1917 (2019)

I was worried I wouldn’t like this film, if only because I’m really bored with films based on the two world wars at the moment. There’s been so many of them and a lot of them haven’t really distinguished themselves enough to stand out (I still can’t remember which of the many Churchill films it was I actually saw). This feeling of boredom was so strong that I wasn’t even going to see this film. That was until I found out it was done as one continuous shot, I like to see interesting films, so I had to see it, and I’m very glad I did. It’s not a film I have much personal love for, it’s not really something I NEED to see again. It is something I’m glad I did see though, it’s a technical masterpiece. Even if you ignore the whole “done like one continuous shot” (well, technically two) it’s a superb film to look at, the cinematography is astounding. There’s a scene late on where the character walks through a bombed town at night, the only light coming from the buildings that are on fire, and it’s absolutely beautiful. The way the shadows interact with the scene is a real masterpiece in film-making, I wish more films did interesting stuff with shadows as they can provide a nice contrast to a scene.

None of this would matter if it wasn’t for the performances and the story, both of which are great. Dean-Charles Chapman (or as I know him: “is that Taron Egerton? Oh it’s not, ah well) has an incredibly difficult performance; especially since he needs to die in real-time on camera from blood loss. This brings me to a moment which I’m amazed they did; when he’s dying (which comes out of nowhere and is a real shock to the audience, in a good way) you can see the colour drain from his face, considering they couldn’t just cut away, apply makeup, then cut back I’m genuinely interested to see how they did this. George MacKay is the best performer though; his character looks absolutely broken by the events of the film, his eyes look haunted. It’s great that Sam Mendes got such accomplished performances from some (let’s face it) relatively unknown performers. Personally, I did find it a bit weird that it had two actors I wasn’t familiar with, and then almost cameo performances from actors you do know. Those moments do take you slightly, but not enough to ruin the film and I do know that is just a personal thing. This is still a film you need to see, even if it is only once.

The Gentlemen (2020)

I liked this film, not enough to ever need to watch it again, but it was okay while it lasted. A return to form for Guy Ritchie after the flop of King Arthur, pretty much confirming to studios that nobody wants to watch films based on King Arthur, rather than the truth, which is nobody wants to see shit films, oh wait, they do. It’s a shame as those films can be good, and whilst King Arthur did flop, I believe that The Green Knight will be the blue bill that cures the flop.

This is definitely a return to form, but I think that’s one of the biggest criticisms I have of it; I’ve seen it all before in his previous films. At times this doesn’t seem like a new film, but more like a re-recording of his greatest hits. To make matters worse, the story isn’t as clever as it seems to think it is. For a seemingly complicated plot, it’s remarkably straightforward. I hate to talk about it again (that’s a lie, I love discussing it whenever I can), when I got to the end of Searching I thought back to earlier moments in the film and suddenly a lot of things I thought were mistakes made sense, it made me immediately want to go back and watch the film again and look for more things I missed. You don’t get that with this film, there’s no “ohhhhhh, that’s smart” moment, and I feel it really needs one. There is one clever subversive moment, a gang of youtube rappers stumble into a drugs den, where they get caught by the security. I expected it to go like this:

  1. The security beat the shit out of the kids
  2. One of the kids turns out to be related to someone important.
  3. Bloody revenge

Instead, the teens beat the holy hell out of the security, then upload the video of it online. It’s clever and new, and is something I wish the film did more of.

The performances are okay, personally, I couldn’t unsee Charlie Hunnam as a discount Tom Hardy though. The real MVP is Hugh Grant though, he’s had a great last few years when it comes to weird roles; this, Paddington 2, Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists etc. He’s really developed from the “oh golly gosh if I got you a wine would you touch me?” roles from the 90’s into some incredibly fascinating ones, and is all the better for it. There are a few members of the cast I would have liked to see more of (not like that, settle down you pervs), and at times it does seem like there are so many characters the script has forgotten what’s happening. On the bright side the audience never feels lost, which is a risk with a fractured narrative like this. The editing and directing are skillful enough that you are always aware of where you are, there’s none of that “okay who was that who died, where are we now?” style editing that haunts lesser films. That being said, the ending is a bit shit.

Jojo Rabbit (2019)

This was always going to be a controversial film, whenever you do films about Nazi Germany you run the risk of offending people. I remember in the 90’s if you made a film like this you’d have people say you shouldn’t make jokes about such a serious subject. In the last few years it’s different, especially since 2016, now films like this get deemed offensive by people who think they’re not pro-nazi enough. The Death Of Stalin was flooded with negative reviews saying it made Stalin look bad. This one was followed with similar feedback from racist dickbags, but it didn’t seem to overshadow it as much as it did Death Of Stalin.

I’m glad for that is this film deserves to be viewed on it’s own merits, and when you do you realise this is a brilliant film. It’s not perfect, the satire doesn’t hit quite as hard as it needed to. Although as weird as it this to say, it may not have worked as it well if it did. This is not really a nazi film, it’s a film set against the backdrop of Nazi Germany. It’s about the characters, and this contains some great ones. It’s got some great performances too. I may get hate for this, but I don’t really believe Scarlett Johansson deserved her Oscar nomination; her performance was good, but I don’t think it was one of the best of the year, it wasn’t even the best in the film. Roman Griffin Davis carries this film far more than you’d think considering it’s his first film role. His role is very difficult in this, he needs to play a member of the Hitler Youth, and still be likeable. It helps that the character is well written, showing that his hate is more from a place of vulnerability and youthful belief in authority rather than genuine malice. It’s summed up best by this sentence:

“You’re not a Nazi, Jojo, you’re a 10-year-old kid who likes dressing up in a funny uniform and wants to be part of a club.”

