminder of the deaths. As it is, because of this, the way it changes from one room to the next, as soon as somebody dies their body disappears and is never seen again, effectively making it like a video game. If it was a singular room, then all the deaths would have a constant presence in the film, which would give you a lot more interesting shots to work with. It could be used to justify almost any stupid decision the characters make. All it would take is someone looking sadly at one of the bodies and it would justify anything as you know they’re full of fear and panic.

So, the actual rooms/puzzles themselves? They’re okay, and some are better than others. I feel this would have been better if it wasn’t done by one director. If each room had a different director, then everything would have felt truly unique. Honestly, I would have LOVED a different writer for every room, too- have them written sort of like a series, then one person comes in and makes the characters consistent between each room. Then they could have had different kinds of scares in every room. They could have one that seemed very supernatural, one that was essentially a slasher, etc. It would have made this stand out in a crowded genre. Some of the rooms are okay. As I’ve already mentioned, the bar scene stands out as a true highlight for the film in terms of aesthetic, set design (similar to aesthetic, but more how everything WORKS together, not so much how it looks), the tense nature, and the absolute GENIUS use of music. It also seemed to be the best use of lateral thinking and intelligence, much more so than in the rest of the film. (There’s a moment where a key is trapped in ice and they use their body heat to melt the ice. It’s a group which contains 4 guys, and none of them suggests pissing on the ice to melt it.) The puzzles themselves are okay, I guess. But it commits a cardinal sin for a movie dependent on people doing puzzles like this: a lot of the time the audience arrives at the conclusion WAY before the characters do. The best example of this is the second room where they have to guess a certain word. The clue is “You’ll go down in history” and there are reindeer heads mounted everywhere. It takes longer than you think it would for them to figure this out. There’s no sense of “oh! so THAT’S the answer! I never would have guessed that! That’s so smart! Colour me impressed!” It’s just “well, obviously that’s the answer.” The disappointment continues to the ending, where we find out that the reason they’re all here is that *surprise* rich people are betting on them. Sigh. I know, rich sociopaths are awful, but you know what else is awful? Formulaic endings which would have been considered bland in the ’90s. It’s a secretive group which builds a high-tech building and kills people whilst watching them from a set of cameras at all times. OF COURSE it’s rich people, and of course they’re doing it to gamble, and of course, the audience realises this about 20 minutes in.

I do feel the performances need to be pointed out though, they’re pretty good. Taylor Russell could lead a Netflix drama series easily, Logan Miller would be a great “main characters best friend” in a sitcom (or just take the roles which TJ Miller won’t get any more due to him being TJ Miller), and I want to see more of Nik Dodani. It’s also great to see Tyler Labine in more stuff, although it does make me want to watch Tucker And Dale Vs. Evil. In fact, I think I will do that, I loved that film.

So in summary, I wanted this film to be smarter and it kind of frustrates me that it’s not. I’m not mad, I’m disappointed.

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How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)

Hot damn this film looked good. There’s one moment where the characters are on a beach, making indentations in the sand, and you can almost FEEL the sand, it’s that beautifully animated. That doesn’t quite make up for the script though. It has its moments, but it feels incredibly generic. Unless this is the first film you’ve ever seen you will know exactly what’s going to happen before it does. This is not helped by the villain; who is incredibly unremarkable to the point where he’s forgettable. This is probably also due to how much of the time he spends off-screen, and when he’s not on-screen the shadow of him doesn’t really hang over the film. The main focus of the film isn’t the villain, it’s the female version of Toothless. It seems like the villain is just a method to get to THAT story, rather than the other way around. And the Toothless/Light Fury romance isn’t quite sweet enough to wash away the cynical feeling that it was geared towards toy sales (and yes, I know it was probably in the books first, but meh).

So all of that builds up to what is undoubtedly the weakest movie in the trilogy. The first one was REALLY good, the second one was also very good, and a worthy continuation of the series. This one? It just doesn’t have that inexplicable magic that the first two had. There’s something missing and that stops it being great, and means it’s just good. The ending is pretty great though. I hope it’s the ending anyway. I’d be incredibly disappointed if there’s a sequel to this as the ending to this provides perfect closure to the series as a whole. Maybe that’s my problem with it, it doesn’t seem like a series, just a sequence of films. There’s a few moments of connectivity between the films but they don’t really feel like they’re related. A lot of the characters are exactly the same as they have been throughout. If there was a sequel to this and someone watched that one, but missed out this one, there’s nothing they’d be surprised by. There’s no “wow, that character really changed in that movie I missed”.

I did like this movie, more than this review makes it seem. But put it this way; I don’t have the first one on DVD, and I do occasionally feel like my DVD collection is missing it. My collection will definitely not miss this. Also, the main characters looks way too much like Jake Gyllenhaal at the end.

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Also, I can’t help this but whenever I hear the title to this series I sing it to the tune of Paint Your Wagon

2018 Film Awards

The “Well I Liked It” Award

Gringo

I don’t get the hatred for this. The story was solid and the performances were great. It also looked fantastic. I could understand people thinking this film is just “okay”, but to score as low as it has genuinely confuses me and I don’t get it. I feel part of it is due to the (lack of) marketing which put the idea that this isn’t a good film in peoples heads.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 38%

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Best Scene/Moment

Blackkklansman – The Montage

I’ve touched upon it before but the closing montage is amazing and is one of the most devastating moments of the year. It really puts forward the idea that we, as a species, are kind of fucked up.

Deadpool 2 – Deadpool “fixes” things

That was hilarious and wrong and I loved it. It proved why Ryan Reynolds is the correct choice for Deadpool (as if there’s any doubt of that now) because he’s that willing to make fun of himself and admit his past superhero film mis-steps.

Game Night – Egg Keepaway

Was pretty much done as a one-shot, very well done and the scene made geographical sense in terms of what you saw about the layout of the house.

Creed II – The Of The Fight

It made me feel emotion for a complete bastard. I loved it.

Infinity War – The Snap

Possibly. I didn’t think they’d be crazy enough to actually fucking do it. Now let’s see how they handle the next step.

Hereditary – Charlie’s Death

Mainly because it came out of left-field and was so brutal and unexpected it literally inspired the words “what the cocking shit-fuck was that?” to be put in a blog. It side-footed almost everybody who saw it.

Winner

Halloween – Michael Myers Goes Through Houses

A brilliant piece of film-making. He just goes through houses killing people. He doesn’t do it in a flashy way, with lots of jump cuts and scary sound effects. He just casually walks in, stabs, walks on to the next house. It’s a great display of a serial killer being effective as you could hope for in cinema. It’s like he’s not killing out of hatred, but because he just feels like it.

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Worst Scene/Moment

Co-Winners

Truth Or Dare – The Ending

Obvious sequel hook is obvious. And it made the main characters seem like completely selfish dicks. Effectively the ending is “I will massacre millions of innocent people” and this is seen as “sweet”. Nah, it’s sociopathic.

Show Dogs – The grooming scene

The only film in this blog that i haven’t actually seen. But it has a scene which features someone telling the main character that if someone in authority is fondling his genitals he should just be quiet and go to his happy place until it’s over. Not to escape it, or to stop it, but simply to put up with it. What a fantastic message to send to children.

Biggest Disappointment

Downsizing

Okay, I don’t know exactly what I expect from this film but I know one thing, I expected SOMETHING. This was just really dull. It’s over two hours long and every minute of it drags like someone learning to swim through treacle. Important characters are just forgotten about. It has moments where it looks like it’s going to tell an interesting story but then backs away. There are a hundred different stories you could tell with this scenario, and this decides to tell none of them.

Red Sparrow

I like a great spy drama as they usually have great plotting and look amazing. They also usually are technically brilliant, a chance for directors to really show what they can do. This didn’t do any of that. It did nothing. It was flat, lifeless, and worst of all, dull. I never cared for the characters (which is a minor problem), and I didn’t care for the plot (which is a major problem). How disappointing was it? Put it this way; if I fell asleep half way through, I wouldn’t have checked wikipedia to see what I missed.

