2018 Film Awards

The “Well I Liked It” Award

Gringo

I don’t get the hatred for this. The story was solid and the performances were great. It also looked fantastic. I could understand people thinking this film is just “okay”, but to score as low as it has genuinely confuses me and I don’t get it. I feel part of it is due to the (lack of) marketing which put the idea that this isn’t a good film in peoples heads.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 38%

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Best Scene/Moment

Blackkklansman – The Montage

I’ve touched upon it before but the closing montage is amazing and is one of the most devastating moments of the year. It really puts forward the idea that we, as a species, are kind of fucked up.

Deadpool 2 – Deadpool “fixes” things

That was hilarious and wrong and I loved it. It proved why Ryan Reynolds is the correct choice for Deadpool (as if there’s any doubt of that now) because he’s that willing to make fun of himself and admit his past superhero film mis-steps.

Game Night – Egg Keepaway

Was pretty much done as a one-shot, very well done and the scene made geographical sense in terms of what you saw about the layout of the house.

Creed II – The Of The Fight

It made me feel emotion for a complete bastard. I loved it.

Infinity War – The Snap

Possibly. I didn’t think they’d be crazy enough to actually fucking do it. Now let’s see how they handle the next step.

Hereditary – Charlie’s Death

Mainly because it came out of left-field and was so brutal and unexpected it literally inspired the words “what the cocking shit-fuck was that?” to be put in a blog. It side-footed almost everybody who saw it.

Winner

Halloween – Michael Myers Goes Through Houses

A brilliant piece of film-making. He just goes through houses killing people. He doesn’t do it in a flashy way, with lots of jump cuts and scary sound effects. He just casually walks in, stabs, walks on to the next house. It’s a great display of a serial killer being effective as you could hope for in cinema. It’s like he’s not killing out of hatred, but because he just feels like it.

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Worst Scene/Moment

Co-Winners

Truth Or Dare – The Ending

Obvious sequel hook is obvious. And it made the main characters seem like completely selfish dicks. Effectively the ending is “I will massacre millions of innocent people” and this is seen as “sweet”. Nah, it’s sociopathic.

Show Dogs – The grooming scene

The only film in this blog that i haven’t actually seen. But it has a scene which features someone telling the main character that if someone in authority is fondling his genitals he should just be quiet and go to his happy place until it’s over. Not to escape it, or to stop it, but simply to put up with it. What a fantastic message to send to children.

Biggest Disappointment

Downsizing

Okay, I don’t know exactly what I expect from this film but I know one thing, I expected SOMETHING. This was just really dull. It’s over two hours long and every minute of it drags like someone learning to swim through treacle. Important characters are just forgotten about. It has moments where it looks like it’s going to tell an interesting story but then backs away. There are a hundred different stories you could tell with this scenario, and this decides to tell none of them.

Red Sparrow

I like a great spy drama as they usually have great plotting and look amazing. They also usually are technically brilliant, a chance for directors to really show what they can do. This didn’t do any of that. It did nothing. It was flat, lifeless, and worst of all, dull. I never cared for the characters (which is a minor problem), and I didn’t care for the plot (which is a major problem). How disappointing was it? Put it this way; if I fell asleep half way through, I wouldn’t have checked wikipedia to see what I missed.

Winchester

It’s a horror movie with Helen Mirren, how could this not be great? *watches it* oh, that’s how.

Truth Or Dare

I do love a good teen horror as they’re usually pretty funny and well-done. This was not. The story was so boring and the characters were so annoying I was actively rooting for them to die. Most of them did, but you couldn’t get any satisfaction from their deaths as they were so heavily sanitised there was catharsis. Also, the ending reveals one of the characters to be a selfish bitch, and obviously sets up for the sequel. Ultimately this is one of the worst films I’ve seen of the year.

The Cloverfield Paradox

I don’t know why I was surprised by this. The second one was a disappointment too. But I thought this one would be different. It had a more obvious connection and had Chris O Dowd. But nope, still made a bland story that isn’t as smart as they think it is.

Winner

The Happytime Murders

I wanted this to be incredibly funny, crude, and, most importantly, made with love. This was just really dull. They didn’t even really make the most of the gimmick. They just used it really to make “puppets swearing is funny” jokes. It’s not just that this film is not great, or that it’s not even good, it’s actively bad and I genuinely didn’t expect that. A crushing wave of disappointment hit me relatively early on and never stopped. It’s a shame as a puppet-noir comedy would be great. It it was done well.

Funniest Film

Nominated

Game Night

I expected this to be thoroughly okay, yet I loved it. Yes, some of the laughs are in the trailer, but most of them that are then lead to something even funnier, or are funnier in context. I was laughing my ass off through some of the dialogue in this, and the physical comedy. It’s a great comedy of errors which can be difficult to pull off without annoying the audience.

I Kill Giants

It’s not funny continuously, but when it is funny it’s HILARIOUS (see also, Lady Bird).

Blockers

This film was filthy! And all the better for it. This would not have worked if it was heavily sanitised for a younger audience, the crudeness makes it. Plus, I’ve said it before and I WILL say it again, it’s refreshing to see a gynocentric teen sex comedy. It helps that it is REALLY funny with dialogue that’s endlessly quotable dialogue. This could have been forgettable, in the end it was memorable.

