Ghost Stories (2017)

A great film. Really, really good. One of the best ghost stories I can remember. I see ghost stories as different from horror. There’s a different air to them really when they’re done well. Horror is a genre, ghost stories are a plot device and a method of utilising that genre (much like superheroes). Of course, because ghosts are heavily linked to death they are often horror movies. But really they can be thrillers, romance, animated kids film, buddy cop, anything really. I mean, I guess technically this is a horror, but I don’t count it as one. Horror is visceral, this is more, I don’t know, chilling, I guess is the right word. You’re not necessarily scared, but there’s a chill that permeates every core of your being throughout, the feeling that everything isn’t quite “right”. This is the closest I’ve felt to reading a scary book, the feeling of being completely trapped in that world and unable to put it down. It genuinely reminded me of reading ghost stories in the car on the way back from my grandparents back in the day.  That’s the kind of atmosphere this film has, an almost nostalgic feel, but at the same time being completely modern. It’s hard to explain, but it just has the feeling of reading a ghost story by torchlight under the bed covers in the freezing cold. That feeling of terror, knowing that you shouldn’t continue with the story but you absolutely have to. That’s down to both quality directing (although the make-up could have been better. The effects generally were really good, but the practical make-up could have been better), and the writing. But none of this would matter if it wasn’t for the performances.

The performances in this are great. Not a single weak link. Alex Lawther continues being a sadly undiscovered gem of British talent, Andy Nyman is a confident lead who plays his character perfectly, and Martin Freeman is, well, he was Martin Freeman. I was surprised by Paul Whitehouse though. I’m mainly familiar with him through his comedy work, but his performance in this was a true revelation. He plays him as the typical “Jack the lad” type, full of macho bravado, who is obviously scared shitless, trying to maintain his masculinity whilst terror haunts his brain. It brings to mind a soldier coming to terms with seeing a massacre. Honestly, not the best performance I’ve seen this year, but without a doubt one of the most impressive.

I think part of my love for this film is down to the narrative structure they use. Anthology films are deeply underappreciated, when they’re done right they provide an experience like no other. They allow you to not only tell the stories themselves, but a singular story that runs throughout the thread of the rest of them, it allows the audience to spot connecting themes and events, even things like colours repeating, and seeing how they all link together. When they’re done well the ending makes you think “that was GENIUS!”, but when they’re done badly it can make you feel like you’ve wasted your time.

For this? It works. The connections are sometimes subtle, sometimes not. But when you get to the end and see the cause and how it all links together you’re impressed. The ending (which I won’t spoil here) improves the entire film. Ordinarily, the ending they give here would be a massive let down, but here it’s SO well set up that you love it. It’s given enough hints so that it wasn’t immediately obvious, but once you know you realise it’s really the only way it could end. And it is one hell of an ending, reality completely breaks down into insanity and brilliance and magic and amazement and FUUUUCK just see this film. Then see it again to catch the foreshadowing.

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A Quiet Place (2018)

Words alone do not do justice to this film. A true game-changer in terms of horror. The typical approach to directing horror films is “quiet, intense music, quiet, LOUD, OH SO LOUD”, replacing genuine terror with jump scares. Which are fine, they scare you during the film, but they don’t completely mess you up and fill you with dread. This film shows the importance of sound in horror, actually, screw that, it’s the importance of sound in cinema in general. It’s a great showcase of the power of cinema, not in a “this film will emotionally devastate you for days” way, but in that it changes the way you watch films. The disadvantages of going to the cinema to watch films normally involve other people: they make too much noise talking or eating or (when I went to see Hunger Games) getting drunk, falling asleep and snoring, then getting annoyed at the cinema staff that they didn’t pause or rewind the film for you (if you think that’s a reasonable request to make: go fuck yourself). This film is different, from my experience (and from what everyone who has seen) everyone in the cinema partakes in an unspoken (hah) pact; if you speak we will hurt you. I haven’t seen a film influence the audience this much since….well, ever. Nobody made a noise, and it was a busy screen. It was actually pretty great, as when there was a loud scene, you could just hear everyone finally open their food/cough etc. When I say “nobody” made a noise, there was a few coughs here or there but that can’t be helped, and if anything, that enhanced the experience. In 1952 John Cage composed the piece 4’33”. It’s basically: everyone in the orchestra puts their instruments down and do nothing for four minutes, thirty-three seconds. The intention is that it makes people listen to the background noise, to make them aware of the atmospheric sounds around this. This film does that, Because the audience noise was so sporadic, when it did happen it wasn’t annoying, it was scary. That’s what makes this film unique, every time you see it will be different because you’ll have to listen to the background noises around you. They’ll be people uncomfortable who’ll be adjusting their position, which creates noise that scares you, that exact scare will never happen again for any other screening, it’s unique to that one experience. It’s a horror movie with audience participation.