Winchester

It’s a horror movie with Helen Mirren, how could this not be great? *watches it* oh, that’s how.

Truth Or Dare

I do love a good teen horror as they’re usually pretty funny and well-done. This was not. The story was so boring and the characters were so annoying I was actively rooting for them to die. Most of them did, but you couldn’t get any satisfaction from their deaths as they were so heavily sanitised there was catharsis. Also, the ending reveals one of the characters to be a selfish bitch, and obviously sets up for the sequel. Ultimately this is one of the worst films I’ve seen of the year.

The Cloverfield Paradox

I don’t know why I was surprised by this. The second one was a disappointment too. But I thought this one would be different. It had a more obvious connection and had Chris O Dowd. But nope, still made a bland story that isn’t as smart as they think it is.

Winner

The Happytime Murders

I wanted this to be incredibly funny, crude, and, most importantly, made with love. This was just really dull. They didn’t even really make the most of the gimmick. They just used it really to make “puppets swearing is funny” jokes. It’s not just that this film is not great, or that it’s not even good, it’s actively bad and I genuinely didn’t expect that. A crushing wave of disappointment hit me relatively early on and never stopped. It’s a shame as a puppet-noir comedy would be great. It it was done well.

Funniest Film

Nominated

Game Night

I expected this to be thoroughly okay, yet I loved it. Yes, some of the laughs are in the trailer, but most of them that are then lead to something even funnier, or are funnier in context. I was laughing my ass off through some of the dialogue in this, and the physical comedy. It’s a great comedy of errors which can be difficult to pull off without annoying the audience.

I Kill Giants

It’s not funny continuously, but when it is funny it’s HILARIOUS (see also, Lady Bird).

Blockers

This film was filthy! And all the better for it. This would not have worked if it was heavily sanitised for a younger audience, the crudeness makes it. Plus, I’ve said it before and I WILL say it again, it’s refreshing to see a gynocentric teen sex comedy. It helps that it is REALLY funny with dialogue that’s endlessly quotable dialogue. This could have been forgettable, in the end it was memorable.

Winner

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Deadpool 2

This film could be 90 minutes of somebody punching a kitten in the face, and the ending tag will still cause me to list it in one of the funniest films of the year. Okay, I am a sociopath but the point still stands. You spend so much time laughing here you miss jokes, which you then get the second time.

Scariest Film

Blackkklansman

Not a horror film, no, but that closing montage is fucking terrifying.

Halloween

This film made Michael Myers scary again. And showed why Jamie Lee Curtis is awesome. But it would have been for naught if it wasn’t actually a scary film itself. And it is. Everything about it works to create a classic horror film.

The Cloverfield Paradox

I’m a big fan of body horror when it’s done right, very few things can beat it. There are a few moments in here which are incredibly creepy and disturbing. It would have been creepier on a big screen though.

Ghost Stories

This wasn’t “something’s coming to get you!” scary. This was more “unending dread and feeling that something is not quite right” scary. It’s just so damn, “off” throughout. You constantly have the feeling that something weird is happening and you’re not entirely sure what. It keeps you on edge throughout and means you can never really get comfortable.

Winner

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A Quiet Place

Now this is “something’s coming to get you” scary. This wins this award for the effect it had on the audience. Everybody watching it is too scared to make any noise. The thing is, I’m not entirely sure the audience is aware of it. They just know not to make any noise during the screening. It’s a horror film which affects behaviour. Much like how Jaws made people scared of sharks, Psycho made people scared of showers, and Truth Or Dare made people scared of spending money on cinema tickets in case they see a film as bad as that again.

Best Animated/Children’s Film

Nominated

Early Man

By the team behind Wallace and Gromit, so you know you’re not going to get something bad. Aardman rarely make anything that’s not a lot of fun. They may lack the emotion of Pixar, but they’re more enjoyable a lot of the time. Not as good a film as Coco, but probably a better kids film.

Goosebumps 2

Horror is a genre which is difficult to aim towards kids, yet when it works it’s absolutely wonderful. Kids don’t mind being slightly scared, it’s why Scooby Doo works (and is probably most kids introduction to most of the staple horror movie icons; Frankenstein, Dracula etc). So I’m glad this film worked as it shows there’s life in the genre and will hopefully inspire more.

Isle Of Dogs

This one is here purely based on the animation. If I found out a kid liked this I’d assume that they’re actually an adult pretending to be a kid. It’s just too, I dunno, Wes Anderson-ey for kids I think. The animation is f*cking superb though. It looks absolutely breathtaking.

Spider-man: Into The Spider-Verse

Weirdly animated, there’s been nothing else which looks like this in a while. It’s not quite a comic book come to life, but it’s very reminiscent of the style. The story is also great, teaching kids about multi-verse theory is not something a lot of films do. The voice acting is also great with some weirdly a-list cast members in somewhat minor roles (although I am disappointed Spider-Ham wasn’t voiced by Jon Hamm).

The Incredibles 2

I watched this on a plane and still loved it (most of it anyway, the guy sitting next to me was about 40 seconds ahead of me watching the same film and it annoyed me as I’d never win that race). A great mix of satire, slapstick, and superhero greatness. And it looks amazing.

Winner

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Coco

Obviously, I was going to mention this. It’s Pixar, and I love Pixar. They’re seemingly incapable of making non-great films (when they don’t involve cars). This film is so great that it almost seems like an insult putting it in this category. This is not just great for animated film, this is a great film full stop. Emotionally engaging, funny, and beautiful to look at.

Best Film To Look At

Nominees

Game Night

Only for the moments where they made real houses look like game pieces. A subtle touch that was not necessary, but I loved it, it showed dedication to the craft.

Coco

The colours! Never has death looked so pretty. It’s the cinematic equivalent of looking through a kaleidoscope. I’m not 100% certain but I think you could enjoy this film with the sound off, just enjoying the visuals of the whole thing.

Mortal Engines

Purely for the genius in the set design.

Hotel Artemis

This film was beautiful in its ugly nature. It was dirty and grimy and felt like if you touched it you could catch something. It was brilliant.

Ready Player One

Not so much for the quality of the visuals, but for the amount of shout-outs and hidden references they crammed in in the background and didn’t draw your attention to.

Shape Of Water

A film you don’t so much watch, as absorb. A simply beautiful piece of cinema.

Spider-man: Into The Spiderverse

The animation for this made my eyes water with joy. So smooth, so distinct, and so…..right.

Winner

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Black Panther

The Afrofuturism look to Wakanda was SUPERB. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like this before. Marvel have had some criticism for their films but they seem to have a knack for picking the right director for a lot of their stuff lately. The film Ryan Coogler directed before this? Creed. Which, yeah, was GREAT, but in a completely different universe from this one, needed a different skill set so it was a risky move, but one that paid off.

Best Actor

Nominees

John Krasinski – A Quiet Place

“I love you, I have always loved you” scene alone would get him nominated for this. This film proves he’s more than just “Jim from The Office”. I think viewers of that show knew he was good, as that had a lot of emotional moments that reduced people to tears. But I don’t think many people expected him to be THIS good. A great performance, in a film that deserves it.

Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody

Playing Freddy Mercury is not something that’s easy to do. He had a certain other-worldness to him that a lot of people can’t pull off. You need to have the charisma so that if someone saw you walking through the street they’d know they are somebody. He doesn’t quite manage it all the time but gets so damn close you can’t help but admire it.

Woody Harrelson – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

He got nominated for a lot of awards because of this, and there’s a good reason for that, he was great in it. Playing the role with a great mix of sadness and anger that won’t be a surprise to anybody who saw his work in War For The Planet Of The Apes. In the last few years, he really seems to have found his niche as an emotionally conflicted actor, and this is one of the best examples of it you’re likely to see.