Winner

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Deadpool 2

This film could be 90 minutes of somebody punching a kitten in the face, and the ending tag will still cause me to list it in one of the funniest films of the year. Okay, I am a sociopath but the point still stands. You spend so much time laughing here you miss jokes, which you then get the second time.

Scariest Film

Blackkklansman

Not a horror film, no, but that closing montage is fucking terrifying.

Halloween

This film made Michael Myers scary again. And showed why Jamie Lee Curtis is awesome. But it would have been for naught if it wasn’t actually a scary film itself. And it is. Everything about it works to create a classic horror film.

The Cloverfield Paradox

I’m a big fan of body horror when it’s done right, very few things can beat it. There are a few moments in here which are incredibly creepy and disturbing. It would have been creepier on a big screen though.

Ghost Stories

This wasn’t “something’s coming to get you!” scary. This was more “unending dread and feeling that something is not quite right” scary. It’s just so damn, “off” throughout. You constantly have the feeling that something weird is happening and you’re not entirely sure what. It keeps you on edge throughout and means you can never really get comfortable.

Winner

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A Quiet Place

Now this is “something’s coming to get you” scary. This wins this award for the effect it had on the audience. Everybody watching it is too scared to make any noise. The thing is, I’m not entirely sure the audience is aware of it. They just know not to make any noise during the screening. It’s a horror film which affects behaviour. Much like how Jaws made people scared of sharks, Psycho made people scared of showers, and Truth Or Dare made people scared of spending money on cinema tickets in case they see a film as bad as that again.

Best Animated/Children’s Film

Nominated

Early Man

By the team behind Wallace and Gromit, so you know you’re not going to get something bad. Aardman rarely make anything that’s not a lot of fun. They may lack the emotion of Pixar, but they’re more enjoyable a lot of the time. Not as good a film as Coco, but probably a better kids film.

Goosebumps 2

Horror is a genre which is difficult to aim towards kids, yet when it works it’s absolutely wonderful. Kids don’t mind being slightly scared, it’s why Scooby Doo works (and is probably most kids introduction to most of the staple horror movie icons; Frankenstein, Dracula etc). So I’m glad this film worked as it shows there’s life in the genre and will hopefully inspire more.

Isle Of Dogs

This one is here purely based on the animation. If I found out a kid liked this I’d assume that they’re actually an adult pretending to be a kid. It’s just too, I dunno, Wes Anderson-ey for kids I think. The animation is f*cking superb though. It looks absolutely breathtaking.

Spider-man: Into The Spider-Verse

Weirdly animated, there’s been nothing else which looks like this in a while. It’s not quite a comic book come to life, but it’s very reminiscent of the style. The story is also great, teaching kids about multi-verse theory is not something a lot of films do. The voice acting is also great with some weirdly a-list cast members in somewhat minor roles (although I am disappointed Spider-Ham wasn’t voiced by Jon Hamm).

The Incredibles 2

I watched this on a plane and still loved it (most of it anyway, the guy sitting next to me was about 40 seconds ahead of me watching the same film and it annoyed me as I’d never win that race). A great mix of satire, slapstick, and superhero greatness. And it looks amazing.

Winner

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Coco

Obviously, I was going to mention this. It’s Pixar, and I love Pixar. They’re seemingly incapable of making non-great films (when they don’t involve cars). This film is so great that it almost seems like an insult putting it in this category. This is not just great for animated film, this is a great film full stop. Emotionally engaging, funny, and beautiful to look at.

Best Film To Look At

Nominees

Game Night

Only for the moments where they made real houses look like game pieces. A subtle touch that was not necessary, but I loved it, it showed dedication to the craft.

Coco

The colours! Never has death looked so pretty. It’s the cinematic equivalent of looking through a kaleidoscope. I’m not 100% certain but I think you could enjoy this film with the sound off, just enjoying the visuals of the whole thing.

Mortal Engines

Purely for the genius in the set design.

Hotel Artemis

This film was beautiful in its ugly nature. It was dirty and grimy and felt like if you touched it you could catch something. It was brilliant.

Ready Player One

Not so much for the quality of the visuals, but for the amount of shout-outs and hidden references they crammed in in the background and didn’t draw your attention to.

Shape Of Water

A film you don’t so much watch, as absorb. A simply beautiful piece of cinema.

Spider-man: Into The Spiderverse

The animation for this made my eyes water with joy. So smooth, so distinct, and so…..right.

Winner

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Black Panther

The Afrofuturism look to Wakanda was SUPERB. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like this before. Marvel have had some criticism for their films but they seem to have a knack for picking the right director for a lot of their stuff lately. The film Ryan Coogler directed before this? Creed. Which, yeah, was GREAT, but in a completely different universe from this one, needed a different skill set so it was a risky move, but one that paid off.

Best Actor

Nominees

John Krasinski – A Quiet Place

“I love you, I have always loved you” scene alone would get him nominated for this. This film proves he’s more than just “Jim from The Office”. I think viewers of that show knew he was good, as that had a lot of emotional moments that reduced people to tears. But I don’t think many people expected him to be THIS good. A great performance, in a film that deserves it.

Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody

Playing Freddy Mercury is not something that’s easy to do. He had a certain other-worldness to him that a lot of people can’t pull off. You need to have the charisma so that if someone saw you walking through the street they’d know they are somebody. He doesn’t quite manage it all the time but gets so damn close you can’t help but admire it.

Woody Harrelson – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

He got nominated for a lot of awards because of this, and there’s a good reason for that, he was great in it. Playing the role with a great mix of sadness and anger that won’t be a surprise to anybody who saw his work in War For The Planet Of The Apes. In the last few years, he really seems to have found his niche as an emotionally conflicted actor, and this is one of the best examples of it you’re likely to see.

Michael B.Jordan – Creed 2

I was tempted to put him in for Black Panther instead, his performance in that almost overshadowed the main character, but a lot of that was also down to superb writing. A lot of performers I feel could have done that and made the character work. This, this had to be him. His facial acting is great. There’s one moment in particular which stands out. He’s arguing with Rocky and says something incredibly harsh, just by his facial performance you can tell that he regrets saying it but is too proud to apologise.

Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

It must have been so easy to play this for laughs. To make this character a one-note joke. For him to turn this character into one of the most compelling characters of the year deserves acclaim, luckily he achieved that with the number of awards he got nominated for/won for this role. It’s odd to me how when discussions of great actors are bought up, people don’t mention Sam Rockwell anywhere near as much as they should. Seriously, watch Moon, that film is basically him acting alongside himself for the entire duration, and it works wonderfully.

Paul Whitehouse – Ghost Stories

I’m not saying this is the best performance of the year, but it’s so notable that I felt it needed to be mentioned. I mainly know him from comedies, yet seeing him in this makes me wish he did a lot more drama. I could definitely see him doing work in the theatre.

Winner

Doug Jones – The Shape Of Water

There are two things which make it hard to give a great performance: 1) not being able to speak. 2) being under heavy makeup. Imagine how hard it must be if you do both? How he managed to do this I have no idea, but he created an absolutely compelling character with his performance here. Turning someone who visually is like the creature from the black lagoon into something lovable. Humans are essentially sociopaths who find it hard to feel empathy for those who aren’t like “them”, this is why it’s so easy for the press to demonise immigrants and people they deem “others”, because of a complete lack of empathy. So for us to feel this much for something that we know isn’t even of the same species is something truly incredible. Now all we need to do is get The S*n to go fuck itself.

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Best Actress

Nominees

Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

She is amazing in this. Turns what could be a hateful character into one you can’t help but root for, even when she’s doing terrible things. Nominated for Academy Award, and it’s almost impossible to argue with that. A great mix of fantastic storytelling, and simply superb performance.

Jodie Foster – Hotel Artemis

Because she’s Jodie Foster and you almost forget just how incredibly she is when she wants to be, and she clearly wants to be in this. Every part of her body is acting in this, even the way she walks tells a story. She knows her stuff, and it show.

Millicent Simmonds – A Quiet Place

A great performance, and hopefully leads to more deaf people being cast in films. Acting is a decidedly able-bodied job for some reason, casting directors would rather cast an able-bodied actor and put them in a wheelchair, than cast someone who’s in a wheelchair. It’s odd and makes no sense. But what does make sense is the sentence “Millicent Simmonds was AMAZING in A Quiet Place, I wonder what she’ll do next” (not the most subtle segue back, but meh, I’m taking it). The emotion she portrays in this film can bring tears to your eyes. She doesn’t have the easiest job this year, but she does it, and does it well.

Sally Hawkins – The Shape Of Water

Yet another strong performance by someone whose character could not speak. As such you lose all vocal nuance and subtleties, yet she still provides one of the most emotional performances you’re likely to see. I don’t often agree with film awards (I still maintain that Shakespeare In Love is not an Oscar-worthy movie in any aspect), but the plaudits and acclaim she got for this have been well deserved.

Hong Chau – Downsizing

Yeah, I was not a fan of the film. But her acting in this was brilliant and it’s criminal that she wasn’t even nominated for an Academy Award. The best way to describe her performance is she’s like a flower made of iron. You feel an urge to protect it despite how strong it obviously must be.

Winner

Toni Collette – Hereditary

Obviously this was going to be mentioned. And with good reason. Her performance is potentially game-changing for horror films as it means “well it’s just a horror” isn’t going to be an acceptable defence of bad performances. This is one of the only horror films I’ve seen lately where I’m genuinely surprised it didn’t get Oscar nomination. It definitely deserved it.

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Best Character

Lady Bird (played by Saoirse Ronan) – Lady Bird

Some people will find her annoying, I found her endearing. Yes her dialogue was a bit too “written” at times but I didn’t care, I enjoyed her that much.

Barbara Thorson (played by Madison Wolfe) – I Kill Giants

Spiteful, bitter, and sarcastic. What’s not to love? Also she gave me some of my favourite bits of dialogue of the year. It’s great because she started of as a real force to be reckoned with but as the film went on you saw her vulnerabilities and sadness. Most adult characters aren’t written as well as this.

Harold Soyinka (played by David Oyelowo) – Gringo

A film which nobody seemed to see last year, which is a shame as it’s a real hidden gem of 2018. Some of that is down to the MASTERFUL plotting, but most of it is down to just how damn likeable the main character is. A character who is shaped by his events with a definitive arc that seems real and human. A lesser actor would have made you pity him and view him as kind of pathetic. The way Oyelowo plays him, however, you’re with him all the way, it’s brilliant to watch.