That line is said by Elsa, a Jewish girl who JoJo encounters hiding in his attic. Her character is the human equivalent of a hand grenade thrown into Jojo’s life, forever changing his life. Much like the literal hand grenade that scars him. Her performance is also a highlight of the film, and the relationship between the two characters provides most of the heartwarming moments of the film, and a few of the most heartbreaking moments. When this film wants to make you feel like shit, it does so brilliantly. I tend to cry more at comedies for some reason, I think it’s because it’s a wider variety of emotions in the film than when it’s just bleak all the time. It feels more realistic when it’s done like this, with highs and lows throughout the whole thing. So should you see this film? Definitely, without a shadow of a doubt. It’s funny, genuinely sweet, and yet will break you at times. Believe me, there’s so much more I could say about this, but you already know if you want to see it or not. If anything else the way the director played Hitler is to be commended. Especially when you read about the research he put in; zero because:

“It would just be too weird to play the actual Hitler, and I don’t think people would enjoy the character as much. Because he was such a fucking c*nt”

And that’s how I’m ending this blog. Now go see it

2019 In Film Day 6: The Amazeballs

Avengers: Endgame

I wasn’t going to put this in this one originally. It’s so deeply flawed, not within the film itself, but in terms of what it closes off. It basically means so many things I was excited for will now never happen; Civil War meaning anything, a villain taking advantage of the chaos of half the universe disappearing to motivate himself, or even one that’s motivated by his family disappearing, blaming the Avengers for not doing enough to stop him. None of that will happen now. I decided to put it here because it’s a three-hour film that I watched on a flight and didn’t feel the urge to skip any of it.

Original review here

+The sheer sense of scale.

-What it closes off. Also the “big emotional moment” was incredibly obvious.

Childs Play

Damn this was entertaining. This had a lot working against it, not only was it a remake (I say “was”, still is, not as though it’s status as a remake has changed), it’s a remake of a film franchise which I’m very familiar with and kind of love. It was made without the consent of the original creators, whilst the franchise is still going strong (unlike Nightmare On Elm Street etc, where it’s pretty safe to say the original franchise is dead). If this had major flaws, trust me I would have picked up on them and used them as a stick to beat the bloated corpse of a terrible movie with. But it was hard to think of any major flaws with this movie. The biggest one isn’t even a dealbreaker for me; it’s just that it feels a little restrained, like it could go further. I’ve read some reviews which talk about the teenage characters being annoying; personally, I found them funny. They weren’t fully realised people, but then again teenagers aren’t. Their decisions made sense considering their age and personalities. So yeah I enjoyed this film. I found it a worthy addition to the name and a good way to kick-off a new franchise (which this is so obviously trying to do)

Original review here

+Mark Hamill’s performance.

-The scene in the toy store near the end REALLY needs to be more brutal and more chaotic. Some scenes feel slightly neutered, and none more so than this.

Fighting With My Family

Personal bias; I loved this movie. I found it heartwarming with great performances and engaging characters. Yes it takes A LOT of, shall we say, “creative liberties” with the truth but I feel it has to. Professional Wrestling is a really weird industry at the best of times, once you get into “yeah she was in the developmental company which gets higher review ratings than the main show, but MUCH lower ratings, so whilst she was never likely to lose her job, her promotion to the main roster was still a bit of a surprise”. This film would not work if it wasn’t for Florence Pugh. She doesn’t do a great impression of who she plays, but she embodies the character so perfectly that it’s hard to unsee her as who she’s supposed to be. Essentially she’s not doing a good impression of her, she’s doing an impression of what your memory thinks of her. Subtle difference but very important.

Original review here

+So darn lovely at times.

-The woman it’s based on was forced to retire before this movie came out and the movie never mentions it, just bad timing.

Happy Death Day 2 U

This is not as tight as the first one, not by a long shot. It’s still a great movie though. Yes the sci-fi based plot isn’t as good as the more straight-up horror of the first one, but there’s just something so endearing about this film. A lot of if is down to the performances of the two leads; Jessica Roth and Israel Broussard. Not only do they have great chemistry but they are great individually too. There’s a scene where Jessica Roths character is in an alternate universe and realises her mother is alive in this one, I defy anybody to watch it and not feel for her. Similarly when she’s trying to decide whether to go back to a universe without her parent in it, or to stay in one with a parent who has memories of things she doesn’t. It’s a compelling character piece and would be ideal for a really depressing short film.

Original review here

+The montage editing is superb. Plus it feels like a second part of the first movie, rather than a sequel. It doesn’t feel tacked on, it slots in perfectly.

-Not quite as good as the first one, and the ending feels a bit cruel

John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum

This film features Keanu Reeves riding a horse in a city and killing people. Of course, I’m going to love this. I will admit this is not as good as the first two; it goes on a little bit too long and the sequel-hook is a little bit too obvious. Quite a few scenes really drag to the point where if the cinematography wasn’t as impressive as it is you’d be bored. This rating all depends on the next move though. If the next film is poor then this will be known as the film where the cracks started showing. I have faith that the next film will still be good though, so it stays here, for now.