Michael B.Jordan – Creed 2

I was tempted to put him in for Black Panther instead, his performance in that almost overshadowed the main character, but a lot of that was also down to superb writing. A lot of performers I feel could have done that and made the character work. This, this had to be him. His facial acting is great. There’s one moment in particular which stands out. He’s arguing with Rocky and says something incredibly harsh, just by his facial performance you can tell that he regrets saying it but is too proud to apologise.

Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

It must have been so easy to play this for laughs. To make this character a one-note joke. For him to turn this character into one of the most compelling characters of the year deserves acclaim, luckily he achieved that with the number of awards he got nominated for/won for this role. It’s odd to me how when discussions of great actors are bought up, people don’t mention Sam Rockwell anywhere near as much as they should. Seriously, watch Moon, that film is basically him acting alongside himself for the entire duration, and it works wonderfully.

Paul Whitehouse – Ghost Stories

I’m not saying this is the best performance of the year, but it’s so notable that I felt it needed to be mentioned. I mainly know him from comedies, yet seeing him in this makes me wish he did a lot more drama. I could definitely see him doing work in the theatre.

Winner

Doug Jones – The Shape Of Water

There are two things which make it hard to give a great performance: 1) not being able to speak. 2) being under heavy makeup. Imagine how hard it must be if you do both? How he managed to do this I have no idea, but he created an absolutely compelling character with his performance here. Turning someone who visually is like the creature from the black lagoon into something lovable. Humans are essentially sociopaths who find it hard to feel empathy for those who aren’t like “them”, this is why it’s so easy for the press to demonise immigrants and people they deem “others”, because of a complete lack of empathy. So for us to feel this much for something that we know isn’t even of the same species is something truly incredible. Now all we need to do is get The S*n to go fuck itself.

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Best Actress

Nominees

Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

She is amazing in this. Turns what could be a hateful character into one you can’t help but root for, even when she’s doing terrible things. Nominated for Academy Award, and it’s almost impossible to argue with that. A great mix of fantastic storytelling, and simply superb performance.

Jodie Foster – Hotel Artemis

Because she’s Jodie Foster and you almost forget just how incredibly she is when she wants to be, and she clearly wants to be in this. Every part of her body is acting in this, even the way she walks tells a story. She knows her stuff, and it show.

Millicent Simmonds – A Quiet Place

A great performance, and hopefully leads to more deaf people being cast in films. Acting is a decidedly able-bodied job for some reason, casting directors would rather cast an able-bodied actor and put them in a wheelchair, than cast someone who’s in a wheelchair. It’s odd and makes no sense. But what does make sense is the sentence “Millicent Simmonds was AMAZING in A Quiet Place, I wonder what she’ll do next” (not the most subtle segue back, but meh, I’m taking it). The emotion she portrays in this film can bring tears to your eyes. She doesn’t have the easiest job this year, but she does it, and does it well.

Sally Hawkins – The Shape Of Water

Yet another strong performance by someone whose character could not speak. As such you lose all vocal nuance and subtleties, yet she still provides one of the most emotional performances you’re likely to see. I don’t often agree with film awards (I still maintain that Shakespeare In Love is not an Oscar-worthy movie in any aspect), but the plaudits and acclaim she got for this have been well deserved.

Hong Chau – Downsizing

Yeah, I was not a fan of the film. But her acting in this was brilliant and it’s criminal that she wasn’t even nominated for an Academy Award. The best way to describe her performance is she’s like a flower made of iron. You feel an urge to protect it despite how strong it obviously must be.

Winner

Toni Collette – Hereditary

Obviously this was going to be mentioned. And with good reason. Her performance is potentially game-changing for horror films as it means “well it’s just a horror” isn’t going to be an acceptable defence of bad performances. This is one of the only horror films I’ve seen lately where I’m genuinely surprised it didn’t get Oscar nomination. It definitely deserved it.

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Best Character

Lady Bird (played by Saoirse Ronan) – Lady Bird

Some people will find her annoying, I found her endearing. Yes her dialogue was a bit too “written” at times but I didn’t care, I enjoyed her that much.

Barbara Thorson (played by Madison Wolfe) – I Kill Giants

Spiteful, bitter, and sarcastic. What’s not to love? Also she gave me some of my favourite bits of dialogue of the year. It’s great because she started of as a real force to be reckoned with but as the film went on you saw her vulnerabilities and sadness. Most adult characters aren’t written as well as this.

Harold Soyinka (played by David Oyelowo) – Gringo

A film which nobody seemed to see last year, which is a shame as it’s a real hidden gem of 2018. Some of that is down to the MASTERFUL plotting, but most of it is down to just how damn likeable the main character is. A character who is shaped by his events with a definitive arc that seems real and human. A lesser actor would have made you pity him and view him as kind of pathetic. The way Oyelowo plays him, however, you’re with him all the way, it’s brilliant to watch.

Winner

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Killmonger (played by Michael B. Jordan) – Black Panther

It’s no secret that Marvel has struggled to make compelling villains. Most of the time they’ve just gone with “The hero, but bad!”. They’ve got slightly better lately; Vulture and Ego, in particular, were impressive, Hela, not so much. Killmonger, however, was utterly compelling. A great villain is one that you kind of agree with. Ones that you listen to them and you can see why they have people follow them. It makes them seem better characters so they have a bigger impact. This character is so compelling, and so, well, right, in his believes that you sort of feel like joining him yourself. You know who he reminded me of? Steve “Leopard” Leonard from The Saga Of Darren Shan books. A character motivated by hate who has done awful things, but his death still shocks you and makes you tearful as you feel he was never really in control of his own destiny.

Best Film

Nominees

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Not a nice story, but a very, very good one. Everything about this film just works. The script, the performances, everything. It’s not perfect, but the things I didn’t like about it are mainly just personal preferences. This is not an easy film to criticise, it’s the kind of film that could change you when you watch it. It’s ugly, but beautiful.

Coco

One of the first films I saw this year, and as soon as I saw it I thought “I should just stop going to the cinema now”, I feared that everything else would seem mediocre after watching this. This is Pixar at their emotionally devastating best.

Halloween

It stopped Michael Myers being considered a lumbering idiot. It essentially had to redo decades of mistakes. It did that, and then some.

A Quiet Place

A masterpiece of film-making. Scary, heartwarming and with great performances. Oddly enough the sound design is great too. I went in expecting to like this, and ended up loving it.

Winner

Searching

As much as I loved the other films on this list. NOTHING came close to this. Nothing. I’m aware there’s a difference between films I love, films which are good, and films which are impressive. This is all three. Not just one of the best films of 2018, genuinely in my top 10 movies of all time.

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So, that’s it, I’ll see you next time.

Glass (2019)

This was perfectly serviceable, but that’s it. I wish this was better. I really do. It had moments of a great movie. The plot is interesting as hell and it was great to see an Unbreakable sequel, and it was always going to be interesting to see that mixed up with Split. So why doesn’t this work? I think the main issue is the script. M.Night is great at coming up with ideas and concepts, but he really needs to find a writing partner who can iron out a few of his weaknesses. Maybe even just focus them down from 10 ideas to 2. It’s great to see Anya Taylor-Joy in anything, but her characterisation doesn’t really make much sense in this film considering what happened to her in the last one. It would be like if the Halloween sequel had Laurie Strode set up a shrine to Michael Myers. It doesn’t ring true and is kind of problematic.

