The Batman (2022)

Quick Synopsis: Bruce Wayne has to deal with a serial killer known as The Riddler, and also responsibility and past trauma.

I’m going to get the obvious out of the way, this is a LONG film. But weirdly enough it earns it. It’s a bit like watching a 3-hour video of Piers Morgan being punched in the face. Yes, it’s long, but you still wish it was longer. There are a few scenes that could be cut down slightly, but there’s not very much wasted. In fact you come out wanting more, you want to see more of these characters, of this world. And it’s such a well-defined world. Gotham is almost a character in of itself in Batman media, and if you get it wrong it can really harm it. Think of how weird it looked in Batman And Robin. Usually, the way studios do this is to have it feel old, like it’s from a 40’s noir. In this it actually feels like a living city, you can imagine walking around it and living in it. It’s amazing how small things like “bright advertising boards and crowds” helped it feel real.

It’s not just Gotham, this film GETS who Batman is as a character. There’s a moment I didn’t actually notice the first time I watched it. Near the end, Batman is rescuing a group of people from a collapsed building/flood. When he approaches the people who need saving, they don’t respond with “Oh thank you, It’s Batman here to save us”. They recoil in fear. They’re scared of him. He has set himself up as a figure of fear and vengeance to scare criminals into going straight, but in doing so he’s scared everybody else too. He’s not a beacon to look up to and admire, he’s the boogeyman. He’s what parents use to control their kids. “If you don’t behave/eat your homework/do your dinner, then The Batman will get you”. It’s because of that that he realises that he needs to start doing more to inspire people to do good. So yes, this film is set in a time where Batman already exists (and has already put Joker in Arkham by looks of it), but it is still before he is Batman. He already has the fighting skills, the clothes, the vehicles, all that was missing was the hope, it was the final piece of the puzzle.

There was a lot of people doubtful that Pattinson could pull this character off. He nails it. He is a fantastic actor and this could be the film that makes people realise it. There’s not really a weak link in terms of performance, and it’s full of “oh, it’s him” casting. Paul Dano is surprisingly chilling and completely redefines Riddler from a joke to a psychopath.

Part of that redefinition is due to what Reeves did with the film. This isn’t an action film, it’s more of a detective drama/psychological horror. It’s a fresh and unique take on the character, and one that’s really obvious when you think about it. It’s one of the few times in modern films where we actually see him do detective work, being very careful not to damage crime scenes, use logical deduction to come to conclusions etc.

I have spent this entire review just gushing over how much I loved it, and it’s for a good reason. It’s genuinely incredible and I am in awe of what was created. Go see it.

Médecin De Nuit aka The Night Doctor (2020)

Quick Synopsis: Mikaël (Vincent Macaigne) is a doctor on night call. He looks after patients from underprivileged neighbourhoods, as well as drug addicts. We see his nightly work as he’s torn between his wife and his mistress, and embroiled in trafficking fraudulent prescriptions.

The trailer had me excited. It looked like it was going to be incredibly intense and dark. And while watching it, I was on board. But the longer the film went on, the more my fondness for it dulled. It’s one of those films which you think is really good as you watch it and see it unfold, but after setting up all these narrative dominos, it seems to get bored and wander off, so it just leaves you feeling unsatisfied. It’s a shame as there are some great performances in here, and some incredibly tense moments. But overall a lot of it feels inconsequential.

I know this sounds cheap and goes against my usual “all about the narrative” viewpoint. But this needed a gimmick. Maybe it would have worked if it was done as a one-shot, as that would have shown the chaos he’s going through, and his panicking would have seemed real. But considering how much driving is in this that would have been difficult. The best bet would have been to have it like Locke, all take place in real-time. Most of the conversations with his wife could have been done over the phone. as could his dilemma with the mistress and cousin. It’s hard to love this film knowing that if they did it another way it would have been SOOOO much better. The character in this is supposed to be panicking and feeling trapped, but we never really get that. We never feel much emotion for him and his troubles, we just feel like an observer. It’s not helped by the fact that the longer the film goes on, the less you buy him as a character. He overpowers seasoned drug dealers too easily and at times it feels like self-insert fanfiction. The only person he doesn’t seem to easily physically overpower is his cousin, he goes from “quickly punching people in the face and taking them out ” to “awkward grabbing”.