Winner

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Killmonger (played by Michael B. Jordan) – Black Panther

It’s no secret that Marvel has struggled to make compelling villains. Most of the time they’ve just gone with “The hero, but bad!”. They’ve got slightly better lately; Vulture and Ego, in particular, were impressive, Hela, not so much. Killmonger, however, was utterly compelling. A great villain is one that you kind of agree with. Ones that you listen to them and you can see why they have people follow them. It makes them seem better characters so they have a bigger impact. This character is so compelling, and so, well, right, in his believes that you sort of feel like joining him yourself. You know who he reminded me of? Steve “Leopard” Leonard from The Saga Of Darren Shan books. A character motivated by hate who has done awful things, but his death still shocks you and makes you tearful as you feel he was never really in control of his own destiny.

Best Film

Nominees

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Not a nice story, but a very, very good one. Everything about this film just works. The script, the performances, everything. It’s not perfect, but the things I didn’t like about it are mainly just personal preferences. This is not an easy film to criticise, it’s the kind of film that could change you when you watch it. It’s ugly, but beautiful.

Coco

One of the first films I saw this year, and as soon as I saw it I thought “I should just stop going to the cinema now”, I feared that everything else would seem mediocre after watching this. This is Pixar at their emotionally devastating best.

Halloween

It stopped Michael Myers being considered a lumbering idiot. It essentially had to redo decades of mistakes. It did that, and then some.

A Quiet Place

A masterpiece of film-making. Scary, heartwarming and with great performances. Oddly enough the sound design is great too. I went in expecting to like this, and ended up loving it.

Winner

Searching

As much as I loved the other films on this list. NOTHING came close to this. Nothing. I’m aware there’s a difference between films I love, films which are good, and films which are impressive. This is all three. Not just one of the best films of 2018, genuinely in my top 10 movies of all time.

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So, that’s it, I’ll see you next time.

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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.

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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.

capture7
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.

 

 

End Of 2017 Film Awards

Our final look back at 2017, after this it’s onwards and upwards as we look forward to the wonders of 2018 (by which I mean, Coco, Ghost Stories, and Three Billboards, two of which I’ve already seen, so really the year is all downhill from here)

Best Actor

Winner

Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out

The entire film sinks or swims on his performance. If he doesn’t give a good performance then this entire film sinks. The writing, the directing, it’s all for nothing if you don’t buy the central performance. Fortunately, he’s superb. Not just vocally, visually he just owns this performance. Starting off seeming really cocky and arrogant, then ending up terrified. If this doesn’t lead to him leading more films then I officially give up on Hollywood.

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I know, the film that had this in the trailer ended up being creepy, who’d have guessed?

Other Nominees

Jason Sudeikis. – Colossal

Genuinely creepy and unsettling. Brilliant. I expected his performance to be comedic and one-note but he managed to turn in a magnificent performance that made him seem like the creepiest person on the planet, but believable. You could see his thought processes in play and knew why he was thinking like that. The revelation about his creepy persona makes sense because of how well it’s been set up. A sign of not only a great performance, but also great writing.

Hugh Jackman – Logan

This is a personal choice, because I didn’t think he could do as much as he did in this. The way he carries the character contains a lot of backstory. He’s no longer the invincible hero, he’s playing him as someone who knows his time is up. Someone who knows he’s not long for this world and is struggling to face his own mortality. It’s a depressing performance for a comic book film, but works wonderfully.

Best Actress

Winner

McKenna Grace – Gifted

Want to know how good this performance was? It was a performance by a child actor that I didn’t hate. The character is a know-it-all smartass. So it would be incredibly easy for her character to come off as annoying and pretentious. The way McKenna plays her, however, is great. She’s played as someone who knows the downside of her intelligence, someone who knows that whilst she is much smarter than her uncle/caregiver, that doesn’t necessarily mean she knows more than him. It’s played with a slight vulnerability to her which renders her incredibly easy to root for and support. No idea where she, as an actress goes from here but I’m intrigued.

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And she had great chemistry with Chris Evans

Other Nominees

Anne Hathaway – Colossal

I do love Anne Hathaway. She’s most known for romantic comedies sadly but has a phenomenal range. For proof of this watch Rachel Getting Married, she gives an amazing performance as a recovering addict haunted by her past choices. She’s just as good in this. Some of that is obviously down to the script, but a lot of it is down to the performance. She plays someone who is broken incredibly well, I’d like to see her as a psychopathic killer in a film.

Mandy Moore – 47 Meters Down

Yes, THAT Mandy Moore. What do you mean, who’s that and what’s that song? Do you people have no respect for late 90’s pop? Damn kids, get off my lawn! Anyway, in this, she was very, very, good. So good that I forgot I was watching a former pop star and just got heavily invested in the story. I kind of forgot I was an actress and felt I was watching actual people. That’s not the easiest thing to do.

Worst Film

Winner

Wish Upon

Very bad, but all the worst because it had a good concept. If a film is just bad, that’s okay, if a film is bad but has the potential to be good, I find that a lot harder to forgive. Even the good parts of the film seem to have come from other, better films.