That’s not my biggest issue with the script. Surprisingly my biggest issue isn’t even the obligatory twist ending (although I will go into that later on. You know what? Fuck it, I’ll go into it now. There are two twists, one is that James McAvoy’s character was killed in the train crash in Unbreakable. We already knew he died in a train crash, so everybody guessed it was the same one. The other twist is that Sarah Paulson’s character turns out to be evil, an ending which was figured by, I dunno, EVERYBODY who watched the trailer), no, the real problem is one that someone reading it really should have fixed. Most of the movie is about Sarah Paulson’s character convincing the main 3 that they are not extraordinary, and are in fact just normal members of the public with delusions. That the metal they bent was severely weakened etc. This would be a unique arc for a superhero film, if it wasn’t the third film. As it is, we’ve already seen what they can do, so we know they have powers. So it just seems like a massive waste of time. That wouldn’t matter if the story was compelling, but it’s incredibly dull with some quite bad dialogue. Actually the dialogue is a constant problem here as it doesn’t so much ignore the “show, don’t tell” theory, as talk it into submission. Almost every character explains their motives, explains their feelings, and (worst of all), explains the differences between this and a normal superhero story.

Also, the ending is kind of a damp squib. I feel the same way I felt after watching Unbreakable, disappointed at what I just saw, but really excited about what happens next. Which is good for the sequel, but bad for this films chances of me ever watching it again.

I do have to point out though that the idea is pretty good, McAvoy is the highlight of it (putting much more effort than Bruce Willis does, and is given more to do than Samuel L. Jackson), and the fact that M.Night self-funds his film is incredibly admirable. I just wish he spent more time fine-tuning the scripts.

Stan & Ollie (2019)

I recommend you see this movie, but with one caveat. It’s about one of the most famous comedy duos of told time, so you expect this to be highly comedic, right? That’s the wrong approach to this, go in expecting a drama and you’ll be fine. It took a while for me to adjust to that mindset, so for about half the film I was disappointed, then there was a scene in a hotel lobby of the two of them having an argument, a really heavy one. Not in terms of shouting and screaming, but in terms of the pure emotion on display. At that point a switch in my head was turned on and I got it. From that point on I enjoyed it a lot more. I get the feeling they used artistic license with history at some moments, but not too many. It seemed relatively honest. By which I mean it made them seem like dicks at times, it admitted they were not perfect individuals or ones who had just suffered misfortunes, but were in fact sometimes the cause of their own misfortunes. I like when biopics do that (for a great example of this, watch Get On Up, the film about James Brown which seems to veer from loving warm tales to a full-on character assassination depending what scene you’re watching).

I will admit to having never scene any Laurel And Hardy, but now I want to. I want to see how accurate their depictions are of them. I’ve heard people say they were spot on imitations, but I can’t really comment on that, all I can comment on really is the story, which was great. It was almost like a love story. Well, it is a relationship story, essentially. We see them at their best, and at their worst. When their wives join them it completely changes the interplay between them, for the better. The wives’ interactions with each other are delightful, in a cringey way. The pair throw pointed barbs at each other all the time, some subtle, some not, and they provide some of the best laughs of the film. It also provides the backdrop of one of the biggest heartwarming moments near the end. A moment which will make you think “oh no, don’t do that” but then be very glad they did.

The big downside is the pacing is a bit slow at times. And we’re not really shown enough background about them. But that is minor, this isn’t a film about Laurel and Hardy, this is a film about a very specific time period in their life. And that it does very well, you really get a feeling for how far they’ve fallen.

This film is very good, but it lacked that something that made it great. If it’s the best film I see all year I won’t consider this a good year, but if it’s the worst film I see all year then 2019 is going to be great.

2018 In Film Part 5: The Amazing

Right, you can probably guess what I thought about these films. Enough faffing about, let’s do this!

A Quiet Place

This is a film that gives zero shits about you being comfortable. It kills a child in the opening scene. I genuinely loved this film, not just because of what it was, but what it represented; an innovative idea in cinema. I hope the sequel doesn’t destroy the legacy that this one built, fingers crossed. Everything about this is superb; the performances, the look, the originality. Well worth a watch.

Original review here

+It changes how you watch cinema, you end up being an active watcher, too scared to make any noise.

-This film doesn’t work in certain conditions (I tried watching it on a plane and it just did not work at all)

Blackkklansman

This admittedly plays fast and loose with the truth, and to be honest is all the better for it. It seems to acknowledge its own falsehoods which makes it okay. At first I thought the ending went on too long, but by the time it finished I felt inspired to go fuck shit up. This is a film that will inspire you, not to make films, but to make a difference.

Original review here

+The fact it’s true.

-Some of the characters seem a bit one-note.

Black Panther

This film so damn good. First off, the villain could easily be the hero of a different movie. I think its the first Marvel film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, and it’s fully deserved. Not the Marvel film I’ve enjoyed the most, but certainly the most complete and cinematic they’ve got, and without a doubt the most culturally important.

Original review here

+The effort that went into the set and costume design.

-The CGI in the final fight scene is a bit off at times.

Blockers

I’d understand if people didn’t agree with this, if they thought it should have gone in the “good” section instead of this one. But I don’t hide that this is entirely subjective and based on personal opinion, and in my personal opinion this film was amazing. It was great to see a sex-based teen comedy from a perspective that wasn’t just teenage males. This had the teenage girl perspective, and the parent perspective. Incredibly funny and sweet, I just love it so much.

Original review here

+Geraldine Viswanathan is a star in the making (if there’s any justice)

-Some questionable music choices.

Coco

What can I say about this film that hasn’t been said already? I could say it’s bad, nobody has said that, because it would be bullshit. This film is amazing. It’s almost as emotional as Inside Out. Everything about it is just so perfectly done. It’s done with love, love for the story being told, love for the culture, and love for the medium of film.

Original review here

+It’s great at showing the love and passion people have for music.

-Might not resonate with kids due to the themes.

Deadpool 2

Is this film going to change your life? No. Does it have a great plot? No. Is the pacing great? No. Is it visually impressive? Not really. Is it INCREDIBLY fun? Yes. I actually preferred it the first one. It had a better plot, was funnier, more meta (What’s a meta? Nothing, what’s a meta with you?), and much better directed. I love the first one don’t get me wrong, but even when someone was beating the shit out of Deadpool you couldn’t really feel it. In this one, when he gets hurt, you really feel it, so even though the character is effectively unkillable, he doesn’t feel invulnerable.

Original review here

+The opening scene set to Dolly Parton’s 9-to-5 is perfection.

-Drags in some places.

Ghost Stories

Was a massive fan of this. Not really “Arghhhhhh” scary. But very “sitting behind the sofa in fear” scary. It was essentially the cinematic equivalent of reading a ghost story. Everything about it was just perfectly done. And you’ll find yourself annoyed that you didn’t guess the ending considering that really it’s the only logical way it could have ended.

Original review here

+The never-ending sense of dread.

-Some of the make-up and effects could be a bit better.

Halloween

Full disclosure. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Halloween movie. I’m aware of them, and the tropes they have, and the history of the franchise etc but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen them (I’ve seen bits of the first one when I was younger) so I wasn’t exactly going into this with the weight of the franchise on me. I wasn’t going in thinking “this will be the comeback”. That being said, this is the comeback. It’s a back to basic horror, he doesn’t set elaborate traps or depend on luck. He moves slowly and he kills things, that’s it. That’s the character. And it works in this. He is utterly terrifying as a character in this movie. People talk about how they would beat certain movie characters, you would struggle to beat this one, he’s a real force to be reckoned with. And Laurie Strode gets just as much attention as he does, which is important for horror movies. The reason I don’t like a lot of horror films is I don’t care for the characters. There is usually so much focus on the killer that the victims aren’t fleshed out so you don’t really care what happens to them. This is the opposite, if some of the characters in this died, you would feel emotionally impacted.

Original review here

+Laurie Strode is bad-ass.

-There’s one death in particular which just looks a bit silly.