That moment comes just after he had a fight with notorious drug lord Ossip, who is one of those characters who is supposed to linger over the entire film, but in reality, doesn’t. You don’t feel his presence looming over when he’s not on screen. He’s not built up as a danger. If we saw him executing somebody, then he’d feel more of a threat. As it is you don’t really get that “oh no, he has to do this or that drug lord will harm his family”. The film tries to fix this with the ending, but the way they do it seems cheap and is done purely to get the sympathy of the audience with the main character. That’s the issue the whole film has, by the way, it doesn’t know how to treat the main character. We’re supposed to sympathise with him, but he’s quite unsympathetic. But done in a way that constantly justifies all his bad decisions. It’s like the writers want to create a morally complex character, but want to ensure we still sympathise with him.

The King’s Man (2021)

Quick Synopsis: World War 1 spy shit

First off, that’s a weirdly awkward title. It feels like it’s designed to confuse people who are asked to get it as a Christmas gift for someone, they’re definitely going to accidentally get Kingsman. Awkward title aside, this is a fairly fun movie. The biggest flaw is that it doesn’t really feel like a Kingsman movie. Spy movies are usually full of futuristic gadgets and technology, so I was curious as to how this would be done in the past. Turns out, they don’t. The closest they get is “this is a parachute”.

It’s not as slick as the previous films are either. There’s nothing that comes anywhere close to the church scene from the first one. That’s kind of to be expected as those scenes were based around music, and with this being set during the first world war it would have been weird if they played modern songs during it, so the options were limited. Also, since the society isn’t set up yet, you don’t have the style that the other two films have. So this is a Kingsman film without the gadgets, the music, and the style. You know, the three things which are the cornerstone of the franchise.

It is weirdly fascinating though. It does play fast and loose with historical accuracy, but then there are moments that are more historically accurate than they need to be. Rasputin really was that difficult to kill in real life, he was poisoned, shot, then shot again when he got back up. Also, the moment where Archduke Ferdinand was killed was more accurate than you’d think it would be. He really did survive an attempted bomb attack, and then end up being shot because his driver took a wrong turning and ended up going past a cafe where Gavrilo Princip was sitting, who just stood up and shot him and his wife. I’m sure there are even more historical bonus’s that I missed, and I look forward to finding out about them.

If you look at this outside of being a Kingsman movie, it’s fine. It’s entertaining, it’s funny, it’s violent, and it’s interesting. There are a few small missteps though. One is the pacing. There are moments that are far too slow and plodding. This film is over 2 hours long and you can easily lose about 20 minutes I’d say. Especially at the start before the reveal, we know where the film is going and it takes far too long to get there. The other issue is the reveal of the “big bad”. It’s far too obvious. If a film like this keeps a character in shadow and doesn’t let you see their face for most of it, 99% of the time it’s because it’s a character the audience knows. Chronologically this is the earliest film in the series so it can’t be someone from one of the other films, and there’s really only one person the film has been introduced to that it could be. It’s way too obvious and incredibly disappointing, even when the film tries to misdirect you by thinking that character died, since you don’t actually see him die, you know he probably survived, that’s just basic film language.

If they revealed him at the start it could have been better. Yes, you would have lost the shock, but you would have gained tension. When you saw him in a room with one of the good guys, in the back of your head will be the worry that he’s going to kill them.

There are moments of greatness though. There’s an almost silent action scene set in No Mans Land which is incredibly ballsy and unique. Actually, the best parts of this film are when it’s on the frontlines, they provide the pathos needed, great action scenes, and fantastic character work. That section is disappointingly brief but does lead to a moment that will surprise the hell out of you. It’s one of the few genuine shocks I can remember seeing unfold on screen for quite a while.

So in summary. See this, but you can afford to wait until it hits television screens.

The Boss Baby 2 (2021)

Quick synopsis: No, I’m not summing up this up. It’s too stupid, watch the trailer.

I’ll start off with the obvious. This is not a good movie, for most of it it’s not even watchable. Fundamentally it suffers the same flaw as the first one where the general concept isn’t buyable. It’s not like Toy Story where you can imagine toys coming to life. There is no anchor of reality to ground yourself in. We know the reality of babies, everybody alive was at some point a baby, so there is no truth to the lies this film tells. This specific plot doesn’t work either. So they have to become babies again to infiltrate a school, right?