Original review here

+The world building is immense.

-A bit too long at times.

Knives Out

Was genuinely surprised by this, which is a bit weird as it had really good reviews and people seemed to love it. I guess I just thought that it would be one of those films that I would just not “get”. But yeah I loved this. I have a soft spot for ensemble cast films, mainly because they’re really hard to do without having some characters seeming underwritten. Now that I think of it though, that’s usually a bigger issue with multi-story films (such as Men, Women And Children) than ensemble films. I’m also a sucker for mystery films, I like it when they’re so well written that when the reveal happens you feel like an idiot for not getting it earlier because in retrospect it was obvious but you didn’t realise at the time. This gets it out of the way by revealing the “killer” very early on, but then giving you another mystery to solve, albeit one which isn’t as unobvious as it thinks it is.

Original review here

+The script, it’s that damn good

-Not quite as slick as it could be.

Late Night

I have a lot of personal love for this film. I loved the story being told, the characters, and how funny it was. It had a real warmth to it, but not a nice warmth that you feel envelop you like a hug, this was a warmth that stings. The satire is razor-sharp and accurate, to the point where it’s kind of depressing as the points they’re making are ones we should be past as a society by now. The main draw is the chemistry the two leads have; the role was allegedly written specifically for Emma Thompson by the other lead (Mindy Kaling) and you can tell this is kind of a dream project for Kaling. When I criticise films I often say “I can’t imagine someone fighting and dreaming to write this script”. With this I can. It feels like a script that Kaling NEEDED to get out of her.

Original review here

+So damn relevant

-Doesn’t seem to make the most of opportunities to make it seem like it exists in this world. There are a lot of chances to have cameos but it doesn’t take them.

Rocketman

Why was this not a bigger film? The fact that this film got less Oscar nominations than Bohemian Rhapsody is a travesty. Everything Bohemian Rhapsody did well, this did a lot better. The performances, the directing, the story, all of it was better; plus it didn’t tell lies about a real persons death to sell the narrative. Some people didn’t like that the film occasionally resembled a musical, I thought that was a perfect way to do it though. This is Elton John, you can’t do a standard film for someone like him, it has to be something extravagant and extra. Let’s be honest, does Bohemian Rhapsody really tell us ANYTHING about who Queen were as a band? This film tells you who Elton John is through the style, and that’s brilliant. It also shows you how many brilliant songs he’s done in his life.

Original review here

+Incredibly honest about his flaws.

-Some of the supporting characters seem a little underwritten.

Shazzam

So damn warm. The second best DCU film (Wonder Woman is top in case you were wondering) I’ve seen. I realise this film is heavily flawed; the pace is slow at the start, there are sections where the villain is missing, and it doesn’t have a unique visual style. It didn’t matter to me though. It was so enjoyable it allowed me to ignore the multiple flaws. I realise now that feeling matters a lot to me in films. If it gives my cynical self that feeling of magic it increases the chance of me loving it. If when I watch it I’m genuinely transported outside of myself. This does that perfectly.

Original review here

+Zachary Levi NAILS the performance perfectly.

-Needs a distinct visual style to truely be great.

Spider-Man: Far From Home

OMG, Mysterio turned out to be the bad guy? Who would have guessed? Well, everybody, let’s face it. It still worked though. We knew he’d be bad, but the way they did it was brilliant (albeit the worry that both of the Spider-Man villains seem to hate Iron Man more than they hate Peter Parker won’t go away). Watched this again recently and it still holds up. It’s probably one of the most visually interesting earth-based MCU films, some of the hallucination sequences are stunning to watch, incredibly inventive. You do have to question the logic of having such an obvious sequel hook when you’re not 100% certain you’re going to retain the rights to the character though.

Original review here

+So funny.

-Can we please have a Spider-man villain who’s motivation isn’t Tony Stark?

Toy Story 4

I had doubts about this, how can you make this film work after the almost perfect ending of the third one? Well, you do it like this. The Toy Story franchise has a great approach to sequels. You never think they’re essential until you watch them and then you wonder how the franchise coped without them. The new characters work well too, Tony Hale, in particular, gives a wonderful performance full of just enough depth and comedic background to make a suicidal spork seem like it fits into the universe.

Original review here

+It looks GLORIOUS

-Wait, so sporks are sentient now? Great, I now have to feel guilty about how I treat cutlery. Thanks.

Us

Expectations were high for this after the success of Get Out. Personally, I think this met them. The story is great, with smart social commentary and absolute genius use of foreshadowing meaning you don’t fully get it until the second viewing, when you can watch it and appreciate all the genius moments in it. The performances are great two, almost everyone plays two distinct characters in it, yet I think even without the costumes you’d be able to understand who is who due to how the actors distinguish each character through facial expressions and how they carry themselves. Best horror I saw all year, by a long shot.

Original review here

+The sense of unease over the entire thing so that even something as simple as a family walking on a beach is somehow unsettling.

-Not quite as well written as Get Out.