I, Tonya

I enjoyed this film, and will gladly watch it again. Despite knowing the basic story of what happened, I still wanted to see how it unfolded. It’s difficult to trust it as a historical source but you’re so entertained that it doesn’t really care. The soundtrack is also great, as are the performances. I don’t think it deserved academy award nominations, but it was incredibly good.

Original review here

+The attention they took on some of the interviews to make them look dated.

-The fact that the idiot character is the only one of the main characters who is dead right now. Felt a little uneasy

I Kill Giants

Knew barely anything about this film going in, and it was on netflix so I was uneasy. I loved it though. So much. The main character was engaging, the story was heartbreaking, and Madison Wolfe continues to be great. This was going to go in the “good” one, then I remembered this.

46074284_2153545461376960_5249920125708009472_o

I cannot put a film that has THAT line in it in just the good. This film was great and I loved it. Also the unwritten rule for this blog is “Do I really NEED it on DVD?”. I got the DVD for this the day after watching it, so I guess that answers that.

Original review here

+The main character is one of the best of the year.

-Slightly too reminiscent of A Monster Calls (this is a plus for me though as I loved that film)

The Incredibles 2

This film was incredible and I loved almost every moment of it. Yes the reveal of the villain was obvious, but I didn’t care because I was so into the story. The animation as well is as great as you expect, EVERYTHING looks crisp and loaded with detail to the point you forget it’s animated at times. Also need to show love for the action scenes, they’re stunningly thought out and inventive.

Original review here

+It’s a mainstream animated film that deals with masculinity and feelings of worthlessness.

-Fourteen years! Fourteen years we waited for this!

Lady Bird

I can get why somebody would not like this film. Actually screw that, I can get why people would HATE this film. It’s not for everybody, and that’s okay. The structure is all over the place and you probably will find the character annoying. I LOVED it though. I found it was like watching a series of polaroid pictures. This film felt incredibly personal, and it will forever hold a place in my heart, I’m just not sure why.

Original review here

+The general ambience. It FELT lovely.

-Be wary of showing this film to someone as they could easily hate it.

Searching

Where did this come from? Gimmick movies usually stop being great once you see past the gimmick. And the gimmick in this was also used in Unfriended, and I hated that film. So how did this end up being one of (if not THE) greatest film I’ve seen this year? The performances were good, yes, but it’s not that which elevates it. I think it all comes down to story. The script for this is GREAT. A mystery film which takes so many twists and turns you think it’s lost. Everytime you think the answer is obvious this film tells you why you’re wrong. The ending is the only logical way the story could go, and it’s genius. Everything about it is fantastic.

Original review here

+Original concept, brilliantly done.

-As a writer it will make you intensely jealous.

The Shape Of Water

Certainly an interesting film. There is a chance you might be too weirded out by it, I mean, it’s a woman fucking a fish-creature. But it’s so full of warmth and magic that if you like it you’ll adore it. All the pieces fit together like a beautiful puzzle piece; the music, the performances, the universe its set in, it all merges together to create something truly beautiful.

Original review here

+The music. So good,

-Might be bit too weird for some.

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

An incredibly good movie. Easily matches up (and possibly surpasses) Homecoming. Emotional, funny, and written with a true love for the character and the genre. It also has one of the best soundtracks of the year. If you didn’t hear it you wouldn’t immediately think “Spider-Man”, but once you’ve seen the film you won’t be able to unmake the connection. Some films have great songs, but they don’t particularly match the film that much, and are more compilation albums than soundtracks. This is different, the songs really suit this, they seemingly transport you to a certain mood.

Original review here

+The love for the character is really obvious to see here. This was done with great affection.

-The flashing lights which happen without warning and could trigger migraines in people or cause issues for epilepsy sufferers.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

So good, so, so good, but brutal as fuck. Not in terms of violence, mainly in terms of tone. A film that makes you hate the world, but love film. Won a lot of awards and every single one of them was deserved. Featured some of the best performances of the year, and incredible dialogue which will make you laugh in spite of yourself. Well worth a watch, but prepare something nice for afterwards.

Original review here

+The natural flow of it feels incredibly realistic.

-The lack of a definitive ending may put people off.

 

So, that’s the films of 2018 ranked, the awards will be coming soon, and lets just say some will fare a lot better than others. Reviews of Stan And Ollie, and Glass will be up soon so enjoy them. Let’s hope 2019 is even better

2018 In Film Part 4: The Good

The penultimate round-up blog. In here I’m putting, get this, films, which, are, good. I know, shocking, right? I bet you never guessed that from the title. My definition of good but not great for purposes of these is this: would I consider buying if they were on sale?

Ant-Man And The Wasp

I did like this film, loved it in fact. But I don’t think it stands out on its own enough to really be called great. Rudd was fantastic, and it seems as though Marvel might have finally started to solve its villain problem. The action set pieces are insane, they do have obvious product placement but it’s product placement that doesn’t really detract from the film as it’s so well done.

Original review here

+The inventive set pieces. That ending.

-Can’t shake the feeling that it’s DLC to the main game of Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War

I know, I know. Look, this film was great, I’ll admit that. But I can’t but it in the amazeballs blog for two reasons:

  1. The ending. Until Endgame comes out, this will remain here. We know the ending won’t last, we KNOW that. We know the characters will come back, we just don’t know how. If they fuck up how they comeback, it will taint the ending of this one HORRIFICALLY. Think about when Sherlock faked his death at the end of one season, and there was a great mystery about how he did it, a mystery which they failed to explain in the next episode. The lack of resolution really tainted what was before that, a great episode. And it’s possible it could be the same here.
  2. I rewatched it on a plane and found myself skipping the Captain America parts, they just didn’t hold my attention at all.

So yeah, that’s that. Original reviews here and here

+Peter Parker’s death was emotional AF, even though you do know it’s going to be negated.

-Some of the side villains didn’t get enough time.

Bohemian Rhapsody

Okay I can feel the hate for this one. This is being nominated for more awards than I count (so at least 3) and is about one of the greatest singers of all time. It’s also REALLY well made and the performances are superb. So why is it in this blog and not the final one? Because as much as I try, I just cannot get over them lying about the timing of his diagnosis. They changed it for dramatic purposes and it just feels weird to me. They lied about the death of their friend for a movie. It taints the whole thing for me.

Original review here

+The live aid scene.

-Not entirely sure it will work on a small screen.

Creed II

Treads the same water as the first movie. But does so so skilfully that you don’t really care. If you didn’t like the first one, this won’t change your mind, but if you did like the first one, you definitely won’t dislike this. Michael J. Jordan continues to prove his performance in the first one wasn’t a one off, and shows genuine oscar-winning potential here.

Original review here

+Contains more emotion than you think it would, particularly in regards to the villains.

-The fight scenes aren’t as good as in the previous one, nowhere near.

Darkest Hour

This film wanted to be emotional, but it didn’t really work for me. I think part of that is for similar reasons to the Bohemian Rhapsody one. I knew some of it was bullshit, and that distracted me from the story they were trying to tell. I mean, it is very well made, and you can’t fault the acting. It just left me feeling nothing. Like I completely forgot I saw it until I checked the list. If the acting wasn’t as good as it was, and if it didn’t look as good as it did, this would have been in yesterday’s blog. It just made it into this one. Just.

Original review here

+Superbly acted.

-Kind of hollow.

Game Night

Nowhere near the greatest film. But I really really enjoyed it. In a just world enough people would have loved this to warrant a sequel. I mean, I hope it doesn’t as that could ruin it, but still. Actually had REALLY tight plotting as well, I’ve seen it twice and still can’t remember all the twists and turns it took. And it did it in a non-annoying way, you weren’t sitting there thinking “FFS, stop M.Nighting”. You were laughing and going along for the ride.

Original review here

+The way it was shot made some of the houses look like game pieces during establishing shots. If they did normal shots nobody would have criticised them, but the fact they went the extra mile is something I really dig.

-Little too lightweight.