1) they need to be babies.

2) Why does it have to be them?

I’ll answer both of those questions: because we, the audience know the main characters as babies and we need to see them like it again. It only happens because this is a film, more specifically a sequel. This film establishes that Tims daughter Tina is a boss baby too. So why didn’t she do it? She wouldn’t need a special potion that turns her into a baby briefly, she already is one. She has all the connections, and she already knows what to do and what to look for etc. The film says her real mission was to bring the two brothers back together. What do they care? The brothers are initially brought together by a faked voicemail, but it’s so obviously fake that it wouldn’t actually fool anybody.

Now onto the biggest issue I had with this film: it takes place a MUCH longer time after the first one than most sequels (I’d estimate about 20 or 30 years after). Instead of focusing on Tim as a kid again. We are introduced to his kids. This means that the returning characters have completely different characterisation, because they’ve aged 30 years since the last time we saw them. So really we don’t know these characters. This goes for the relationships between characters too. It’s based on his relationship with his brother. But it’s completely different from the last time. Because the last time we saw these characters they first met and had a frayed relationship, then started to get on with and love each other. This takes place when they are estranged. But we never got to see them in a decent relationship really (except for like 10-20 minutes at the end of the first one). So the entire thing is based on relationships and a past which we haven’t been privy to. It’s like we’ve missed the back story we need.

There is some consistency for the characters, but it just makes the film worse. Tim is still talking to his toys and imagining them coming to life. That made sense in the first one because he was a child, and that’s what children do. But now he’s an adult, so it just comes off as kind of weird. He has kids and yet still has the mentality of one. This is what happens when you have a sequel featuring characters who are the same, but are at fundamentally different stages of their life.

It signposts the jokes way too much. There’s one in particular which you can guess about 3-4 seconds before it happens. It doesn’t try to subvert it in any way, it plays the joke completely straight. The original film was released 4 years ago, so the audience who enjoyed the first one would have matured, but this film hasn’t. It’s like it’s aimed at people who only discovered it in the last year. 4 years is a very long time in childhood. The difference between a 5 year old and a 9 year old is immense in terms of taste and likes.

Now onto the good. Jeff Goldblum is perfect in his role. Kind of. His voice is perfect for the character, and it looks perfect for him in still images, but he moves in such a jerky way (think standard annoying youtuber) that it is distracting and weird. It also does that thing almost every film does with holograms where it makes them glitchy and broken. No matter how much of a genius a character is in a film, they can never create holograms which actually work. The movement doesn’t match his voice either, he has the voice of someone who either stands still, or paces back and forth, not jump around all over the place. Also, his character is not a boss baby, just a baby who is intelligent, so why does he have an adult voice?

Other things on the plus side: the line “they’re going to send in the Baby Seals” made me laugh a lot. And there’s a musical interlude which is sweet, creative, and incredibly heartfelt. It’s everything the rest of the film should be but isn’t. It’s almost Pixar-esque. Such a shame the rest of the film doesn’t come anywhere near.

Here Today (2021)

Quick Synopsis: Comedy writer Charlie Burns (Billy Crystal) forms a friendship with local singer Emma Payge (Tiffany Haddish) and starts depending on her more and more as he begins to suffer from the effects of dementia.

What is it with 2021? Normally you get a film about dementia every few years. This year there’s been three. Annoyingly, all three have been really good but in different ways. The Father dealt with the frustration of being deep into it, the confusion and panic that causes and the absolute hell that is daily life for not just the person suffering, but also the close family members. Supernova was based on the fear of knowing what’s coming, and wanting to exit it before it happens. Also the fear of loved ones watching it happening. This? This was different. This was more about coming to terms with it yourself and trying to hide it from others out of some misguided sense of pride.

All three have had one really important similarity: the performers are all a certain type, they all play people who are normally in control of the room. Anthony Hopkins normally plays people who are in control of situations. Stanley Tucci normally plays people who are smarter than everybody. And Billy Crystal normally plays characters who’s minds are quicker than everybody else, so they always have a quip ready for any situation. I’m not sure if the casting implications were intentional or not but it’s brilliant either way as it means we see them out of their comfort zone.

