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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

Aquaman (2018)

Before I saw this I accidentally glimpsed a review that stated this film was “The DC Black Panther (and much better than the MCU one). To which I say…….nothing because I’m too busy laughing. Aquaman is good, but not better than that. It looks great at parts, and the opening fight scene is better than a lot of the Marvel fights purely on the basis it doesn’t do that “cut before every punch lands” thing that Marvel does, it holds on the action so you see contact and it makes it seem real. But that opening fight scene? Takes place like 15 or 20 minutes in. Before that we get the character backstory. So, we get the backstory to someone we’ve already seen in two movies already. A backstory that’s not really needed, certainly not seen. All of it could have been just dropped throughout the film. I mean, yeah that would have meant not opening the film with Nicole Kidman, but it would have meant opening the film with your main character. The way it’s done is like it’s trying to build up audience excitement to see the character, like it’s building up his appearance, but we’ve already seen him in other films. By the time the character comes around I was actually kind of bored., which was my main issue with the film, it was WAY too long. It’s nearly 2 and a half hours, yet contains only 2 hours of film. There’s A LOT of filler in this movie, so many moments just happens to either pad out the runtime, or because they want to put an action scene in.

There are a few other problems, but a lot of them are personal preference. Like people dismiss the idea of Atlantis existing, but this is a world where Superman exists, and Aquaman has been seen with him. The catfish is out of the bag when it comes to heroes etc in this universe, you can’t pretend people are surprised or don’t believe in this.

I have been negative against this film, and I think I’m making it sound worse than it actually is. Truth is, it’s not a bad movie, it’s just dull and formulaic. There’s very few moments in it which will surprise you, it mostly does EXACTLY what you expect it do, all the time. I find it hard to hate this movie because it does have moments of greatness (the way they play with the “random biker assholes start a bar fight with the main character” trope was hilarious), but not enough of them, and they’re usually just fleeting. Also, the main villain reminded me too much of Randall from Clerks and it kept putting me off:

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Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018)

Before I start on this review I have to give out the biggest negative about it, and it’s one that will stop many people seeing the film. This film has intense flashing lights, so if you have epilepsy, or have sensory processing disorder, this might not be the film for you. That’s actually really annoying that that was not publicised. I mean, shouldn’t films that do that have a warning? We have warnings for “contains mild peril”, but not this. That’s…..really fucking weird and needs changing.

Now, onto the film…..this film loves the character of Spider-man, you can tell this by the way it mocks him sometimes. It’s like the lego batman movie in that way, it does make fun of previous films, but it’s done with such knowledge and love. This is a different kind of comic book movie, for one thing it’s REALLY weird. It’s a film for kids that deals with multiverse theory, didn’t get that in Thor (well you might have done but I didn’t pay attention because it was awful, or Thor-fal if you’re the type of person who feels the need to cram puns in where they don’t fit). It’s incredibly meta, but not too much so. None of this would matter if the actors didn’t put effort in, but the voice work here is great too. The film-makers didn’t skimp when it came to casting, you’ve got real talent here: Hailee Steinfeld, Lily Tomlin, Nicholas Cage, Liev Schreiber, Kathryn Hahn etc.

I mentioned the intense flashing lights earlier, apart from that this film looks SUPERB. The animation is some of the best you’ll see, with multiple styles displayed across the film, each incredibly distinct and gorgeous. The fight scenes are done brilliantly too, you never lose track of whats happening, the final fight in particular is a masterpiece of surreal film-making that plays out like a AAA video game boss level.

The soundtrack too, is amazing. It really suits the film, the songs are not only great but they go perfectly with the images. It does what a soundtrack should do, it complements the film perfectly. It also features what has to count as the best and most heartbreaking Stan Lee cameo ever. This is the first film released after his death (not counting the Deadpool 2 re-release), he appears on screen after Spider-man dies and says “I’m going to miss him”. F*cking heartbreaking. The most depressing part of the film, and there’s quite a lot of them, I mean, the original Spider-man gets killed early on, and all the alternate spider-men/pig/women are haunted by a death of someone, they’re defined by guilt about who they could not save. This is the best time to mention the characterisation of the different universe characters; they are all fully fledged characters with motivations and back stories. This could be a film to launch a franchise.

I honestly believe this might be the best Spider-man movie ever made, it’s VERY close. But yeah, the no warnings about flashing lights of that nature is hard to look past.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)

The most positive thing I can say about this film? They tried. They really tried hard. They tried to build off the amazement of the first film, create their own story, set up a universe, and tie it into the Harry Potter universe. They really tried. The trouble is; they failed. Badly.

It’s like they didn’t really care that much, to the point where it seems like bad fan fiction. They didn’t care about carrying on the legacy of the first film, the ending of which was slightly heartbreaking and sweet and wonderful and completely undone within the opening 5 minutes of this film. Let’s remind ourselves of what happened at the end of the first film: Grindelwald is captured, and Dan Fogler’s character has his memory wiped. Opening of this film; Grindelwald escapes, and Fogler’s character didn’t actually lose his memory (this is explained in the worst bullshitty way possible, that’s so bad I won’t spoil here, but needless to say there is no way it was planned).