Gringo

Not many of you would have seen this. And that’s a real shame as it’s a proper hidden gem of the year. Full of great performances and plotting that Red Sparrow SHOULD have had. If you pulled one thread in this plot all of it would fall apart. The characters are really well defined, and it looks great too. It just didn’t leave too lasting an impression. Like, it was great whilst I was watching it, but I could immediately discount it once I’d finished it. Rest assured though, this is probably the closest film in this blog to the “amazeballs” blog, it was just on the cusp of greatness.

Original review here

+The plotting. Seriously, it was that good.

-Missing that something that would make it great.

Hereditary

I still don’t think I’m fully over this film, it fucked me up slightly in the best possible way. It’s really weird, and it doesn’t allow you to sit back at any point, you’re always an active viewer (mainly because you have to be to work out what the fuck is going on). Superbly acted (Toni Collette now officially has to change her name to “Toni Fucking Collette” based on this film). Although I’m not sure whether pointing out how creepy one of the child actors looks counts as a compliment or bullying.

Original review here

+The way they killed off somebody who you assumed would be a main character.

-Doesn’t explain itself very well.

Hotel Artemis

Enjoyed this film a lot. The performances were great and the set design was superb. Actually the whole world-building of this film was spectacular. This film could legit kick off an extended universe. There are so many untold stories told within this film, and I love it. The downside is it doesn’t really excel in a lot of places, almost content to just skate by with mediocrity.

Original review here

+Jodie Foster. She is magnificent.

-Satire could hit harder

Ideal Home

A great film about relationships and parenting. It just veers into 90’s sitcom with the portrayal of homosexual characters. Coogan and Rudd do have surprisingly good chemistry though and I would love to see them do more things together. Considering the plaudits Coogan is getting for Stan And Ollie it wouldn’t surprise me if he ended up in a Marvel film, I mean, every other actor is.

Original review here

+Incredibly sweet at times.

-Little bit too predictable in terms of plotting occasionally.

Isle Of Dogs

Probably one of the bleakest animated films you’ll see this year. Don’t really think it’s suitable for kids, but it is very charming and worth a watch. The kind of film you’ll watch, buy it, be proud to have in your collection, but never watch. I loved it when I first saw it, but since the my opinion on it has cooled, and I’m not sure why. I think it’s because whilst it is incredibly cosy, when you’ve escaped the cocoon of the movie, it leaves no impact on you.

Original review here

+Stop motion animation will always get a pass from me.

-Wes Anderson’s style is not for everybody.

Journeyman

Paddy Considine is a national treasure. he makes the darkest most brilliant films. Not dark in a “everybody dies in the face” way, but in a “relentless horror about the human condition and humanity” way, like a social horror movie where the only death is hope. This is a great character exploration, as such it’s not for everybody who is into big blockbuster movies. But it does have an audience, and those people will love it.

Original review here

+Considine OWNS his character with every inch of his body.

-The directing of the fight scenes could be a bit more impactful.

Ready Player One

This film did something not many films manage to do, it won over my cynicism. That’s not easy to do because I’m a cynical bastard. Yet this was so warm and magical that I loved it, I really did love it. So why is it in this one and not the next one? It has a few glaring flaws, the plot is not important, the leads are only “okay”, and the world-building isn’t as good as it could be. Definitely worth a watch though, this isn’t just a movie, this is cinema.

Original review here

+Full of references and shout outs that you’ll love.

-Better world building really would have improved it. And if you think about certain moments too long the whole film falls apart.

Tag

This film is a hell of a lot of fun. And you won’t regret seeing it. But it won’t become one of your favourite movies. Oddly enough, usually I criticise films like this for lacking emotion, this has the opposite problem; it should be more fun. This would have been great as an ensemble comedy, by focusing the real life game down to just a select few it takes away the chaos and the fun.

Original review here

+Incredibly fun and Jeremy Renner is great in it.

-Should be bigger.

 

 

 

2018 In Film Part 3: The Thoroughly Okay

Okay, this one’s harder to define. A lot of the ones in this are very, very, good films. They just weren’t for me. They’re films which I admire, but don’t really feel anything for. Ones I’m very glad I’ve seen, but I don’t need to see again. As usual these have been decided by a group of people broken down by age and money (i.e. me, because nobody is more broken down by age and money than me)

Early Man

It’s done by the guys who do Wallace And Gromit, so you know it’s going to be enjoyable. The jokes are funny, but the basic plot and mediocre vocal performances let it down slightly. But I imagine kids won’t be sitting there watching it saying “well I’ve seen this story before and personally I think it was a mistake to cast famous actors in vocal performances and then get them to change their voices, very foolish from a marketing perspective”, and if a kid is sitting there saying that, they’re a twat.

Original review here

+A lot of love went into this film, you can tell it.

-Isn’t quite as smart as Aardmans usual.

The Festival

This was funny, it just didn’t mean enough. I watched it, and not too long ago, but I barely remember anything from it. I remember enjoying it whilst I watched it, and some of the jokes, but I don’t remember if it made me feel. I remember being impressed with how the director kept on scenes instead of cutting away, it wrung every inch of effectiveness out of the scenes. It also had great things to say about how you shouldn’t hold your heroes up on a pedestal, and it’s possible to do good and still be a dick.

Original review here

+Claudia O’Doherty was great.

-Really hard to imagine it being a film someone needed to make.

Finding Your Feet

Incredibly charming. But even if it’s the first film you’ve ever seen, you will feel like you’ve seen it before. It’s not a film you need to see, but when you’ve got family round on Christmas day, dinner is finished and you’re sitting around too full of food to move, no more presents to open, THIS is the film you want to put on to keep everyone entertained. People won’t love it, but people won’t hate it either. They’ll sit and watch and be entertained.

Original review here

+Great characterisation, you genuinely believe everybody here is a fully developed person.

-Paper-thin plot.

Goosebumps 2

Thoroughly okay. It’s not as good as the first one, but you wouldn’t expect it to be. But it is still a lot of fun. It continues the universe set up in the first one quite well, and sets up for a sequel.  I hope, if there’s no sequel then the mark for this gets reduced drastically (this won’t be the last time the mark for a film will be dependent on the sequel btw, just to warn you). It’s funny, the characters are likeable, and it’s hard to dislike. Also, it’s short. It never pauses for breath and you don’t feel bored with it *stares at Assassination Nation intently*

Original review here

+A lot of fun.

-Doesn’t live up to its own potential.

The House With A Clock In Its Walls

Not as good as the first Goosebumps, not even as good as the second one if I’m honest. It is kind of magical though. If I saw this as a kid I’d probably have loved it. It just didn’t really do much for me as an adult. A lot of the plot developments were dependent on characters being stupid. Which is a shame as the dialogue is not stupid, even though it is a kids film, you don’t feel insulted when you watch it as an adult, the jokes still work. It also looks great, but considering the director that’s to be expected.

Original review here

+A great film if you’re looking to introduce kids to horror.

-Not great if you’re not a kid and have seen a lot of films before.

The Meg

This is exactly what I expected it to be. It’s not the greatest film in the world, but it’s entertaining enough and gets the job done. It’s like the cinematic equivalent of a burger king. In the realm of dumb entertainment this is one of the best efforts. It’s funny, the romance sub-plot doesn’t feel forced or unbelievable, the child actor wasn’t annoying, Ruby Rose was great, and it was just insane fun. Recommended, but not highly.

Original review here

+Incredibly fun.

-Should have had more carnage. Was really held back by its rating.

The Post

This is the kind of film which awards love, yet I didn’t. It’s just too, I don’t know, bland. There’s a definitive difference between films that win awards, and films that I love. It builds up to the Meryl Streep moment well, and the performances are fine. It just felt a little hollow to me and didn’t resonate with me on a personal level. I genuinely can’t remember a single moment from this film.