As an audience member I have a strange view of Billy Crystal, I never really seek out things he does. But I will always be glad to watch something he’s in. He’s clearly got a great comedic mind that never feels like bullying. His voice runs through this film, not just because he’s in it (obviously), but he also co-wrote and directed it. It’s not just about him. He’s confident enough as a writer and a performer that he allows others to take the spotlight. In this that shared spotlight goes to Tiffany Haddish, who I’ve seen before in Keanu, Lego Movie 2, and The Kitchen. She does a great job here, her character could be annoying and unlikeable if played by someone else. She provides her with enough humanity and warmth that even when she is doing incredibly cliche things, it works and you love her.

That is a downside of this film. It occasionally feels like you’ve seen a lot of it before. You will know what’s happening before it happens most of the time. But that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable because the way they do it is still great. It’s like a rollercoaster, just because you can see the track coming up doesn’t make it any less enjoyable.

There are a few moments where it feels like the film is slightly going off the rails and it has a chaotic energy that really wakes you up. There’s one scene in particular which stands out, when Crystal’s character interrupts a live recording of a TV show he works for to chastise the performers delivery. It’s genuinely hilarious and the reaction from it gives you a very warm feeling. It’s a scene that’s really needed as it closes off one of the running jokes, and it’s also the last big laugh scene of the movie. After that it gets very serious. You need that comedic high before you go to the depressing lows, it accentuates both beautifully. When this film hits, it hits hard. Part of that is because of how funny it is, the mood whiplash the film provides is perfect.

This is not a perfect film though, the plot is a little bit too predictable at times, and the moment where he has a “moment” at work in front of colleagues is never really followed up on enough. It felt like they couldn’t think of a good way to carry on that story, but ignoring it means that a huge part of his life and character is ignored, and it would have been nice to see how the cast react to the news. Either they’re told, and we get to see their concern or worry. Or they just get told he’s gone away, and we see how they react to that. As it is it’s just dropped and forgotten.

There are also moments where it seems to be veering into rom-com territory, which is just strange to watch and doesn’t really work. It works better when they focus on the friendship and don’t bother with the romantic side (which they don’t up dealing with anyway).

Is still a really good watch though. The writing is brilliant, as are the performers. I now want to see Louisa Krause in more things, there’s something of the Helen Hunt about her and she is just incredibly loveable in her role as his deceased ex-wife. Her scenes are a good example of the best and worst of the film. The flashbacks are all from his POV. It’s a brave move that takes some getting used to but it makes sense, it’s his memory so that’s how he’ll remember it. It really puts you in his shoes. Sadly she has an appearance at the end which doesn’t really work for me. Crystals character goes to a cabin they shared, he’s there with his family being all cosy and facing the future, and gets a vision of her sitting nearby. I get what they were going for but it didn’t really work for me and just seemed a little silly. Would have been better if it dissolved from him and his family there, to him and her there in the past talking about the future. Would have given the film a moment of visual beauty, which it doesn’t really have enough of (the beauty mainly coming through character moments).

The section leading up to that shot is great though. His family being told about his condition, and the instant 180 from “we hate him” to “he’s our dad and we need him, we can’t have our final interaction be what it was” is believable and is genuinely making me tear up just recalling it here. That’s what this film leaves me with. Not the dull final shot, but the emotion the whole thing made me feel. Truly beautiful and I highly recommend it (plus the ending is made up for by Haddish doing a Bob Dylan cover, which I truly didn’t expect).

Toni And Cleo (feature-length script)

So as you may know, I occasionally post my own scripts on here, and that’s what today’s is about. Sometimes with my longer scripts I’ll post updates as I go so that you can see it all develop and come together. That’s not the case here, all I’m giving you is that it’s a follow-up episode to this. For those of you who didn’t click that, first off; rude. Second: a school shooting occurred. That’s all that’s relevant from that episode to this one. It features the same situation, but different characters and a different time frame. I hope you enjoy, worked really hard on it and incredibly proud of what I’ve managed to do:

Spoilers, so read that before you read on.