Other Nominees

Sleepless

Dull, dull, dull. So boring. I’ve suffered from insomnia for years and this film almost put me to sleep. It almost feels like it would take effort to make an action film this dull, so in some ways, it’s actually quite impressive.

The Belko experiment

It runs out of ideas before the trailer has even finished. Would be a great short, but as a feature-length film, it’s an abomination.

The Dark Tower

“surely this isn’t as bad as everybody says?” It is. It really is. And serves as more proof that Idris Elba really needs to fire his agent.

Best Film Moment

Winner

Atomic Blonde: The Stairwell Fight

I am a sucker for a good really long shot. Especially in action sequences. I love nothing better than a fight scene where you can almost feel the impact of every hit, where’s there no cutaway before every impact. If one of those goes on for a minute I’m in heaven. I know that doesn’t seem long, but sit back and time that out, and picture a fight scene with no cuts lasting that long. Bit difficult isn’t it? This was NEARLY 10 MINUTES! Now this isn’t actually, one shot, it’s just edited like that, but it’s still a really impressive feat and is visually magnificent. The seemingly unedited nature of it means when the character hits someone, you really feel it. It feels like a fight, rather than a fight scene. It’s actually really great character work too. It means you don’t view Charlize Theron’s character as some kind of invincible hero, you view her as a human who is potentially one mistake away from being severely injured.

Other Nominees

Wonder Woman: No Mans Land

No Mans Land. If you want to explain Wonder Woman as a character, and as a feminist icon, show this scene. Without a doubt the best moment in the DC cinematic universe, by a long shot. This film may have been underappreciated when it comes to the oscars (which is something I don’t agree with, but I get why), but this scene is something that I feel deserves to be seen by everybody.

Spiderman Homecoming: The Car Scene

You know the one, where Michael Keaton’s character is taking Peter Parker to the school dance and slowly comes to the realisation of who he is. Marvel films have had great action set pieces in films lately, but this is a great character piece. It’s a testament to both the script and the performances that what could have been dull turned into one of the tensest scenes of the year.

A Monster Calls: The Stories

This was a great film, super depressing and wonderful. But there were moments throughout the film where it became magnificent. Whilst the Liam Neeson tree was telling stories (it’s an odd film) the art style switches from a normal live-action film to something which can be best described as a living water-colour painting. The images flow through each other like they’re made of water showing off a multitude of colours leaving the viewer gobsmacked at the pure unrelenting beauty of the whole thing. This is the one out of the three that you might not have seen, so here’s the scene in question:

Best Film

Winner

Get Out

Not just a good film, a very very important one too. This is like the fourth time I’ve had to talk about how much I love this film in these end of year blogs. It’s had almost everything you need. Great story, great actors, great script, great directing, not too many cliches. This film will be spoken about for years to come, and hopefully, lead to a resurgence in socio-political horror.

Other nominees

Logan

More than just a superhero film, a great western tale about morality and mortality, with a great performance by Dafne Keen too.

IT

Yes, Get Out is a better horror film. But this was more than that. This was a great coming of age film. Genuinely heartwarming with characters it’s impossible to not to love.

The Big Sick

I’m a sucker for romcoms, and I’m a sucker for depressing bleak films. Who’d have thought they’d be a film that can combine both? Made all the better for the fact it’s based on a true story. Also the winner of the “Most surprising cameo by a cast member of Crazy Ex Girlfriend” award, which doesn’t exist as an award, but if it did, this would win it, and Downsizing would win the award for 2018, and nothing else because it was dull.

The “Well I Liked It” Award

Winner

Murder On The Orient Express (Rotten Tomato Score: 57%)

The visuals alone should have merited a higher score for this. I think part of the dislike for this is just because it’s a remake. Every single remake has had people bitch that it’s different from the original (I bet back in the day people were complaining that DeNiro in Cape Fear wasn’t as good as Robert Mitchum in the original). Yes, the glut of remakes is a problem. Actually, no, strike that, the glut of lazy remakes is a problem. You can remake anything you want as long as you put the effort in. I would much rather watch a remake made with love than an original idea made “just because”.

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Nominees

Table 19 (Rotten Tomato Score: 26%)

I’d accept a low 50 score for this, but 26 is far far too low. Incredibly funny, great performances and a magnificent script. I’m a sucker for great dialogue, which this had in spades.

The Last Word (Rotten Tomato Score: 37%)

Do people just not appreciate dialogue any more? Yes, the story was cliche at times, but the way it told it was magnificent. Also it should be commended for promising something dark, and then delivering on it rather than just going for the happily ever after ending.

Best Film To Look At

Winner

Blade Runner 2049

Because LOOK AT IT!

https-blueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.comuploadscardimage544323446eb31c-fe20-47df-8552-01dd10cd480dDo I actually need to say anything else? It looks so gorgeous I almost made an audible response so many times. Almost every shot could be used as a poster.

Also nominated. 

Kong

Mainly because it proved that spectacle cinema can still work in this day and age. I’m a cynical person so assumed it would have no impression on me. Yet I was amazed when I watched it. Was sucked into the universe completely.