They didn’t care about creating their own story, a lot of issues people have bought up about this film have had people respond with “but it might pay off in a future movie”. No, fuck that. It’s okay for a film to be part of a series, but it needs to stand on its own two feet to be considered worthy. It’s fun to bingewatch a movie series, but if bingewatching it is the only way the movie is good, then you’ve failed as a writer.

They didn’t care about setting up a universe. As mentioned before, so many of the moments which are intended to set up the universe, just end up being annoying and frustrating the audience.

They didn’t care about tying into the Harry Potter universe. They messed around with McGonagall’s age so that she’s middle aged and working at the school before she should even be alive. They made Nagini human, which kind of makes Neville Longbottom a murderer, and COMPLETELY changes the nature of Voldemort and Nagini’s relationship, makes a it a lot creepier. It’s a bit odd really as both of those things didn’t need to be done. McGonagall being there didn’t add anything to the plot and nothing would have been lost if they just made her a completely different character. Nagini, also, never really came into the plot. They also don’t seem to understand the Mirror of Erised, treating it like a magic flashback machine.

There are other issues with the film too. A lot of the action scenes aren’t really very cinematic, and consist of people waving their arms about as pretty lights go around. It’s not an action sequence, it’s a light show. It also has an ending that’s so bad I’m not going to mention it.

 

 

Actually you know what? Fuck it I’m mentioning it. It turns out Ezra Millers character is Dumbledore’s brother, no, not the one who got caught doing things with goats, the other one, you know, the one that has NEVER been mentioned or even alluded to at ANY point. Yes, it surprises me, but that doesn’t mean it’s good. If I ordered a pizza and got a piece of shit, I’d be surprised, but I’d also be annoyed and feel cheated. And that’s how I feel about this movie, I expected pizza and got a turd.

I feel it has to be said that Jude Law does make a GREAT Dumbledore in the extremely few moments he’s in this film. If it was focused more on him, I’d have enjoyed it a lot more. Also, the set design is BEAUTIFUL, the whole universe looks fantastic. It also has just enough charm to carry it through the worst parts. And finally, whenever I type the title of this film into my phone it autocorrects it to “Fantastic Breasts”, which makes me laugh as it sounds like something from Wallace And Gromit.

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“Cracking breasts”

I know it seems like I’m being overly harsh on this film, and I am. But it should be better. I’m not expecting it to be the best film of all time, but I’m expecting internal logic and consistency. People have been following Harry Potter for years now, and it deserves a lot better than this.

Mortal Engines (2018)

I’m still entirely unsure how I felt about this to be honest. I’m kind of glad I’ve seen it, but I never need to see it again. For one thing, the characters were all incredibly dull (and there was a lot of them), most of the characters have no chance of being remembered as great YA movie characters in years to come. Tbh I can barely remember their names. There’s two possible exceptions: Hester (not, as I thought, Esther) has a definitive look and backstory which at the very least means you remember her. I get the feeling she was better developed in the book, and they cut a lot out to fit the film. I mean, her character backstory is well developed, but her non-flashback character is kind of bland and not there. There’s another character called Shrike (who I thought was called Shrek until just now) who is a great character, but is disposed of far too easily. He has a heartbreaking backstory hinted at, and could easily be a bigger part of it. I think that’s my issue with this film, it goes through about 3 films worth of concepts in one, but doesn’t really flesh out any of them.

It’s also far too long. This would be fine if it didn’t feel so long, yet so much of the time in this is wasted with stuff that ultimately means nothing. Even Shrike, great character that he is, only seems to exist in the story as a way to move the characters on. That’s all he seems to do for a lot of it, turn up, the characters move, he turns up again, the characters move again. In some senses he’s not a character, he’s a plot device.

Tonally the film is a bit all over the place, random references to masturbation are followed by deaths. It takes itself far too seriously a lot of the time, as such it’s just, well it’s not very fun. It’s a film about moving cities, at the very least it should be fun to watch. I mean, it’s GREAT to look at. Props to everyone involved for the designs of the places themselves. The trouble with a lot of films similar to this is there’s so much CGI that everything looks super clean, buildings end up looking like pieces from video games. In this everything looks REAL. You look around at the background and see decaying buildings, wear and tear on machinery etc. THAT’S the art of great set design, creating little imperfections can make a world seem perfect. Similar to that, the world design is fantastic, there’s a LOT of lore and world history to unpack here. Although I do have to point out one thing very early on that annoyed me: they imply that people using phones and computers caused them to forgot how to read. Have you been on the internet lately? It’s 50% people getting your/you’re mixed up, and 50% people shaming the first group of people. Also, don’t criticise something for “dumbing people down” when you’re a dystopian YA movie that makes references to Minions.

So yeah, see this at the cinema, maybe watch it at home if you’ve got a big enough TV to take it all in, but it’s hard to recommend that you watch this for any reason other than the scenery. 10/10 would play a video game of this though.