Wild Rose

Another film that I feel was robbed from an Oscar nomination it deserved; specifically, best original song. Bear in mind that’s coming from somebody who doesn’t like country music. But the music in this is so well done, so full of emotion that it doesn’t matter to me. It’s helped by the central performance. Jesse Buckley plays the role with such iron vulnerability that it’s hard to feel anything but joy for her when things start to go well for her.

Original review here

+The heart to it.

-Occasionally it seems like things only happen because the story needs it to.

2019 In Film Day 5: The Very Good

Now we get into the “seriously?” stage. The one where people wonder how I can be so petty to put a film in this category just for something inconsequential. Truth is, there could be an argument for any one of these being in the next blog (the amazeballs). But this is the most personal, the ones which I really really liked, but for whatever reason, just didn’t make me love them. For most of these, in fact, it will be really hard for me to find negatives about them, to the point where I’m going to come off as a really picky mother-fucker. Some of these films are BEAUTIFUL, and there’s at least one I’m genuinely surprised didn’t get more Academy Award nominations.

Ad Astra

Oddly enough, this film is timeless. Yes, it’s about space, but really the story it’s telling could have been written hundreds of years ago. It’s a story about exploration and isolation. Replace “space” with “Ocean” and “spaceship” with “regular water-based ship with cannons and things” then this story would still work. It came at just the right time for me, I had just seen *shudders* Wolf and needed something to reaffirm my faith in cinema. This was perfect for that, a fantastic CINEMA film. Sadly you don’t seem to get as many of them any more, films where you really gain something by watching it at the cinema (and to those who say “Endgame”, f*ck off, you’re wrong. I watched that on a plane and didn’t lose anything from the movie, unlike the time I tried to watch A Quiet Place on a plane and it just did not work). How this didn’t get nominated for more Oscar’s is a genuine mystery to me.

Original review here

+The sense of scale is awe-inspiring

-Lacks emotion at times.

Beautiful Boy

I kind of want to put this in its own section. Because it was better than good, but it wasn’t as good as Ben Is Back, which wasn’t good enough to be awesome. It’s a shame that this film came out the same year as Ben Is Back to be honest, as it means comparisons will be made between the two. And when you do that then this film can’t compare. It’s a shame as this film is still really good on its own merits. The central performances are believable, and it looks great. It’s a great depiction of the effect addiction can have on families.

Original review here

+Breaks your heart at times

-Everything it does well, another film does better.

Ben Is Back

So damn good. In the last few years I’ve come to really love the work of Julia Roberts. Her work in this is superb, the emotional frailty is there to see, but you still recognise her as a badass. This film does a great job of humanising addiction and showing us why it happens. Importantly it’s the first film in a long time which talks about the role of the medical profession in causing addictions.

Original review here

+Will break your heart

-I appreciated it more than I loved it.

Blinded By The Light

A film which had a genuine love for Springsteen. This film showed the power of music, just how it can affect peoples lives. Music changes everything, and this film shows just how. At times it was genuinely heartwarming. So what stops it being awesome? There are quite a few moments which seem pointless, particularly the opening. There are also moments where you get the feeling the film only had the budget for a select few Springsteen songs so there’s quite a bit of repetition. It’s a shame as with a few tweaks this could have been great.

Original review here

+The general feeling it gives you.

-Viveik Kalra’s performance is occasionally flat.

Captain Marvel

This film is not just good, it’s also incredibly important. When I originally reviewed it I said:

I did genuinely love this movie and it’s likely to be one of my favourites of the year.

I was wrong. Now I’ve had time away from it the flaws have become more apparent. The big one is the complete lack of narrative tension. We know she survives this movie, so we always knew she’d be fine. The CGI was ropey at times, and the soundtrack was just not good (one scene, in particular, was made a lot worse by the choice of music). On the plus side, it was a lot of fun, and Brie Larson is pretty much perfect in it.

Original review here

+A great popcorn movie

-The turn is super obvious

Good Boys

Very, very funny. It’s marked down because of one scene which totally took me out of the film. Sat there watching it and thought “they should definitely be dead”. It’s also excruciating to watch, but in a good way. It reminds you of how much of a dick you were when you were younger. If, by the way, you’re reading this and thinking “I wasn’t a dick when I was growing up” then that means you’re still a dick now, and just haven’t realised it. Sorry, those are the rules.

Original review here

+It has a refreshingly suitable attitude to women. The women in this film aren’t just props, they’re fully developed characters. That’s depressingly rare in this genre.

-The one scene.

Joker

Yeah, that’s right, I’m putting it in this blog, not the amazing one, come fight me. Actually please don’t, I have the muscle mass of a damp tea bag. The more distance I have from this the less I like it. I don’t think it would have the audience it does if it wasn’t for the batman connection, but those parts are the weakest of the film. Yes, Phoenix is amazing as the lead, but the rest of the cast are sorely underused to the point where it seems like a waste of a lot of good talent. It’s also incredibly unsubtle and derivative to the point where it doesn’t so much wear its influences on its sleeves, but fashion an entire suit out of them. It in no way deserved all the academy awards it was nominated for, I don’t get how anyone can genuinely say the costume design for this was better than Rocketman for instance. This film reminds me of Fight Club, in that a lot of the audience is made up of angry white men, and if you mention anything bad about this film they do not take it well at all. Seriously, mention to someone that you don’t like Fight Club and prepare for a lecture on how you’re wrong and it’s the best film of all time you’re just too stupid to understand it, it’s the same with this. And I don’t want to be part of a fandom filled with that mention assholes.