Original review here

+Incredibly competent and well-made.

-Quite forgettable.

Rampage

I liked this, it was incredibly fun, and funny. But that’s all it was. it had little to no actual substance to it. Also, like a few films lately, it was held back by the rating. It has explosions instead of swear words. Because death and destruction is fine, but heaven help us we hear a “fuck”.

Original review here

+A lot of fun.

-Incredibly flat characters.

Skyscraper

See my review of Rampage? I mean, how can you not, it’s like, right above this one. Yeah, this is similar, and not just because it has the rock in it. It’s also incredibly flat with little substance. It has moments of greatness, but it’s so bombastic that it’s hard to take seriously at times.

Original review here

+Has a great scene set in a mirror room. Truly awesome to watch.

-Incredibly dumb.

Swimming With Men

Funny, but again, that’s kind of all it is. It has emotional moments but not enough. I knew nothing about it going in, didn’t even see a trailer. It’s worth watching, but don’t go out of your way to see it. Luckily you don’t need to as it’s on netflix (in the UK at least). It’s well worth watching it on that when you have nothing else to do. It’s a great way to kill time, but it won’t change your life.

Original review here

+Incredibly heartwarming.

-Misuse of Jane Horrocks.

Tomb Raider

The best of the video game films this year. Definitely has the substance which Rampage lacks. Looks professional, to the point where you wouldn’t know it was a video game, it stands up on its own merits. This is probably the best of the films in this blog, and very nearly made it into the next blog instead. The main thing that stopped it was the fact that it is only ever “good”. It never goes beyond “good”. And it doesn’t seem to try. I mean, it is the best video game movie seen in a long time, but that’s not saying much.

Original review here

+Good action set pieces

-At times a bit hard to suspend your disbelief.

Unsane

The gimmick of this film is that it was shot on an iphone. You really should know this before you see it, otherwise you’d hate it as you’d think it looks incredibly cheap and slipshod. It’s worth a watch, even if only once to reward experimentation in cinema. The performances are good, Juno Temple shines in the small moments she’s allowed to. And the story is compelling, it’s just the visual nature of it is distracting. Cinema is expensive, so when you pay that much you expect a certain level of professionalism. If this was on netflix I’d be more forgiving, but full price cinema release makes me feel a little cheated.

Original review here

+Juno Temple. Her performance is the best horror movie performance not in a horror movie.

-Distracting Matt Damon cameo.

Walk Like A Panther

Very funny. Very British. Both in a good and a bad way. It seems like it should be on ITV. It promoted itself as a love letter to British wrestling, but it didn’t seem to do any research on it and was seemingly written by people who knew nothing about the actual subject. To the point where the actual central premise doesn’t work if you know anything about the subject. British wrestling is actually in the best shape it’s been since it’s heyday, this is not opinion, this is fact. There are multiple independents doing incredibly well, and one of the major companies opened up a regional training facility and show over here. If you know that, it’s weird to take the film seriously. It would be like if you watched a film about World War 2 where the central premise is that Hitler was a Ghanian princess who was trying to get revenge on Britain for colonialism.

Original review here

+A variety of humour types in the film, so if you don’t like one joke, another will come along soon which you might.

-Feels cheap and unambitious.

2018 In Film Part 2: The Meh

The qualifier for this is somewhat more complicated than the previous one. These aren’t necessarily bad films, just films that I don’t need to see again. Mainly films that I didn’t like, but can appreciate one thing in it. So quite bad, but had a single redeeming feature that makes them slightly worthwhile as a curiosity. There’s a few here which I can see people being annoyed about are in here. So I should point out that this is nearly all personal opinion, so please don’t firebomb me.

Adrift

I appreciate what they were going for, and it is a great story they’re telling, it just wasn’t really told well enough. I think part of this is because the central romance seemed incredibly rushed for me. They fell in love incredibly quickly and I didn’t really buy it. It also lacked tension, because if a film is “based on a true story”, and the story is about someone trapped somewhere, you know they get out, otherwise who would they have told the story to?

Original review here

+Great idea, and the lengths Shailene Woodley went to to look the part are very impressive, or the make-up team did a great job on making her look half dead, one of the two.

-A romance story where the leads lack chemistry.

Aquaman

THIS is the one a lot of people will disagree with. A lot of people love this film, and I can kind of see why, it looks good, and has some very funny moments. But personally, I was bored shitless during it. I looked at my watch so much I almost got RSI in my wrist (obvious masturbation is obvious). That’s its biggest flaw, but it is quite a damn big one. I’m not even sure if it had a bonus scene mid-credits, because I left as soon as the film ended, I couldn’t be bothered to go through any more of it.

Original review here

+It looked great, and established the character as a serious hero.

-Soooooo dull. Could have lost at least 30 minutes.

Assassination Nation

Nowhere near as slick as it needed to be. The kick-ass final section is BRILLIANT. But it takes ages to get there. Props to it for having an actual trans actor in it, that doesn’t happen often enough. I feel this film could have been great, if the rest of the film matched how great the closing is, I’d love it. As it is, I feel kind of cheated.

Original review here

+THAT closing section. Also it opening with trigger warnings was pretty genius.

-The pacing.

The Cloverfield Paradox

This is let down mainly by the script and the really poor attempt to link it to the rest of the franchise. The first Cloverfield is brilliant, and it seems like nothing from the series has matched it, mainly because of the ways they’ve attempted to link them into the mythos. All of them would have worked better as unlinked original movies. What do most people talk about in this film? The final two seconds. That’s not the sign of a good movie.

Original review here

+Daniel Bruh is brilliant.

-Bad script.

Fantastic Beasts

This does not seem like Harry Potter, it seems like a cheap knock off written by somebody who has no idea about foreshadowing and legacy. It doesn’t even have the adorable nature of the first film (which, by the way, it completely disregards the ending of within about 4 minutes).

Original review here

+Looks magnificent in parts.

-THAT ending.

The Mercy

A film that I feel was let down the story structure. The fact it went from him alone, to his family, meant that you never really felt isolated like the character was. I felt it would have been stronger to have more of the focus on him. Also, it’s just not, I dunno, ugly enough. Compare it to Adrift, which I didn’t like, but you felt they were near death, you never really got that here.

Original review here

+Looks beautiful

-A bit too beautiful.

Mortal Engines

I feel like this film should have been a bigger deal. For some reason there wasn’t much marketing about it though so I don’t think it did too well. Shame as it’s incredibly inventive and the kind of thing cinema needs to do more often. So why is it in here? The pacing is all over the place, as is the tone, and the character relationships don’t really ring true. Shame as it looks SUPERB.

Original review here

+The set design. Everything looks just dirty enough to seem authentic.

-Script is kind of lacking.

Ralph Breaks The Internet

I would probably think more highly of this film if the first one wasn’t so great. The first one is amazing and is one of the best animated films that’s not Pixar of the last few years. This one? Seems incredibly lazy by comparison. It also is way to reminiscent of The Emoji Movie at times.

Original review here

+The Disney Princess scenes. Expect for them to be ruined in spin-offs.

-Never comes close to being as good as the first one.

Slaughterhouse Rulez

Again, this was probably let down by high expectations. I expected this to be one of the best films of the year. Instead it was just meh. It wasn’t as clever as it needed to be, with only one or two scenes living up to the films potential. It’s not as satirical as it should be, the public school system is ripe for satire, particularly in a horror film like this, yet it doesn’t do it. There’s also hints of a much better film in this.

Original review here

+Asa Butterfield’s character arc is a joy.

-Constantly sets up dominos it has no intention of knocking down.