It’s not just the sound, the way the film looks is superb too. John Krasinski has done a GREAT job with this. Even more so considering it’s only his third film, and his first horror. Horror is a genre where you need a good director for it to work. Comedy you can kind of get away with it looking bland if the script is good, horror doesn’t allow that, you NEED someone who is a master behind the camera, and the fact he’s this accomplished is a great sign. With him and Jordan Peele doing work like this, this early in their careers, other directors will need to step up their game for their films to be considered great. Films will no longer be allowed to be as cartooney and silly looking as Saw 3D (holy hell that film looks cheap), which is great, as it means more greatness.

His performance was good too. Him and Emily Blunt share an obvious chemistry (can’t imagine why) which really sells their characters plight. He’s been in a lot of other films, but I think THIS is the one where he finally sheds his “Jim from The Office” status. The true star of the film though, is Millicent Simmonds. Not just because it’s good to have an actual deaf person playing a deaf character as opposed to someone with perfect hearing, but because she brings really subtle nuances to the character that just break your heart, and in doing so brings a non-verbal performance that’s up there with Sally Hawkins in The Shape Of Water. Also she made a few script alterations that improved it a lot. Adding “I’ve always loved you” to a father saying “I love you” to his daughter, which added SOOOOO much.

This is the best time to mention the sign language in this film. Due to both a character being deaf, and the fact the characters can’t make noise, sign language plays an important part in this film. And this is where the film does something which turns it from good to great; the characters all sign in their own unique way. Some characters sign very poetically and flow, showing the importance of beautiful language, whereas some sign very short and curt, like they’re in the military.

So yeah that’s it. Watch this film, then watch it again, and again. It has an absolutely heartbreaking moment in it, features an elderly character committing suicide over the death of his wife, and it kills a child before the opening credits, this is a film that truly gives absolutely zero shits about your comfort, and is all the better for it.

Blockers (2018)

I expected to be underwhelmed by this. I thought it would basically be disposable fluff. It kind of is, but it’s also more than that. “Teens make a pact to lose their virginity” is a story that has been told many times in films, albeit usually with guys. And there we get the first big difference: female sexuality is oddly underdeveloped in stories we see. Judging by what we see in films or on television, sex is something that women put up with in order to get flowers from men, as a means to persuade men to do something, or to get pregnant. The very notion that maybe, just maybe, women might ACTUALLY ENJOY sex is woefully underrepresented. So it’s nice to see a film which treats women as sexual beings, and not just in a “men will conquer their resistance to it” kind of way. It even has a gay sub-plot, albeit one which is kind of underdeveloped, which is a shame as the way that Gideon Adlon plays the character is brilliant. Most of the cast play their parts brilliantly actually. It would be easy for them to not care and to phone their performances in, yet almost everyone here is thriving to do the best with what they’re given. Luckily, what they’re given is really good. The script is incredibly funny, gross and puerile, but funny. This got some of the loudest laughs I’ve heard in a while, not just “polite titters”, but genuine belly laughs until it hurts (actually caused one person in the cinema to choke on their popcorn).

