2021 In Film: Day Three (The Meh)

Films I could take or leave. I didn’t like, but I didn’t dislike either, they just existed.

A Quiet Place Part 2

Nowhere near as good as the first one. Part of that, for me anyway, is that it used music. The first one didn’t, it played everything in silence so that every sound was story-based and realistic. It felt like you were alongside these people on the journey with them, because they use music in this one it meant it felt like you were watching a film. It really took you out of it.

+ It still has the ability to shock you.

– The fact it has music. Ruins the tone. The first one was made by the silence and this film seems almost scared to have it.

Best Moment: The opening scene, a flashback to when the event first happened. Wonderful chaos, and to be honest I wish we saw more of that stuff.

Worst moment: The sub-plot back at the base. It just distracts away from the main plot. So easy to deal with, if you killed the kid. It would have improved the pacing, added stakes, and broke the audience.

Best Performer: Millicent Simmonds, obviously.

Worst Performer: Djimon Hounsou, a good performer, but he’s way too big for such a small part in this film.

Best Line: “The people that are left, they’re not the kind of people worth saving”. A line which made me feel the film was going to be much better than it ended up being.

Original review here

Candyman

This is on me. I probably would have liked it more if I had seen the others, if I had more history with the franchise. But I didn’t know I’d need to do homework, and the way it was advertised made it looks as if it was something new and was more of a soft reboot. I recognise this is just a personal opinion but this lacked tension to me. There was no chance of a fightback for the characters, so it was just people you had only just met being killed, repeat. Another 15 minutes or so to flesh out some of the background characters would have really helped it.

+Nia DaCosta is one hell of a director. Visually it’s a real feast for the eyes.

-Don’t really care about secondary characters

Best moment: When they use shadow puppets as a way to tell the story. Very creative, and perfect for this film.

Original review here

Coming 2 America

I’ll say this, this film is VERY fortunate I watched the cinemasins video for the original a few days before watching this otherwise I wouldn’t have got half the references it makes. It’s so in debt to the original that it doesn’t carve out its own legacy. It also seems unsure how to treat Eddie Murphy’s character, is he a sensible mature king who has grown into the role since we saw him last? Or is he the cocky slightly immature character that he was? This tries to play it both ways and it doesn’t really work. Available on Amazon prime so if you have a subscription already I’d say watch it, but don’t hunt it down.

+All the cameos, sure to raise a smile

-Feels a little lazy at times

Best Moment: The celebrations for the current king. Showcases just how out-of-touch the current king is, the hero-worship of someone who’s only real achievement is being born is brilliantly hilarious and so bombastic.

Worst moment: The conception of his son. Let’s not split hairs, it was rape. He was drugged to the point where he can’t even remember it. The fact that nobody pulls the woman up on this is, well it’s problematic.

Best Performer: Kiki Lane. She isn’t given a lot to do but she plays her character perfectly. You can sense the internal battle of tradition vs. worthiness.

Worst performer: Arsenio Hall. His performance isn’t bad, but there are moments where he plays it a bit too comedically. We’re talking live-action Disney sitcom level of overacting.

Best Line: You’re dressed like a slave from the future.

Original review here

Gunpowder Milkshake

I had high hopes for this. Looked like it would be slick fun. It’s not, it feels very derivative of Edgar Wright’s work. It should not be as forgettable as it is, and that’s a shame. It should at the very least look gorgeous. I mean, it looks okay at parts, but in a Snyder way, where the visuals of the shot are more important than writing how to get there in a logistical way. The whole thing feels like a video game, and not a good one. A cheap one from the late PS1 games where putting women in latex outfits and having the camera focus on their arse in a game was considered “progressive”, even when the game was called something like “Phwoar! Look At Those Tits” and the tagline was “It’s okay to masturbate over this, women aren’t people”. The fight scenes are predictably overedited. Also, the sound design is a little “off”. It feels muffled so that some hits don’t land quite as hard as they should.

+ When it leans into what it actually is, it works.

-Trying so hard to make every image seem “cool”, that none do.

Best Moment: There’s a great fight where Karen Gillan’s character loses the use of her arms, so she gets someone to tape a knife to her hand and fights like that, just swinging her arms around. It’s incredibly creative, can’t remember the last time I saw a fight scene like that.

Worst moment: She bowls a bowling ball at someones head, it smacks against it with a dull thud. With the right sound effect (and obviously the correct levelling of it against the music) it would have been a lot better. Plus it would have confirmed whether it knocked them out or killed them. It could have done either and that scene alone doesn’t do a good enough job of indicating which one it is. It later turns out that it did just knock them out

Best Line: “There’s not a single person on earth that I’d rather kill people with”. That’s my chat-up line btw.

Original review here

Red Notice

One of the last films I watched last year, but I still can’t talk at length about it. It’s the film equivalent of mediocre cod and chips. You don’t know what else you expected, but you know you expected better. It was in that weird middle ground where it didn’t have enough twists that you were constantly on your toes admiring the genius, but it had enough that when there was another one you just felt it was a bit stupid.