This went through quite a few different iterations while I was writing it. The moment where she burns the pictures of her son as she thinks he’s the killer, and only finds out the truth too late? That was originally the ending. Decided against that as it meant I was unnaturally delaying the characters from getting to that location. They would have gone straight there so narratively it was difficult to make that interesting. Would have just been people driving and talking, and that’s quite difficult to make compelling. My next ending was her finding out that her son was actually a good person, and beat people up for a good reason. Again, I brought that forward, because Toni was too sad and I needed to do something to cheer her up. The other major change was introducing the character of Esther. I never planned her to be in it, she turned up in the script one day and I was intrigued by what I could do with this character. I then decided to adjust the timeline and have a lot of it take place in flashbacks, so the show started on the set of Esther and we kind of worked the story back towards that point. The original opening was Toni’s husband leaving her. I don’t think it added anything to the story or the characters, so I deleted it and it doesn’t feel like it’s missing so worked out for the best.

The introduction of Esther also allowed me an antagonist. In the original draft the antagonist role was taken by someone very different: Toni’s sister Cleo. This is why the way they interact in the car from the airport is drastically different from how they do otherwise. I felt Toni needed someone who supports her, and Cleo was the best choice. It didn’t require much changing, I changed some of their dialogue to take place between Toni and Esther instead, other than that I kept it the same. That’s kind of weird but I feel it makes sense in the story, the two sisters do react with some hostility when they meet, and that relationship does change so there is the chance it could come off as unnatural. But luckily I made this change when I got to the part of the story where the shooting happens, so the audience just sees it as “they’ve put aside their petty differences because they’ve realised what’s important”. So it weirdly makes sense (albeit completely accidentally).

The other change was the ending. It did end with Esther shooting herself, and ending I was never really happy with, only had it happen because it needed an ending and it needed to be at that point (was going to make it twenty pages longer but when I got to that point I just felt “this has to end in the next few pages, otherwise it would feel wrong”). I’ve changed it so she walks out in shame (was going to have her arrested, but despite being a horrible person, she never technically broke any laws, plus, I knew enough about her character to know she’d flourish in prison). A fantastic ending is out there somewhere, I just need to try and find it.

Yeah, that was that. I hope you enjoyed it, any feedback will be greatly appreciated, and thank you for your time. Oh, and I am aware I labelled this a “feature-length” script, despite it being a television episode. My aim for every episode of this is that they could work as stand alone features with a little tweaking, and I firmly believe that to be the case here. Plus, if I said it was episode three people would feel they would have had to read the first two (which considering I haven’t written the second one yet, would be difficult)

My Spy (2020)

I mentioned in my review of Stuber last year my hope that this would be the film that causes Batista to go from “oh yeah, that guy” to “THE guy”. Sadly that’s not the case. This film is predictable, the villains are SEVERELY underdeveloped, and a lot of the actions of the characters don’t make any sense if you think about it for more than a minute. It’s also REALLY fun and well worth a watch.

Yeah it has some flaws, but I seriously doubt you’ll regret watching it. It’s funny, sweet, and has enough unique parts to stand out. It sets its tone very early on with a hostage situation that turns into laugh out loud comedy, and a reference to Iron Man 2 (although if the MCU exists in this universe, who played Drax?), and then plays a car chase to foreign language covers of I Will Survive and My Heart Will Go On. It’s a cheap laugh, but it’s a laugh nonetheless. It’s also something you don’t really expect in this film, a bit like the high number of Notting Hill references compared to most comedy action films.

Now when I say “things that don’t make sense” they’re mainly character-based mistakes rather than impossibilities. For example he stands in front of a class and admits he’s a spy. Number one on the “list of things needed to be a good spy” would be “never mention you’re a spy” yet he never suffers any backlash from this. (Number two on the list, by the way, is “a preference for cheese sandwiches over ham”, I don’t know why that’s important, it just is.) It’s strange as he suffers for other things he do which aren’t spy-like, but not for this. It’s a very sweet moment, and incredibly funny, but like I said it doesn’t make that much sense. I mean, it is worth it for his description of his time in the service when he mentions killing people: “they were all terrorists, human traffickers, or really annoying”

One thing is made abundantly clear in this film: Batista is f*cking huge. You don’t normally notice it because he’s paired up against similarly muscled men. But when you see him standing against normal people, you realise he’s a massive human being. Like, scarily large.

So in summary I think you do need to see this. It’s not like “omg that was so smart and brilliant” but near the end they think a helicopters about to explode so she begs to do a slow cool-guy walk away from it. it doesn’t blow up so he throws a grenade at it so she can do it. How can you not love a film like that?