The decision to split the time between the two sets of people (the parents, and the teens) is a great move, both in terms of marketing potential (opens it up to a much wider audience), and in terms of story. It means that you can have emotional heartfelt moments, and then a scene of someone taking a beer enema, and because they’re happening to two separate groups of characters, it doesn’t feel too much of an emotional whiplash. The characters are well developed as well, all of the main six are fully developed characters, all with their own unsaid backstories and history. For some reason I don’t see this becoming as big a hit as American Pie, but, honestly, I think it’s better. The writing is smarter, the jokes are funnier, and it’s more grounded. Also, it isn’t (yet) diluted by way too many sequels. I think you could probably get one or two sequels out of this, there’s enough interest in the characters to see them develop into future situations, but it would need to be a really great story for it to work. Also, you cannot recast. John Cena is a lot better at comedy than someone as inexperienced as him should be, his delivery and facial expressions stop JUST short of being over the top. There’s not much chance of him challenging The Rock or Batista for the best wrestler-turned-actor, and he’ll never be in a film as good as They Live, but he won’t be an embarrassment and could easily lead his own sitcom. Ike Barinholtz also plays his character with a lot more pathos and subtlety than you’d expect from the character. This film definitely belongs to the teen cast though, and they nail it. Not a weak link or moment in their performance. Geraldine Viswanathan, in particular, deserves plaudits for her performance. With the right roles, she could easily develop into someone at an Anne Hathaway-like level, definitely one to watch out for.

So in summary, I would recommend watching this film, it won’t be your favourite film, but it will make you laugh. It’s not perfect, it features an annoyingly high amount of scenes in the trailer which aren’t in the film for some reason (like at least half the trailer), which is just odd, and the music choices could have been better in some moments. But other than that I highly recommend giving it a go.

Isle Of Dogs (2018)

Have you ever seen a Wes Anderson film? Or even the poster for one? Did you hate it with every fibre of your being? If so this is not the film for you. The reasons you hate it: the colour schemes, the odd idiosyncratic nature of it all, they’re all prevalent here. But if you’re a fan of his work, then the reasons you love it: the colour schemes, the odd idiosyncratic nature of it all, they’re all prevalent here (thank you copy+paste). Personally, I adored it, and I chose that word specifically. I didn’t love it, it’s not the kind of film where I have a deep personal affection for it and will sing its praises to all and sundry. It’s not a film where I can spend hours talking about how it’s brilliant and everybody should love it. But it is a film I have warm feelings for, it’s the film equivalent of a cosy chair by a fireplace. You watch it and everything just feels, I dunno, right.

Part of that is down to the look of it. The stop-motion REALLY helps this. The style suits the story and is a great example of animation-story integration. If this was a heavily polished CGI film it would lose some of what makes it work. Even if it was animated like a 90’s Disney film it wouldn’t quite work. Characters are roughed up and damaged, this is great as it makes them seem real, like they’re actual things which have been damaged. So when someone is hurt in a fight, the damage stays with them throughout. The vocal work is great too, sometimes in animated films with all-star casts (and with Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray,Ken Watanabe, Scarlett Johansson etc, this is a definitely an all-star cast) it can be hard to be truly invested because every time a character speaks you go “hey, I know that voice”. You don’t really do that with this, probably because of how well suited the voices are to the characters, the characters sound exactly what you expect them to sound like when you look at the character designs.

The way the voices were handled was actually really well done too. The human characters mostly didn’t speak English, but Japanese, because the story is set in Japan (I know that seems obvious, but you’ll be amazed how many films make everybody speak English no matter what the location). The English come from either the dogs, an American, or a translation service, where the Japanese is still audible under the English (they essentially find an in-universe method of dubbing voices, and it’s genius).

So would I recommend seeing this? Definitely. Not if you’re a kid though (and if you are, why are you reading this?) Despite being marketed as a kids film I’m not sure how well this will be received by them. Also, it’s not quite as twee as the marketing and visual style might have you believe. It’s incredibly dark at times, one of the opening moments of the film features a dog dying of starvation, and it doesn’t lighten up too much in terms of story. If you’re a fan of Wes Anderson, watch it, if not, this won’t change your mind.