Original review here

+Phoenix is amazing.

-Tremendously overrated.

Jumanji: The Next Level

Actually really enjoyed this movie. The cast improved upon their performances from the first one. It’s exactly the same as the second one, but bigger. The stakes are higher, there are more characters, it’s all a very natural progression from the previous one. Plus it makes me really excited to see what’s next, so it has to be deemed a success. The downside? I don’t think I’m going to purchase it on DVD until after the next one has come out.

Original review here

+So funny.

-A bit obvious in places.

Long Shot

I really enjoyed this film. It’s incredibly smart and funny, and it’s just what’s needed right now. It has a lot to say about gender in a supposed “post-feminism” world. It does a great job of showing how “but we’re all equal now” is bullshit. It helps that it’s REALLY funny. On the downside it is a bit long, the opening especially feels like it drags.

Original review here

+Incredibly important.

-Very predictable. You’ll be able to guess the whole story by the trailer.

The Lego Movie: Part 2

Not as good as the first one, but I feel part of that might be due to expectations. Nobody had any expectations of the first one being any good, so it’s thought of as being better than it really is (don’t get me wrong, it is still REALLY good). This one had the expectations of that already there, plus of The Lego Batman movie (which I personally love). I would consider this better than the first film if it wasn’t for the opening. The first half of the film is incredibly dull. The second half is amazing though, full of emotion and incredible depth. It’s the first film I’ve seen which seems to realise that being overly serious is not the same as being adult. Not enough films will outright state that that is just as juvenile.

Original review here

+The message is incredibly important, and one I haven’t seen in a film before. It’s essentially “it’s okay to enjoy things. Being happy is valid”

-The first half doesn’t really work

Zombieland: Double Tap

If you liked the first film, you’ll love this. That’s all there is to it really. The pacing is a little off and one of the sub-plots really feels like it drags the film down. One of them has a pacifist character who is really underdeveloped and we’re not really sure how he’s survived that long, could have been interesting to find out. On a plus side; the chemistry is still there between the leads, and it’s a lot of fun to watch.

Original review here

+Bill Murray’s ending cameo is perfect

-Not necessary. 

2019 In Film Day 4: The Good

Okay, stay with me here because this is where it gets complicated. In this one I’ll be talking about films, that (get this), I think, are good. I tried to subtly imply that with the title but I wasn’t sure whether I was too subtle or not. So, here goes.

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

This film is so good it almost makes up for [insert terrible Melissa McCarthy film, and let’s face it, there’s a fucking lot of them). This is a good one to start this blog off with actually, and not just because it’s alphabetically the first in the list. This one has a definitive thing which stops it being anything better than “good” in my eyes. It has almost zero narrative suspense. You better get used to that concept because it’s going to come back in a big f*cking way later on in this blog. The trailer showed her being put on trial for her crimes, but the entire film is seeing the scheme unfold, the trial isn’t until near the very end. So what we’re doing is watching people hatch a plan that we as an audience know doesn’t work. It’s not just that for me. The music and visual style were weird. They were good but they make it hard to place it in the time frame. They make it seem as though it happened a lot earlier than it did. The film is set in 1991 but the colour scheme used in the film, and the soundtrack, make it seem like it’s set from the 1960’s or earlier. So when you do get something 90’s happening, it can be somewhat jarring. I recognise that’s just a personal opinion, but this entire blog is a personal opinion, so meh.

Original review here

+Richard E Grant, he’s just great.

-Won’t stick with you.

Greta

I think I may need to watch this film again to fully come to terms with it. It’s a deeply flawed film, but it is incredibly fascinating to watch. Part of that is the performances, but also the pacing is pretty damn good too. It’s slow, but it is constantly moving forward. So the story is constantly going, albeit much slower than you may be used to. It also doesn’t treat the audience like they’re stupid, it’s a much more fulfilling film if you notice little details and remember certain situations repeating themselves. It just doesn’t, for some particular reason, stand out as a film that I have a great personal love for. I appreciate it more than I liked it, but I did appreciate it a lot.

Original review here

+The cookie-cutter scene. A great moment to hear the entire audience wince at once.

-Occasionally struggles to hold the attention of the audience.

Horrible Histories: The Movie – Rotten Romans

I thought I loved this film, but it’s been out on DVD for a few weeks now and I have no desire to go out and buy it immediately, so I guess I didn’t. It was funny enough, but I guess it was just a little bit too childish for my tastes. I know, a children’s film was childish, how dare it? If I was younger I’d probably have liked it enough to annoy my parents by constantly watching it. This is never more evident than during one of the songs which completely brings the film to a halt and goes on too long. It’s weird as there are other moments where it seems like the filmmakers have a firm eye on the adults in the audience, references to Monty Python, Jay-Z etc you can argue the kids might understand. But does anybody really think that there are any kids who would understand a reference to the 1970’s television show I, Claudius?

Original review here

+Battle Of Watling Street song. It advances the narrative, is funny, and incredibly catchy.