Wolf (2019)

I hadn’t heard of this film until it came out. I was going to avoid it until I saw the synopsis: a werewolf movie set during Roman invasion of Britain in 150AD. I was sold immediately. I was ready to go into this movie and enjoy it, I even had my facebook post ready for when I came out. It was going to be a true highlight of the year, and a great example of independent British cinema. I mean, that synopsis, plus that badass poster, this will be a film I rave about to everyone.

There’s just one small problem. One small thing that stops me loving this film; it’s a steaming pile of shit. I don’t say that lightly, I mean every single negative word I say about this film. Some films I don’t like and I know it’s a personal opinion and that others will love them (Wild, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood etc). In cases like that when someone says they like it I won’t disagree or think less of them. If someone said they liked this I’d assume they worked on it, and even then I’d have to ask if they’re sure. When I reviewed Father Figures (as seen here) I said this:

“I mean, it’s technically a film, but only in the same way that a Pot Noodle is technically food. I mean, it has moving images which are projected, and there is recorded sound that goes along with it, and you watch it in a cinema.”

In retrospect, that line deserves to be in this review. This film is incredibly amateurish. Almost everything about it is sub-student level. The acting (where the main cast include the director/producer, and the editor) is full of “are you sure that’s the best performance?”. Yes, the editor is in this film in a main role, and he fails as both an actor and an editor. The editing is a mess, far too many moments are cut WAY too quickly so it’s disorientating as a viewer. It’s not even during action scenes, standard conversations are cut in a way that gives you nausea. It will cut to a character who says a single syllable word, and then cut back to the other person. This doesn’t happen, but if a conversation consisted of:

“alright?”

“yeah”

“good”

“you?”

“good”

“k”

“k”

“k”

then this film would have cut between them for every single syllable. That’s not the worst part about the editing, this film makes a cardinal editing sin; the audio changes between shots. So if you have two people talking, the background noise will be completely different depending on who’s talking. That would be a failing mark in a student film, in a film you’re watching at the cinema it is simply unacceptable. There’s another issue with conversations; people stand still whilst talking. In a film where they constantly talk about how quickly they need to move because they’re being hunted by a werewolf, every time they talk they stand completely still to do it. I’m guessing it was done for budget reasons as they couldn’t get tracks to do tracking shots, and handheld would have ruined it (although there are a lot of handheld shots in this, and yeah they’re bad), so they just had static cameras. But it makes the characters look really fucking stupid.

On the plus side, the makeup was really good. There’s a scene where someone bathes in a lake and you see their back covered in scars, it looks REALLY effective and kind of horrifying, especially since it’s not mentioned, it’s just subtle enough to be disturbing. And then they mention it in a way that ruins it. The other positive about this film is that eventually everybody involved in it, and everybody who saw it, will someday die and cease to exist. I’m not kidding, and I know you’re going to be sick of me saying this, but I cannot stress enough about how much you need to avoid this film. There were quite a few people in the screening and you could hear the laughter at some of the serious parts. I technically got in for free, and I still want my money back. I’m not even going to touch on the many MANY historical inaccuracies in this film.

It’s a shame as you can tell they put a lot of effort in, and it is a GREAT concept. But the film is without merit.

Songbird (2018)

Occasionally there are some films released that for whatever reason I don’t end up seeing at the cinema. I try to make a list of the ones I’ve missed and watch them, but there are some I have sadly still not managed to watch (Anna And The Apocalypse, Ingrid Goes West, and Tragedy Girls are three films I’m still really disappointed in myself for not catching yet). It can be harder to grab my attention when I watch at home due to more distraction, yet there are some which have ended up being some of my favourite films (The Last Word and The Young Offenders being the best examples). And sometimes there’s a reason I didn’t see at the cinema, and that reason is the film is pretty terrible, incredibly boring with nothing resembling a plot, and featuring actors who I usually like yet when they share a screen have less chemistry than a science experiment which consists of throwing mud at a chicken (conclusion; it annoys the chicken). This is one of those. I really wanted to like this film. I want Cobie Smulders to be in great films, yet with the exception of MCU films the only time I’ve seen her in a film I’ve enjoyed it’s turned out to not be her but Gemma Arterton.

I also usually love Jessica Hynes, she’s usually really great in things. Plus, Mandeep Dhillon has been in so many brilliant-yet-unknown TV shows (seriously, check out Some Girls if you haven’t already). Plus it’s a film about a musician, how can I not love this? The last British film about a struggling musician I watched was Wild Rose, and that movie was emotional to the point of sheer brilliance at times.