Ready Player One (2018)

I’ll start this, not with a long pretentious wordy diatribe. But with a quick snapshot of my thoughts from the time I sat down, to the time I left the cinema:

“I’m not gonna like this”

“Oh it’s about individual liberty, in a film made by a major studio and overseen by a group of people aiming to make sure it reaches as many people as possible. You suck, movie!”

“but it’s all fake! These characters need to live in reality”

“just adding references is not a good substitute for plotting and characters”

“I understand that reference”

“Okay that was pretty cool”

“Damn, that’s really well done”

“That guys performance has been really f*cking good”

“hah!”

“no! stupid tears, go back in my eyes”

*melts into a puddle of splooshy mess*

Trust me, I went into this deeply cynical and scathing. I was ready to tear this film a new asshole about how overly commercialised it is, about how it spent so much time trying to please the fanbase that it forgot to put a good story in. Yet as the film went on, I just couldn’t do it, it won me over. The director is REALLY good at what he does (I predict good things for this *checks details* Stephan Spolberg). It reminded me of when I watched The BFG and was just overcome by the pure joy and magic of cinema. Spielberg is amazing at that, he just doesn’t just tell stories, he creates honest-to-goodness art with what he does. Also, he really knows how to get the best out of Mark Rylance. This, Bridge Of Spies, The BFG, he’s played vastly different characters in all of them, and in not one of them did you think “hey, it’s that guy from that thing”, he encapsulated the characters so well that you were drawn in and lost in the performance.

The story is….well you’re not watching this for the plot tbh. There’s not a lot here that will surprise you (with the possible exception of one character revelation that is just superbly well done and makes sooooo much sense), it’s the usual “ragtag group of misfits do good, and the character finds true happiness is in vagina” along with the standard “a relative dies to inspire the main character, as does a step-relative who’s an asshole” (it’s nearly always aunts and uncles who look after the characters in these type of things, why is this?). But it doesn’t matter, because everything is so wonderful and beautiful and amazing that you’re sucked in anyway.

The biggest criticism I have of this is the real world doesn’t seem as fully fleshed out as it could. With the exception of the technology, you don’t really see the real world that much. It’s a shame as I feel there’s a lot of backstory to all the characters here, but it’s not fully explored. I don’t know if the book goes more into it but I’d hope so. It’s all okay though as the VR world is BRILLIANT. The Shining scene, in particular, stands out, not just as a highlight of the film, but possibly one of the best scenes of the year. It’s smart, funny, inventive, and is the perfect use of pop culture references. It actually handles pop culture references a lot better than I thought it would, all of them have reasons for existing. I mean it is odd that in 2045 everyone seems to only be obsessed with things from 80’s-2010’s but there’s really no way you could avoid that without the ability to see the future.

Look, if you’re kind of tempted to see, go see at the cinema, it not only deserves that, but that’s where it’s at it’s best. This film is magic, and deserves to be appreciated as such. It really won’t have the same effect if you sit there watching it alone on a tiny laptop screen, this is made for big screens. This, is, cinema.

Unsane (2018)

This entire film was shot on an iPhone. I think that’s an important point to start out on. With that knowledge, you admire the shots, you gaze at the beauty and creativity of some of the scenes. Without it, it looks incredibly amateur, the colours don’t match from shot to shot, with some scenes looking incredibly washed out. There are some places where it really worked, some of the long shots of the main character shot like it made it seem slightly voyeuristic, like the audience were following her without her permission, which REALLY suited with the script content (a great example of using filming techniques to compliment the tone of the story, one of the best I’ve seen in a while if I’m honest). Also, there were moments where the filming methods made her look slightly insane, like her reality wasn’t quite right. Again, for those moments it worked. But when you apply those same filming techniques to her just sitting there eating lunch whilst talking to her mum, it just seems a bit weird and pointless. It would be like doing a slow-motion sequence of someone taking a dump.