You know how when you used to play Tony Hawk games and everything in the levels would be lined up so that you could skate it in one continuous motion? That’s how the action scenes feel here. Like the world was specifically designed to be in an action film. There’s no sense of realness to it.

+ It’s highly unlikely you’ll be bored while watching it

-Nothing stays with you

Best Performer: Gal Gadot

Worst Performer: Ed Sheeran

Original review here

Spiral: From The Book Of Saw

I admire what they tried to do. Making it more of a procedural buddy cop drama rather than a straight-out horror is a great idea and at least shows they’re willing to do something new rather than sit on the same old tired stories this franchise is known for. But the non-Saw parts are probably the weakest sections. The buddy cop elements aren’t given enough time, we don’t buy the central friendship so we don’t feel anything when the partner “dies”. That’s in quotes for a reason, scriptwriters must know by now that in a film like this when a cops partner dies and we don’t see it, we all know they’re not really dead. It’s basically cliche at this point. Nobody is shocked by it anymore, apart from people who have never seen a film.

Also, horror doesn’t really mesh well with Chris Rocks style. He’s a good performer but he’s too “I need to prove I’m funny and cool” to pull it off. It’s so necessary for him to swear and make jokes that it’s hard to buy him as the lead in a horror movie (it’s why nobody has cast Will Ferrell in a similar role).

+ A film that goes this hard on police corruption is incredibly brave to do in the current political climate. It shouldn’t be, “police shouldn’t shoot unarmed people in the back of the head” shouldn’t be a controversial position, but sadly it is.

-Tries to do too much, and doesn’t manage to do any of them that well.

Best Moment: The first kill, really sets up how psychopathic the killer is.

Worst moment: The ending, cool at first, but then when you think about it it just becomes stupid.

Best Performer: Marisol Nichols. Perfect in her role, and her death is the most brutal.

Worst Performer: Max Minghella, his voice is just not intimidating.

Best Line: “Listen up. I know some of you guys think I’m a rat. Some of you think I’m a snitch. Some of you are mad I fucked your mother.” funny, but also weirdly emblematic of the issues with the dialogue in this movie.

Original review here

The Nowhere Inn

I was on board with this film for a portion of it. But as the film went on I just stopped caring It was being weird for the sake of being weird. I like weird, but narrative will always be the most important thing. For a mockumentary to work it needs an element of truth to it. More so than any other method of telling a story, you need the characters to feel real, otherwise, it breaks the whole immersion and just feels like people acting in front of a camera they’ve borrowed (yes, I know they are acting, but a good film makes you forget that). There are moments where it feels like it’s going to examine the characters, but then pulls away. Last year, St. Vincent made an album called Daddy’s Home, about her fathers release from prison. That’s a better method of examining who she is than this film is. O

+ The music is amazing.

-Feels a bit too staged and “quirky”

Best Moment: When she’s being interviewed by a journalist who clearly isn’t listening to her, and who just wants her to send the journalists girlfriend a voice message.

Worst moment: The sex tape with Dakota Johnson, it’s a good scene, but it comes very soon after the previous scene I mentioned and the tonal shift in terms of character is too jarring.

Best Line: “From now on I need more say in how people are going to act” “let’s only document things I can control”. Great at showcasing her delusions.

Original review here

Undergods

Liked the idea, and technically it was good. It’s just the story was dull and I didn’t really care for the characters. The issue with an anthology film is just as you’re getting used to certain characters, their story is over and never referenced.

+ Very good on a technical level. Very well directed.

-Leaves audience emotionally cold

Best Moment: An absolutely brutal double murder at the end

Worst moment: The opening could do more to draw you in. The opening to a film like this should shock you, it should make you think “holy shit” either in surprise or horror. You should be able to show someone it and have them want to watch it. In this, it’s, well it’s kind of dull.

Original review here

Venom: Let There Be Carnage

I really wanted to like this, but it’s far too short. It plays like a film that has already set up Carnage/Cletus as characters. In an ideal film, we will see a world where he is a serial killer first, then have Brock be the one who takes a picture of him which leads to him being put in prison. This would mean that the characters actually have a personal connection before Carnage makes an appearance. As it is it just feels like “Cletus is obsessed with Brock because plot reasons”. To be honest you didn’t even need Carnage in this. Have the film be about Brock/Venom hunting a serial killer, and focus the plot on the separation of Brock and Venom. Have it end with them catching Cletus, THEN go into Carnage in the next film. That way when it comes along we’ll have that feeling of “oh shit, this guy was a psychopath before, he’s going to be even worse now.”

+ Looks great, and the performances are brilliant throughout.

– It should be an 18 rated film. Too bloodless. Ironically, the film never lets there be carnage.

Best Moment: Cletus talking about his childhood, very disturbing, and uniquely told.

Worst moment: I’m still not entirely sure if Reece Shearsmith’s character died.

Original review here

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