2017 In Film: Part 5 (The Amazing)

47 Meters Down

Superbly done. Also had one of my favourite endings ever. It made it look like it had a “slightly unhappy but full of hope” ending, then it went the other way and made it super depressing. Most of the film takes place underwater, and it looks gorgeous. There’s one scene where a flare is going through the ocean water and you it’s almost complete darkness apart from the small flare making its way up, beautifully done. Since most of the film is underwater it relies heavily on performance. Luckily Mandy Moore completely knocks it out the arena with her performance in this

+Claustrophobic

-Getting a sequel. Because sequels to shark films always go well. Advice; don’t go 3D and hire Michael Caine.

A Monster Calls

This is not an easy film to watch on an emotional level, almost seems like it’s attempting to emotionally blackmail the audience. It’s kind of a mix between Pan’s Labyrinth and a Neil Gaiman book, sort of a modern-day fairy tale. There are moments whilst the tree is telling stories (it’s an odd film) where the film switches visual styles so it almost becomes a living watercolour painting, it’s awe-inspiring and genuinely new, never seen anything that was done like this (the closest is when Hermione was telling the stories of the Three Brothers in Harry Potter and the style switched to a weird animated one). The only previous film I’ve seen of the director was The Impossible, and that was in 2012 so can’t remember too much about it, but I can remember being really impressed with the way he directed certain moments in it and was really good at creating visual tension, which is a good sign for his next film; the Jurassic World sequel

+The art styles when the monster is telling the story

-Longer than it needs to be. Sigourney Weaver’s accent wavers.

Atomic Blonde

Like a companion piece to John Wick, looks superb and the music is brilliant. Had one of my favourite soundtracks of the year. And there’s one scene which everyone has to see; a single shot fight scene that lasts about 15 minutes, one of (in fact probably the) best fight scene I’ve seen all year. It doesn’t cut away before impact like most do, it’s mostly silent, no music so you hear every hit, and the fight has an effect on people, you can see them get gradually more exhausted as the fight goes on. Highly recommend seeing this.

+THAT scene. Also the soundtrack.

-Comparisons to John Wick are inevitable.

Baby Driver

The opening scene alone ranks it among one of the best films of the year. Very well done. Great films usually inspire you into film-making. I think this has the opposite, this is like “yeah we can’t match that”. Bound to inspire a lot of poorly-done imitators. Yes, the plot is wafer thin, but it’s so fun you don’t notice. You don’t sit there thinking “well I know how this story is going to end”, you think “oh my God! Did you see that?”. It’s a non-blockbuster version of spectacle cinema. Everything about the way it’s made just works, the way the music complements the action and vice versa, the way the car chases are impressive without being unrealistic, the fact that Jon Hamm continues to exist.

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Even Jamie Foxx agrees

The love and dedication that goes into this is obvious. This was not “film by committee”, this was a true passion project, and it shows through every inch of the screen. It’s also surprisingly American. The open road, the American dream, diners with endless coffee are all essential to the story, so it’s weird that such an American film was made by a Brit, this feels like the film where Edgar Wright has finally stepped away from under the shadow of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

+A technical masterpiece.

-The plot is wafer thin. And the female characters are woefully underwritten. Oh, and it’s got Kevin Spacey in it which makes it an uncomfortable watch.

Blade Runner 2049

I have not seen the original film, don’t get me wrong, I am aware of the film, and it’s importance, and I understand a few references to it. This, combined with lots of people saying they didn’t understand this film and that it was too complex, made me think that I would hate this film. Not because of what the film is, but because I just wouldn’t get it. My response was going to be “it’s good, it’s just not for me, and I was really confused”. Well, I was confused, I was confused by the confusion. People are talking about it as if it’s a really complex plot where you have to pay close attention to everything in every scene and do a lot of research beforehand to understand, I knew nothing and still knew what was going on, it’s not that complex if you’re paying even the smallest amount of attention. I mean, I understood it and I’m basically a moron.

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“that fourth raindrop from the left is actually vitally important, if you miss that you miss everything”

Was surprised that Harrison Ford didn’t appear until MUCH later than I thought he would. I expected him to make an appearance at about the 1/3 mark. Nope, it was more like the 2/3 mark. Which was a bit strange as he was all over the marketing campaign and was the lead in the original, so a lot of people would have been waiting around him to appear. Although I suppose this did mean that by the time he did appear, everybody was already invested into the story, so he didn’t really take away from Gosling. Make no mistake, this is Gosling’s film, and he nails it. Although the supporting cast does a great job too, So many of your new favourite actress’s will be in this film. A lot of unknowns were cast, yet gave amazing performances. Ana De Armas and Carla Juri deserve special mentions. They both portray their characters with enough vulnerability to make them believable, yet enough determination that they fit this universe. Their characters were great too, you imagined they all had lives outside of this film, they exist on their own terms, not just related to the story.  It felt like you could write entire novels based around them.

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This scene is actually genuinely quite touching in the final film

The world itself was beautifully created as well, not just visually (although it was visually stunning), but also in terms of believability. Those of you who read the review of Valerian will know how important I consider world building to be, particularly in this genre, for films like this the universe it’s set in is almost a character in itself, so if you don’t do that well it really effects it. Done really well in this though, everything looks just dirty enough to be real, yet clean enough to be futuristic. On that note; this film looks SUPERB. You could pause this at almost any point in the film and use that as a poster. This, combined with Arrival last year must surely make Denis Villeneuve one of the best-regarded directors around.