This film would have been great as a concept short, just to prove it can be done. And if it must be a full length I don’t think it should have been a cinema release, I’d have been a lot more receptive to this if it was a netflix release. But cinema, you have different expectations. You’ve invested more in a cinema release, not just money (seriously, I love my cineworld card), but also the time to get there, and being forced to stick to someone elses schedule. At home it’s different, you can watch it when you want, you can even pause it to go make a cup of tea in the middle if you want. You’ve invested less, so you have (not so much less) but different expectations, you’re more open to experimentation.

Now onto the weirdest down for this film, and I warn you this contains spoilers: too much Matt Damon. He has a random cameo in it and it’s really jarring. Because of how realistic the film is played, you forget you’re watching a film, you kind of feel like you’re watching almost like a found footage movie. Then he appears and you remember you’re watching a film. Also, is “unannounced Matt Damon cameo” now a trope? It seems to happen a lot lately. I’m now just going to assume he’s in every single film I watch from now, including porn (especially porn).

All of this is a shame because otherwise, it’s a pretty good film, the performances are pretty good, a lot of acclaim will go towards Claire Foy and Joshua Leonard, but I think more attention needs to go to Juno Temple. Her performance in this is so unsettling it’s a shame she’s not given more screen time. Her character, and the way that she plays her, are so well done it’s like they could be the main character in a horror film.

So to sum up: a Blockbuster film. By which I mean: it would have been the perfect film to rent a few times from a video store back in the day, but you don’t need it in your collection. Unless you’re a film student, in which case you’re probably going to be shown it by your lecturer a few times.

Tomb Raider (2018)

This is definitely the best video game film I’ve seen, although that’s like describing something as “the best smelling piece of faeces”. Video game movies don’t have the best reputation, and for a good reason, most of them are REALLY bad. Like “worst films ever” level of bad. I’m not entirely sure why but I have theories. One is that the movie industry doesn’t take video games seriously so when they make video game movies they don’t do any research into what made the game work, or why people like it. They usually just look at a still image of it and take it from there (for Super Mario I’m not even sure they did that. I would actually love to hear a podcast series where people interview scriptwriters, directors and studio executives to see how certain films came out as bad as they did). So they go in just paying lip service to the source material and it comes out terrible. The other theory is that they deliberately don’t put much effort in as they know “the name will sell it”, then the film gets bad reviews and nobody sees it. This causes it to fail, which then makes studios less likely to put effort into similar future releases as “they always fail” causing a circular journey of failure (which is the title of my biography). The annoying thing is they can be good, some of the best storytelling of modern times has been in video games (especially in terms of original concepts), so if they were made by people who knew what they were doing they could end up being cult classics.

You can tell a lot of effort went into making this, and yes, I am aware of how super condescending that sounds “they tried really hard”. But when watching this you can tell that this won’t be anybody’s old shame. This is one of the few video game movies that works as a movie, to the point where you almost forget it’s based on a game. Admittedly that might be because I missed a lot of references to the games as I’ve never played them (I was always more of a Nintendo person). The trouble with a lot of video game films is they focus more on the “video game” parts, so if you’re not a fan of the games you’ll detest the films, or they’ll be so full of unsubtle references that you sit there going “I assume that would be very entertaining if I got the reference”. This is a movie, first and foremost, it’s not just a video game movie, it’s an action movie that happens to be based on a video game. Which is how it should be, people don’t describe Rambo, Princess Diaries, or Jaws as “book movies”, they’re just “movies”. I’m hoping this film changes things, and that we will soon get more movies like this. Eternal Darkness, for example, would make a great horror movie, and the fact there’s not even rumours of a Saints Row film is confusing to me, after Deadpool proved that that kind of humour in films can make a lot of money, that should have been optioned by somebody and made.