Well, one issue is the music. It’s established she’s a musician who was in a band that had a massive hit in the 90’s and is now reduced to tiny pubs. That doesn’t affect the plot much, like there’s nothing really that happens that could only happen to someone with that background. There are not many moments where people recognise her (which would have led to some great comedic scenes) or (and this is the biggest wasted opportunity), press intrusion on her private life. The film is ostensibly about her band breaking up and so she decides to go to university to study marine biology, I think. I mean, that’s what happens are the start of the film and seems to be the inciting incident, but it never incites anything. We never see her in classes, or studying, or meeting large groups of new people. We see her meet her dorm mates, but that just leads to more story dawdling. Apparently, this film was highly improvised, and it shows, there’s zero focus to the scenes, the scenes happen yet nothing happens in them. They’re just people filling time with dialogue. This means that a lot of moments feel false, particularly the main romantic relationship. It never feels real and they never seem to feel fully comfortable with each other.

This would be fine if it was a great example of an art-house film. If the mood and beauty of the whole thing rendered it a work of cinematic brilliance. But it’s not, it looks okay, but never more than that. Because of the improvised nature of the film that makes it really hard to tell a story visually as you don’t know what the story is when you’re filming. So everything looks kind of, I don’t know, standard? Like it’s been filmed, but in a way that doesn’t showcase film language. I’ve seen it described as “shot like a student film” and that seems painfully accurate. Actually no, it doesn’t. Film student directors tend to put A LOT of thought into shot composition, the good ones do anyway. So yeah, that’s how I’m ending it. It’s a film without love, without story, and without care.

Pokemon: Detective Pikachu (2019)

Very exciting today as I’ve got a guest reviewer. For the first time ever we have a star of the movie here to talk about it. So, here we go:

Pika, pika. Pika pika pika pika? Pika, pika, pika pika pika (pika pika, pika pika pika). Pika pika! Pika, pika pika pika? Pika, pika pika pika pika. Pika pika, pika, pika pika pika. Pika pika? PIKA! Pika pika pika! Pika!

God damn it Pikachu you’re the fucking worst. Guess I’ll have to do it. This film is weird, tonally it’s a complete mess. You’ve seen the trailer, so you’re probably expecting a silly lighthearted movie that makes you happy and warm inside. That’s definitely not the case here, this is tonally incredibly dark at times. The film starts with a kid finding out his dad died in a car crash, then moves on to themes such as abandonment, slavery, and of course a scene where the heroes flat-out torture someone. It’s not as funny as you’d expect it to be, there are long sections with no humour in them at all, but that doesn’t lessen the film in any way. When it veers into comedy it does so naturally and veers into emotional moments well too. It’s not going crazily from one extreme to the other like a drunk driver, it’s slowly changing lanes so subtly that sometimes you don’t realise. Some things that don’t work quite so well; the human characters are a bit flat, and the villain reveal is incredibly obvious from anybody who has seen a film before.

On the upside, the world-building has to be commended. There are a few moments where you think “that’s definitely London, I recognise that building”, but mostly the city feels real, it feels like a place people actually live with a vibrant history. So I’ve talked about the look of the city, now how about the pokemon? Anybody who has seen the Sonic trailer can see that translating something from a video game into real life can go incredibly wrong. While we’re on the subject here’s my thoughts on the sonic trailer: it looks like it was made for kids from the 90’s, but forgot that those kids are now adults. So the core audience seems to be adults people who were in comas for 20 years, and time travellers. So with that in mind how does this look? In a word: phenomenal. In a sound effect: *sharp intake of breath*. They look amazing, they look so good that sometimes you don’t notice them. There are scenes with a lot of them in the background and they are so well made that you don’t realise they’re there. That’s this films greatest achievement, not the performances (which with one or two exceptions are kind of just “there”), not the story (which wastes so much time on pointless things), and not the emotion it makes you feel, the greatest achievement is it feels incredibly real. And that’s the biggest worry for something like this. It really works, the visual style, the pokemon in the world, visually it’s incredible, and cannot be faulted for that. This may not be the best film in the world, but I get the feeling it’s going to influence something phenomenal (but not Sonic The Fucking Hedgehog).