The Spy Who Dumped Me

Look, I like Kate McKinnon, I really do. When she’s on form nobody can touch her. But she has a tendency to improv too much and it can get a bit grating occasionally. That’s the issue with this film, it seems way too improvised at times, scenes go on too long just for the sake of a small laugh. It doesn’t recognise that sometimes it’s best to sacrifice a small laugh if it doesn’t serve the film well enough. My other issue? The characters don’t seem to take the threat seriously at times, running around joking way too much for people in their situation. So this means we don’t take the threat seriously, so it kind of ruins any dramatic tension.

Original review here

+At times, incredibly funny.

-Too unfocused.

Teen Titans Go! To The Movies

This movie was patchy as hell. Had really funny moments, and occasionally was incredibly meta and brilliant. And other times it had a farting balloon monster who was defeated by a song. Sadly the it was about 70/30, with the 30 being brilliance. It did have a lot to like about it though, it had a love for comic book movies, which is always great, and some of the moments seem like they could be extended into truly great movies. Just a shame they waste them for 4 minute skits.

Original review here

+The funniest Stan Lee cameo in a while.

-Somewhat embarrassing to watch at times.

Uncle Drew

As far as sports movies go it was thoroughly okay. Serviceable but not the kind of film I’ll remember unless someone points it out to me. Yet I did like it whilst I was watching it, the writer and director were skilful enough to know how to wring emotion when it was needed, yet also how to bring you back to laughter. It is incredibly predictable though, and goes through almost every single sports cliche you care to mention.

Original review here

+Lil Rel Howery anchors the film. Also the fact his character is shown to be good at basketball because he practiced (rather than a natural gift) is admirable.

-Not needed, by anybody. You don’t NEED to see this.

Venom

I really wanted to enjoy this. I wanted it to distract me from life, but it couldn’t. It’s too lazy. Also, it doesn’t go hard enough, this needs to be a hard-R, and it’s PG-13. It is a great potential start though, it could lead to a great franchise, but it has to learn from the mistakes of this movie.

Original review here

+The relationship between the human and the symbiote is great.

-They kept the “turd in the wind” line in.

Widows

I really wanted to like this. I like the director, the writer, the cast, and the story seemed great. Maybe my expectations were too high because it definitely didn’t meet them. It felt emotionally hollow, some of the shots were, I hate to say this, dull. The shot construction never really added anything to the film. Also, the story was a bit, well, meh. You never felt the jeopardy, and it wasn’t even fun enough to make up for it. A real shame.

Original review here

+The performances are simply incredible.

-A twist which adds nothing to the film.

 

 

 

2018 In Film Part 1: The Bad

Okay, the title is oversimplifying it a lot. These are just films I didn’t like, some aren’t necessarily bad, but were more a victim of hype. There’s going to be a few (and I can guess which ones) which a lot of people will disagree with, but taste is subjective so here goes, if you disagree, let us know with which ones. How I chose what to go in this was simple: these are the films that even if they were on tv and I had nothing to watch, I’d unplug my television and leave the house just so I don’t accidentally watch it. Oh, and there’s plenty of spoilers, so, be wary of that. In alphabetical order because, well how the darn else would I do it?

Breaking In

I see what they were trying to do. But it didn’t really work for me. The script really let it down, as did the directing. If this was a made-for-tv movie it would have been fine, but it really lacked the finesse needed for a wide cinematic release. If I didn’t have a list, I would have completely forgot I saw this film, it left no impression on me.

Original review here

+Gabrielle Union is fantastic in it.

-It looks flat and dull. Everything looks simple. Potential for stand-out scenes, ones which really stick with you, this potential is not lived up to.

The Commuter 

Have you seen a Liam Neeson film? Then you’ve seen this. Really standard fare with nothing new to it.

Original review here

+It does what it does well.

-But you’ve seen it all before.

The Darkest Minds

Similar to The Commuter. Nothing here hasn’t been done before, and done better. I was especially disappointed by it because when I first saw the trailer I thought it was some kind of X-Men body horror film, and not only was it not that, it was this. Incredibly bland, the kind of film you forget about very quickly after leaving the cinema. The best YA movie of 2000’s (just a shame it came out in 2018).

Original review here

+The intended audience will probably love it.

-A romance story where the romance doesn’t really work

Downsizing

Oh dear this was a mess. Way too long, It doesn’t make the most of the concept. Every single choice the story takes seems to be the wrong one, and we end up following possibly the most bland character in the movie. It has a lot of potential and briefly flirts with great ideas; the idea that a government is forcibly shrinking dissidents for example is a dream for a dystopian nightmare. In this, it’s used to cause a romance plot.

Original review here

+Hong Chau. Everything about her, her performance, her character, everything about it is fantastic. Shame she’s not the main character as her story is much better than the one we actually got.

-So much wasted potential.

capture7
Although it does win the award for “most random appearance from a cast member of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

The Equalizer 2

Did you like the first one? Then you probably won’t like this tbh. You know how sometimes a film is really successful and becomes a franchise? Each film seems progressively less like the ethos of the original, and then by the fifth one it seems to just have a slight essence of the original. Like the characters are there, but the motivations are completely different and make no sense. That’s what this one is like, like the 4th sequel to a film.

Original review here

+The sound editing. Weird thing to praise but just like the first one, it’s superb in that department.

-Waaaaay too many sub-plots.

Father Figures

This film could be on netflix right now, in fact it probably is. I wouldn’t know as I hope to never ever see it again. Everything about it seems like it was made in the 90s. It had no nuance, no cleverness, really nothing to recommend.

Original review here

+Katie Aselton’s character shares a great scene with Ed Helms, full of warmth and joy and cosiness.

-Completely pointless. I can’t imagine it being someones life ambition to make this.

The Happytime Murders

Oh dear. I really wanted to like this. It looked like it would be funny, subversive, and incredibly different to anything else. It’s none of those things. The jokes are all waaaaay too obvious, and most of them aren’t even really relevant to the film, they could be put in almost any cop film. It doesn’t do enough with the premise. And I don’t say this often, but this film would have been much better as a musical.

Original review here

+Some very funny moments.

-Nowhere near enough, and the rest of the jokes are very “first draft” ones which should have been improved. Note to the writers; just having puppets either say “fuck” or do fucks, doesn’t equal a joke.

Red Sparrow

Yup, this film existed this year. It has naked Jennifer Lawrence, was released this year, yet when was the last time you heard it being talked about? There’s a reason for that, it’s painfully dull with a script that is not as clever as it thinks it is, or as it needs to be for this genre. The dialogue is the the epitome of “telling, not showing” and despite it being over 2 hours long, barely anything about it will stay with you.

Original review here

+An effective throwback to a genre that doesn’t really exist any more

-For good reason.

The Secret Of Marrowbone

A film so bland I actually skipped past it in the list. A mess of genres which didn’t work at all, and had way too many twists. Having just one of them would have made it a much better film

Original review here

+Some good ideas. And one of the twists is really good.

-Uneven in terms of genre. Has no idea what type of film it is.

Truth Or Dare

I read reviews of this before I saw it, calling it one of the worst horror films they’ve seen in a while. “surely it can’t be that bad?” I thought, wrongly. Nothing about it works, it’s too sanitised, too poorly scripted, and you don’t give a shit about the characters. The same mistakes a lot of bad modern horror films make, really.

Original review here

+REALLY good performances. Like, REALLY good.

-That ending.

Tully

This is a film a lot of people will fall in love with. It just wasn’t for me. The characters didn’t appeal to me (and in some cases actively annoyed me), there were too many moments which seemingly were there to pad out the plot, and the ending will either entrance you or annoy me, it annoyed me.

Original review here

+Some of the dialogue is very funny.

-“that person is a figment of your imagination” endings just make me annoyed.

Winchester

Wanted to like this, I love Helen Mirren (as everybody does). It was just really boring though. Too many scenes which weren’t needed, and the scares were repetitive and stopped being effective the third time they did the same one.

Original review here

+FANTASTIC premise. Deserving of a much better film.

-Doesn’t make the most of the premise. Entirely forgettable.