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I also liked how the story threw a genuine curveball in the closing stretch. I do like a good twist if it’s well done. That’s the trouble with a lot of plot swerves, they come out of nowhere and make no sense. A good one makes sense, a GREAT one will be so logical you’ll feel stupid for not realising it sooner. So in summary, this is going to be one of those films that pretentious film buffs constantly try to show you, let them.

+LOOK AT IT! Seriously, just look at it.

-Not a “popcorn film”, in the slightest, so won’t appeal to everyone.

Colossal

Oh, it’s flawed as hell (particularly in terms of time and establishing exactly “when” certain scenes take place in relation to each other) but all those flaws do is take it from a 10/10 to a solid 8. Anne Hathaway gives a performance which equals Rachel Getting Married (which if you haven’t seen, you really should, it’s superb), and Jason Sudeikis is creepier than I ever thought he could be, the kind of performance which makes you think he could easily move into more dramatic roles, or play a serial killer. So well written too, so much so that I immediately looked into the writer and made a note to watch everything he’s done. It’s also extremely unique, I can’t think of a film to compare it too, stands alone in a genre of one, and I can’t see anybody doing it better.

+Unique story wonderfully told

-As creepy as the guy is, his motivations never really ring true.

Free Fire

“You know how films have gunfights between people? Imagine if that was an entire film” “you’re fired”. That’s what should have happened. Instead, we got this, and it is glorious. Definitely worth a watch as a curiosity. It is essentially a gunfight in a warehouse, for an entire film. But it’s done so well that you’re never bored, you never sit there waiting for it to end. It helps that the gunfights are really well choreographed, not every bullet hits, people conserve ammo when they need to, and bullets to the arms actually do damage as opposed to just “ouch, that arm is slightly weaker now”.

+It works. As a concept it really shouldn’t work, but it does, and it’s superb.

-Very unlikeable characters. Slightly unsatisfying ending.

Get Out

There’s a French film from 2002 called Irréversible, it’s a weird art-house psychological horror that’s apparently disturbing in many ways. During a large section of the film there’s a noise played throughout that’s played at such a frequency that it’s almost inaudible; this was done as a sound played at that level causes nausea and sickness. I should note there’s a chance that this is just an urban legend, but truth be told I don’t want to research it in case it’s not true, it’s too magical for me to find out it’s false. But what does that have to do with this film? Well that feeling, that sense of unease, is what this entire film is about. There’s not many scares in the traditional sense, it’s just almost two hours of something being slightly “off”.

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I know, the film that had this in the trailer ended up being creepy, who’d have guessed?

 

There’s a lot of VERY good eye-acting in this film. I know that sounds stupid but there’s a lot of moments in this film which are enhanced by the way the actors utilise their eyes. A lot of times things that ordinarily would take a lot of dialogue to say is done just via an eye movement. Tremendous showcase of acting skills, and luckily it’s in a very important film. Yes, this film does touch on a lot of racial issues, but not the usual “we’re from Alabama, and we don’t like those coloured folk”. The racism in here is very different, it comes not from anger or hate, but from a fetishisation of black people, a condescending view of them as being “genetically superior” but intellectually lacking. One which is like “think what they could do if they had the mind of a white person”. As such the film has a weird dynamic where the villains kind of worship the heroes. Very weird, very unique, and VERY well done.

GetOut

This film was written and directed by Jordan Peele, who I’ve only seen in Key & Peele (a sketch show on Comedy Central that I really need to get around to watching one day), one of the voices in Storks (animated children’s comedy that’s actually better than you think it would be), and Keanu (an action comedy film about someone getting a cat from a Mexican drug lord). As such I always thought of him as a comedic person, I never thought he’d be able to transfer his skills to horror so effectively. I was wrong, he did brilliantly, I’ll go as far as to say it’s one of the best directorial debuts I’ve seen in a long time, which considering he’s basically committing genre adultery is impressive. Don’t get me wrong, it is still very very funny and the mood whiplash between horror and comedy is very well balanced. Usually in films like this you run the risk of having the comedy make the horror seem less scary, it doesn’t enhance the film, it undercuts it and stops you taking it seriously, usually because the comedy comes from a character not taking the situation seriously, they’re being chased by a monster/demon/dishwasher and they stop to make jokes. The way they do the comedy in here is believable, you can tell the jokes are being made by the characters to help them deal with the situations, and most of them are made by a character who isn’t directly involved in it, so is literally distanced from the situation already. This isn’t comedy-horror done like a mid-90’s slasher film, this is comedy-horror done like An American Werewolf In London. Seriously, go see this film. In fact, you could say “Get Out, to go see this film”. You could say that, but you’d be making a really obvious comment and would just come off looking like an idiot.

+The sense of unease that’s present throughout. Its greatness increases on second watch.

-There are not more films like it.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2

Did you enjoy the first one? Then you’ll enjoy this. Just as impressive, funny, and brilliant as the first one.

+Has the emotion that the first one was lacking.

-Apart from that, it’s not that different. Also, the pacing is all over the place.