I suppose I should actually talk about the film itself. The story is simple but effective, you’re not going to be wowed by the script really, it’s incredibly workmanlike. It has a job to do and it gets it done. Performances vary, but Alicia “looks like Brie Larson in some films, and Natalie Portman in others” Vikander (yes, that is actually her middle name, honest) does exactly what she needs to. You won’t remember her performance at the end of the year but that’s not a bad thing, on the plus side it means it wasn’t bad enough to become notable (and let’s face it, it’s going to be incredibly hard to stand out as a good performance in a year which both The Shape Of Water and Three Billboards were released). That’s a summary for this film, you won’t love it, but you certainly can’t hate it, and if somebody said it was their favourite film you wouldn’t judge them as much as you would if they said it was Resident Evil, in which case you’d be well within your rights to shoot them.

Gringo (2018)

I subconsciously had really low expectations for this. I hadn’t seen any trailers for it, didn’t even know it existed until the day of release. It also featured some name actors, which is normally a good sign, but if a film with name actors is released with no fanfare, just after the Oscars, that’s normally a bad sign. It’s a sign the studio has no confidence in the film. It also had Joel Edgerton, who was last seen by me in Red Sparrow (just reread that through and that makes it sound like my reaction to that film was to murder him, rest assured it was not. Or was it?). To my surprise, I actually enjoyed this. It’s flawed, but it’s fun as hell.

David Oyelowo is entertaining in this. He normally takes roles in films like Selma, The Last King Of Scotland, and The Help. You know, really serious films aimed at winning awards. This film shows he can do comedy, and do it incredibly well. He has done comedy before, one of his early films was one called Dog Eat Dog, which I remember enjoying when I was a teen (to give you an idea of how long ago this was; I think it was on VHS), but then again I had crap taste in films then (still do to some extent) so I should probably rewatch it. His character is one of the most sympathetic characters in cinema this year, especially compared to how shitty everybody else is.

Kind of loved the story of this, it was so intricately woven, where it was one misfortune that then led to another one, all these different strings tied together to create a whole image and if you pulled just one away the whole thing would collapse. It bought to mind a Noel Coward farce, only with more guns and drugs. It actually is very much like those old films, where a group of characters (some of whom never even meet) are all trying to get a certain object (which in this case, is a person. Awkward) but they all keep getting in each other’s way which means they all get further and further away. A big criticism is some of the characters could have been fleshed out more, Harry Treadaway’s character, in particular, seemed particularly under-developed. Which is strange as in the opening section he was given a lot to do, but the longer the film went on the more it seemed like the writers kind of forgot about him and didn’t know what to do with him. Shame as despite having no idea who he is as an actor, this performance made me a fan. Has an unexplainable presence on the screen where he just seems to fully own everything his character is and does. Really hope I see him again in more things as he’s definitely got the tools needed to be great, he’d make a brilliant villain in a Marvel film actually. So in summary: watch this if you get the chance, but you don’t need to go out of your way to watch it.

Walk Like A Panther (2018)

In the review of Finding Your Feet a few days ago, I mentioned how it was incredibly BBC, I felt something similar during this. This film is so ITV I’m surprised it didn’t come with advert breaks and a thirty-minute stoppage where they show local news and weather. I think I enjoyed this film more than I liked it. I found it funny and heartwarming in just the right parts. But I had to ignore two things to enjoy it, one which I don’t think many people would have noticed, and one you can’t help but notice.

First, the one that not many noticed. The entire premise of the film is that British wrestling is a thing of the past and is a dead industry. This would have worked 5 years ago, but the industry is going through a massive resurgence at the moment, to the point that it’s one of the most highly regarded in the world (only behind America, Japan, and Mexico). I know to most people that wouldn’t bother them, but it just seemed like it meant they didn’t do much research. It would be like if someone made a film about someone attempting to bring football to Manchester, or cricket to India. It’s such an easy fix too: set the film in a different time. Set it in the early 2000’s. This would mean having to change the inciting incident (someone filming an attack on their smartphone and uploading it to youtube) but otherwise, you could keep it exactly the same.