-The Nero song is kind of cringy

IT: Chapter Two

The further I distance myself from this film, the less I enjoy it as the faults become obvious. The flashbacks contain zero dramatic tension in them as you know the characters are not going to die. It’s also extremely unsatisfying in terms of expanding the lore. It feels like there’s a lot of stuff left to say, but not in an exciting way, but in a way that the whole thing feels unfinished. The way the film is structured and the lore is revealed makes it seem like there’s a third one, but there’s not, so it’s just a bit strange. It’s also way too fucking long. If you include trailers and traffic time you were looking at almost a 4-hour commitment, and that’s just too much.

Original review here

+Bill Hader is amazeballs

-It drags like a 1-legged drunk hyena

Pokemon: Detective Pikachu

This film is weird, in a good way, mostly. The tonal shifts are a bit jarring though. It goes from incredibly serious to Ryan Reynolds in a fucking instant. The humour too is slightly inconsistent, ranging from simple slapstick and dick jokes, then suddenly you get a joke about torturing someone for information by pouring petrol on them and setting them ablaze. So strange, yet kind of wonderful.

Original review here

+The visual world-building is incredible. It all feels real.

-Some of the human characters are so flat they’re almost 2-dimensional

Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark

I expected this to be a bit lighter than it was. I basically expected something similar to Goosebumps. This feels more like the next natural progression from those films. So a kid would watch goosebumps, then this, then start killing everybody as that’s what horror films cause people to do, obviously. After watching the Nightmare On Elm Street series I went through a phase of haunting people’s dreams and killing them in increasingly outlandish ways. That stopped when I watched the Saw movies and just became awful. So, this film. It’s not original, but it is a very good watch. It has some great body horror moments in. Actually, that’s a point I haven’t mentioned, the variety of scares in this. It has a somewhat scattergun approach to them so if there’s not one fear that works there’s another which will. It’s a risky approach but it’s really effective in this.

Original review here

+The sense of dread never leaves the screen.

-A bit too restrained at times, plus I found one of the characters really annoying.

Stan And Ollie

This was the first film I saw in 2019. So the film got off on a pretty good year. Very heartwarming and emotional. Maybe my opinion of it was somewhat muted by not knowing much about the pair. As such I couldn’t really catch any references, also the film didn’t give much background about the pair, assuming we were familiar with them. Because of this I always felt slightly like I was watching two strangers, as opposed to two characters.

Original review here

+It seems very honest. Fully aware that they have flaws and made mistakes.

-Too slow at times

Stuber

This is very funny, but that’s all it is. It never goes beyond that. If I caught this on netflix I’d love it. But paying full price at the cinema sours it somewhat. This would have been the perfect film for video rental stores. It’s not quite good enough to push either of the leads into superstardom (they are huge, but not like “build a multi-million dollar franchise around them” huge yet), but it is a worthwhile addition to both of their filmographies. I really wish this was better, but it just doesn’t do enough to take it to the next level. Plus there’s one scene which just feels like padding and takes you out completely.

Original review here

+Great chemistry between the leads.

-A few moments take you out of the film and remind you that what you are watching is not real.

The Day Shall Come

It’s funny because it’s true, but it’s also super depressing for the exact same reason. I don’t mind downer endings sometimes, but in this case it just seemed odd. The film had spent 90 minutes punching you in the face and it never gave you that catharsis of a happy ending. I don’t think it was helped by the high standards I have of the creator. His stuff is some of my favourite stuff of all time, so when something is only very good, it seems worse by comparison.

Original review here

+It could inspire people to go fuck shit up.

-The satire is a little unfocused at times.

So that’s it for this one. Don’t worry, I’m finishing with 2019 soon, I realise now I’m stuck more in the past than an Empire fanatic (both British and Imperial/Galactic), and so far from 2020 the films have been good. So you’ve got that to look forward to.

2019 In Film Day 3: The Thoroughly Okay

Films too good to be meh, but not good enough for me to like them.

Alita: Battle Angel

At least it’s unique. The world-building for this is superb, especially in terms of visuals. It’s one of the best-looking films I saw. Plus I like to reward inventiveness in film, so why is this rated so low? I think it comes down to the lack of internal consistency. It features robots beating the hell out of each other, but you don’t know whether the hits are bad or not. Sometimes limbs get sliced off and they just get reattached like nothing happened, yet other times it ends up severely incapacitating them. So you have no idea whether to feel worried for characters until after the fact. It’s really frustrating to watch and means that you can never really lose yourself in the film as you’re constantly second-guessing whether things matter.

Original review here

+Rosa Salzer is perfect in it.

– Forgettable story.

Booksmart

I wanted to like this, I really did. It had a great cast and a lot of people I like enjoyed it. It seemed like the kind of thing I would love. But I just felt slightly underwhelmed by it. I think it is because the characters were slightly meh. The performances were okay (Kaitlyn Deaver, in particular, was perfect) but a lot of it seemed a bit too much like a Will Ferrell movie which couldn’t decide whether it wanted grounded characters or unbelievable ones so settled in a mediocre middle ground.

Original review here

+Very funny in parts

-Frustratingly paced at times

Fisherman’s Friends

Have you seen a heartwarming British film in the last few years? Then you’ve seen this. Yes it’s charming and heartwarming, but you’ve seen it all before. That’s the biggest problem, it brings absolutely nothing new to the screen. Unless this is the first film you’ve ever seen you won’t be surprised by any of it. The music is good (which is handy as the film depends on it) and the performances are fine. It just doesn’t do anything interesting enough to stand out in a very crowded genre.

Original review here

+So gosh darn delightful.

-Predictable

How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Hey, this movie exists. I genuinely forgot I saw this film this year, I assumed it came out years ago. But nope, this year. It’s so forgettable, left almost zero impact on me. It’s a good thing I write notes otherwise I’d have no idea what to say. I mean, I still have no idea what to say without repeating myself, but still. The whole thing just feels so unnecessary, like I can’t imagine anybody feeling their life is better because this movie is in it.

Original review here

+It looks BEAUTIFUL

-Completely forgettable

If Beale Street Could Talk

This is a film that just wasn’t for me. I found the narrative frustrating in terms of the pacing. Characters appear and disappear with a frustrating lack of care for the audience. Also, there was WAY too much narration. At times it felt like it was treating the audience with contempt, feeling the need to spell everything out for us. This occasionally comes through in the story as well, things which we are told are then shown again and again and again, just to make sure we get it.

Original review here

+Very important film that is worth seeing

-Kind of dull

So that’s it. I know this was the shortest one, but a few got moved at the last minute during writing when I realised I liked them more than I thought I did.

2019 In Film Day 2: The Meh

These are films I really didn’t like, but at least had the decency to contain one thing to admire about them.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil And Vile

This is a good movie. It just wasn’t for me. I was kind of bored by the whole thing. That might have been me and my expectations. But it felt like it was hiding a much more interesting story than the one it actually told. It was basically Ted Bundy not killing people.

Original review here

+Efron is great.

-Not really necessary

Glass

I’m more excited about what comes next, but I’m not even sure if anything will come next. I felt the same about Unbreakable, I felt somewhat underwhelmed, but I was interested in what comes next. I didn’t dislike it enough to hate it, I found it hard to feel anything about.

Original review here

+Interesting idea

-A lot of the film is “do these people actually have superpowers?” when we know they do. So it’s a complete waste of time.

Godzilla: King Of The Monsters

This is here purely for the scale. It’s massive, and it all looks real. Just a shame the rest of the film is so damn mediocre.

Original review here

+The look. It looks so damn superb. So many of the scenes look like oil paintings.

-How exactly is King Kong supposed to match him?

Ma

This film is a very slow build to the final moment. It’s an old-school horror approach that is risky to attempt to pull off in the modern age. It wasn’t helped by how the advertising all focused on the final third, so you thought that’s what the film was like. The main issue is that you know what it’s all building up to, but it keeps pulling back from reaching that point. This film could have naturally been about 20 to 30 minutes shorter.

Original review here

+The closing stretch is immensely satisfying.

-Drags too much in places.

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

This is entirely personal taste. I was not a fan of this. I found it incredibly boring and I didn’t like the characters enough to spend time with them when the story was dragging. It looked great, and it felt completely authentic. A lot of people I know love this, and I do get it, it just wasn’t for me, at all.

Original review here

+The closing section is insanely brilliant.

-Did you know Tarantino likes feet? You will after this.

Sometimes Always Never

This just makes it into this blog and not the previous. Like so close. The only thing saving this? The general warmth of the whole thing. The way the characters interact with each other is incredibly sweet and warm. It’s lovely, so heartwarming that it brings the film up higher than the rest of it. The cast too. Its just a shame it’s a bit too twee at times, the cinematic equivalent of a government department making an anti-immigration campaign using a fucking ukulele.

Original review here

+Very twee

-Sometimes too much so

Yesterday

I think this film would be rated higher if it wasn’t for Blinded By The Light. By comparison, this film is incredibly hollow. Blinded By The Light (or BBTL as all the cool kids call it) was a genuine love letter to an artist, full of compassion and warmth and deep love, this was the work of someone who owns the greatest hits album of a band and nothing else. The kind of dick who only goes to gigs if they’re at stadiums, and considers Cher “rock and roll”. BBTL only really works as a Springsteen film, with Springsteen and the film working in equal harmony. With this the film came first, and The Beatles came second. Also, for a film about The Beatles, this spent a lot of time talking about how great Ed Sheeran was. It seemed to have no genuine love for the band it’s based on.

Original review here

+Cute concept and the main relationship works

-It makes a joke about Oasis not existing, but also says the guy won a talent show singing Wonderwall. No consistency

2019 In Film Day 1 (The Bad)

This year was a bad year for film. I’m not sure if it was that there were more bad films, or more of the films I saw were bad, or even whether its just the ones that were bad were REALLY bad. I’d say there are at least three films here which are contenders for the worst I’ve ever seen. Normally for these, there are a few controversial choices. For this I’m confident there are none. There are zero which I feel bad about, zero that I feel hesitant about saying.

Black Christmas

I have not seen the original, or the first remake. As such I have no idea whether it’s a good remake or not. I do know it’s a bad film. The story is realistic for the first half and then goes supernatural in the final section. The universe within the film hasn’t set this up as being possible so it’s a bit out of left field (whilst also surprisingly being really predictable, I guessed it in the opening title card).

Original review here

+It made me think of this song

-It’s really white. We need a feminist horror movie and this isn’t it.

Bright Burn

Okay, maybe this one. The worse thing about this was the expectation. I wanted this to be really good, and this is just awful. It spends so much time in the shadow of Superman, that it never really stands out on its own merits. This is a big issue as anybody familiar with the superman mythos knows exactly what is going to happen, and it all unfolds exactly as expected, and that’s it. The entire film is just building up to a moment everybody already knows is going to happen. Because of this you’re never really lost in the film.