The other thing; the performances. They’re slightly panto at times. Occasionally this helps the story, not every film needs to be gritty and realistic. But there are times when it doesn’t mesh with the story they’re telling. It’s a simple story really: a son who idolises his estranged father enlists his help (and the help of the local community) to save a local building that’s central to the ethos of the working class area. A story that’s been told many times (and seemed to be the plot for most British films in the 90’s). You can go slightly cartoonish, but you also need a certain level of seriousness and down to earth-ness to it for it to really work as well as it should.

I realise this must seem really negative and like I disliked it. I didn’t, I dislike that it could have been so much better than it was. There are hints of brilliance in it, Guz Khan and Scroobius Pip make a great double act with unbelievable chemistry, which is weird as they apparently hadn’t met until filming started. It is INCREDIBLY funny in parts, and in more than one way. You have slapstick elements, you have class-based humour, you have absurdists comedy, basically, the comedy draws from such a wide variety of sources that even if you don’t like some of the jokes, more will be along soon that you will like. The relationships between the characters are also great to see, and the stories between them are very compelling. It’s also surprisingly progressive in a lot of ways.

So in summary: a good film, but I wanted a great one.

Lady Bird (2017)

This film will not be for everybody, and that’s okay. If you enjoy this film, you will enjoy it passionately, you will identify with it in a way that you don’t identify with a lot of films. You will feel it is a personal look into your mind. You will feel like the memories contained within are yours. But if you don’t enjoy this film, you will despise every second of it, you will find the characters annoying and unlikeable, you will find the lack of a clear narrative annoying, and the fact it’s not very “film-like” will annoy the crap out of you. This film is not for everybody, and that’s okay. As you can tell by now, I loved it. I loved how it seemed like a modern John Hughes movie. This film has all the archetypes of a classic 80’s Hughes movie: the outcast best friend, the frustrated parent, the two potential love interests (one of whom is a complete prick), prom, the focus on class differences in American culture (which is a subject which rarely pops up in American cinema, which is odd as it’s pretty much the basis of British cinema), and the obvious focus on music which transcends just accompanying the film, and becomes intertwined with it. Also, Molly Ringwald (or to give her her full name: Molly F*cking Ringwald) totally would have nailed this role. The director/writer acknowledged the influence that Pretty In Pink had on this film, and it’s obvious for all to see, but there also seems to be influenced by other films too; Boyhood, Freaks And Geeks etc. And it’s all the better for it. It makes the film seem familiar, so watching it is like welcoming an old friend into your home.

I read an article on BBC news a few weeks ago asking whether this was the most overrated film up for an Academy Award. They came to this conclusion by comparing critical reviews, and audience reviews. It’s got an average critical response of 94 (based on Metacritic reviews), but only a 77 in audience reviews on IMDB (well, a 7.7, but it’s not difficult to translate the scores). I was worried about that, I liked the trailer for this film and didn’t want to be disappointed. After watching this film I can say this: I know why people dislike it. The narrative structure is all over the place, it’s not a particularly beautiful film from a visual standpoint, and nothing really happens. It’s also INCREDIBLE! Kind of reminded me of Ghost World (which if you haven’t seen I highly recommend) in that it’s not so much about the story, but about the characters. I personally loved the visual style too. It made the whole thing look like a Polaroid picture. That, combined with the narrative structure, and the tone of the whole thing, made it seem like it was just a series of recollections from somebody, jumping from one topic to the next, sections missing as they’re not relevant to what they’re talking about at that exact moment. I know to some people that sounds like hell, and considering how often I go on about the importance of story, you’d think I’d hate this too, but it’s just too damn good for me not to love it. I know it’s early in the year, but I know for a fact that come January 2019, this will be on my list of favourite films of 2018. Usually I appreciate films more than I personally love them, this was the opposite; I loved it more than I liked it, but I still liked it a lot.