Original review here

+The performances are fine, and the ending teaser is brilliant.

-Doesn’t do anything fun with the unique idea it has. It’s essentially a student film idea on a large budget.

Crawl

I’ve actually seen some positive reviews of this, one of which called it one of the hidden gems of 2019. Weirdly, one of the positives they outlined, is a negative for me. They said they loved how the characters did stupid things as it made it fun, I hated it for the exact same reason. It felt like character stupidity was only there to artificially increase the run-time. It didn’t work as it’s still a short film, although I did feel every single one of the 90 minutes. I didn’t think a 90-minute action film could be so god damn tedious.

Original review here

+It all FEELS real. There are no CGI issues.

-Stupid character decisions.

Escape Room

This was deeply flawed, deeply. It’s a fine concept, but the film doesn’t suit the concept. Often with franchised horror movies, the sequels weren’t written as sequels, they were stand-alone scripts that a studio exec saw and just rewrote to fit into an existing franchise. That’s how this one feels, like a hastily written sequel made to fit into a franchise it doesn’t belong. For a stand-alone film that’s an indication of a terrible script. It’s worse than that, it’s a terrible script which wastes a great concept. A horror movie set in an escape room is a genius idea (but yeah you would struggle to differentiate it from the Saw franchise), and it’s worthy of a, at the very least, mediocre film. At this point it’s not so much even about the quality, I just wanted it to be interesting, and it didn’t manage that.

Original review here

+Good performances, especially from Nik Dodani.

-The film starts with a character trying to escape a certain room. That room doesn’t appear until near the end, so the whole time you’re watching it you know that character is safe. Plus, some of the “riddles” take WAY too long for the character to get there.

Hellboy

The creative arts has a problem with maturity. Often something is described as “mature” when really it just has tits, violence, and swearing (but never penis, never penis). Ironically this means it then comes off as immature. This film is the best example of it. It’s like a 14 year old drinking his first beer, talking about all the vegines he’s fingered until they’ve cum down their arm.

Original review here

+if you’re 13 you’ll love it

-if not it’s a piece of shit.

I Love My Mum

I can’t really say I was disappointed by this as I had low expectations. It’s a fun concept but the characters are just too annoying to carry the film. One of the main characters is incredibly easy to dislike, and it makes it hard to enjoy the film.

Original review here

+Some good lines

-Badly written characters

Killer Kate

I expected this to be fun shlock. Instead, it’s just bad. The writing is bad, the pacing is terrible, and the less said about the acting the better. It just feels low-budget. There’s not really a sense of drama or suspense to the whole thing. It’s not scary enough to be a horror, and it’s not funny enough to be a comedy. I’d barely qualify it as a film.

Original review here

+There’s a really smart piece of writing involving a pizza guy (yes, I know how porny that sounds)

-The lead performance is incredibly wooden

Red Joan

I assumed this would be interesting. I was incorrect. It wasn’t helped by the fact that Judi Dench is barely in it. Plus the characters’ motivations are muddled. She says she spied for noble motivations, but thats not what we see. From what the film shows us her motivation was lust. Not quite as noble

Original review here

+The modern day parts are great.

-But not long enough.

Songbird

This is way too improv-based. As such it doesn’t really have a structure. A lot of the scenes are just unfocused and don’t seem to have a point to them. It’s a shame as I like both people in it, but the film really needs a purpose.

Original review here

+It’s always nice to see Jessica Hynes in things

-Purposeless

The Curse Of La Llorona

I didn’t catch this at the cinema, instead watching it on a laptop at home. I’m glad I didn’t see it at the cinema as I would have been so annoyed had I taken time out of my day to walk down the cinema for this. This is a very Latin film made through a very white lens. It feels very American, like they didn’t fully understand the legend they were adapting. They’ve reduced it to a generic “thing goes woo” tale.

Original review here

+It is an interesting tale, albeit one that’s not in this film

-Incredibly generic

The Kitchen

Nowhere near as interesting as it should be. I think part of it is due to how badly written any characters except the main ones are. Characters appear only to be killed. There were times when people died and I didn’t even realise who they were until about 5 scenes later. Original review here

+Domhnall Gleeson is brilliant in it.

-The entire plot of the film, all the plotting and twists, is undone in 5 seconds.

Wolf

I’m going to get personal here. As some may know, I have a history of depression and anxiety. It’s always been there but sometimes it’s worse than others, it hit really bad in September. I was left in a state where I couldn’t really motivate myself to do anything, and it made writing really hard. I couldn’t even muster enough energy to go down cinema, and as such I missed out on a few films I wanted to see (Ready Or Not chief among them). Now I’m not saying this film is ENTIRELY to blame.

Original review here

+Great concept, and there’s one section where the make-up is amazing.

-Everything else.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

Definitely the worst X-men movie (yes, even worse than Origins). The worst possible way to end the franchise. Made all the more disappointing by how good Logan was. There’s nothing specifically bad about it, all of it is. It doesn’t work in any way. Apparently the story it’s based on is quite a big deal, but it’s now had two really bad films based on it. Has it ruined it?

Original review here

+Everyone involved in it will someday cease to exist.

-The villains motivations are undeveloped.