Happy Death Day

This was just a lot of fun. Very, very, funny, and really well written. Some films you watch and you think “”this is so meh, I can’t imagine a writer thinking “I have to write this film”. You do with this, you can just imagine someone toiling over this night and day, a true passion project. One of the funniest films I’ve seen all year with a genuinely great story.

+Incredibly funny, and with a compelling central mystery.

-Not scary enough.

IT

Oh this was good. This was very good. Get Out was more of a social drama, and Happy Death Day was more comedy, but in terms of pure visceral horror, this one wins hands down. Eye openingly scary. So scary that clowns complained, yet manufacturers of red balloons didn’t, probably because it’s led to an increase of people buying them. Horror remakes are always hard, because they will be compared to the original, and people hate change so usually will detest anything different, but if you don’t do it differently then you end up with Gus Van Sant’s Psycho. So essentially you need to keep same tone, but add a new take on it. This does it, and does it well. Oddly enough it’s kind of sweet as well, but it does have to be because it’s SUCH a character driven film so you need to care for these characters.

John Wick Chapter 2

If you enjoyed the first one, you’ll enjoy this. It’s basically the first film, but more so and in a way that never feels like it’s walking in the same footsteps. One of the first times in a while I remember leaving the cinema and being incredibly excited for the sequel.

+Masterfully well made.

-Does occasionally seem like it was just done to set up a sequel.

Logan

This film was what I expected to be, and to be honest it’s what it needed to be; which is the first truly mature comic book film in a long time. Some people would say that Deadpool deserves that accolade, but I wouldn’t count that as mature. It had lots of blood and adult content, but it was very silly and lowest common denominator, don’t get me wrong, I do love that film (it was one of my favourites from last year), but it’s not mature at all. One of the best compliments you can give this film is that it is a fantastic film, not “fantastic for a comic book movie”, on its own terms it’s a fantastic film. There’s going to be a lot of people who find this film dull, it takes quite some time for certain things to happen but it’s brilliant. Not every film has to be fast food, designed to be satisfactory but finished quickly, this film is more like a three course meal at a restaurant, you savour every moment and really take your time with it, so that when it’s over you feel completely satisfied and all you can do is sit there and recover from the brilliance you just consumed. The ending of this film will be talked about, not here as you can’t without spoiling it. It is brilliantly done though, it’s an ending which this series has truly deserved, and it ends with a Johnny Cash song, which most comic book films wouldn’t be able to do but for here it fits. It is pretty much a modern western, a tale of a retired gunslinger coming back for one more gunfight, the last outlaw, in a time and place without purpose and that has moved on without him, causing him to need to go out in a blaze of glory.

+The first comic book movie I’d describe as a true cinematic masterpiece.

-Very underwhelming villains.

Spider-man: Homecoming

The plot was simplistic but it was still better than at least 50% of MCU films purely because it had a compelling villain. Michael Keaton’s character (he plays some sort of Birdman) makes sense. You’re not watching it thinking “what a terrible person, glad he’s not real”, you’re thinking “he’s actually making a lot of sense. I see where he’s coming from, and in a way, I agree with him”. He’s the most compelling villain in the MCU so far, and the performance matches the writing. A lot of comic book fans were disappointed that they changed his appearance for the films, I don’t particularly care about it to be honest, mainly because it would be really hard to take THIS seriously.

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I know that this talk about “taking it seriously” makes this sound like it’s attempting to be super serious and gritty, thank God they didn’t do that, this film is fun as hell. Even the colours are better than lots of superhero films. A lot of films have orange and blue as the main colours, but use them against dark backdrops, this uses those colours but uses them against light. It’s very summer-ey in appearance. It’s also really funny. The characters are well written and have great lines, Zendeya’s character, in particular, is a great collection of sarcasm and apathy which I really identify with for some reason. She has the best lines throughout and is one of the films many comedic highlights. In terms of comedy though, most of the best moments from the non-main characters belong to Jacob Batalon’s Ned, who absolutely owns his role as “guy in a chair”. He also helps provide an audience surrogate, since the film starts with Parker already as hero, many people expected the origin to either be ignored, or told in flashbacks. It did neither, it had Ned ask questions and we found out small details from that, not so much that we were re-covering old ground, and not so little that people new to the franchise were confused. So in summary; very good, very fun, and I think it’s safe to say that Tom Holland is the best Spider-Man, although part of that is due to the way he’s written, he’s actually written as an adolescent, the villains he faces aren’t ones who are going to destroy the world, the main villain is basically an unfriendly neighbourhood villain.

+Tom Holland is perfect.

-Not entirely sure it works as a standalone film. Bit too heavily indebted to other MCU films.

Table 19

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I enjoyed it, a lot. It’s what I deem “social mystery” film. Where the audience has to work out why certain characters are who they are, what caused them to be like that. It’s like an Agatha Christie murder mystery if the victim was good manners. It’s a hard film to describe the plot about without it sounding really bad, it’s mostly just people talking. But the characters are so well created and acted that it works. A lot of people dislike this film, and I kind of see why, nothing really happens. But to me, it was wonderful, one of the most emotionally honest films I’ve seen in a while.

+Really, really funny.

-Attempt at emotional heartpull seems a bit obvious.

The Big Sick

Incredibly funny, and with the right amount of heart. You’d need to be made of stone not to feel touched by this film. The characters are so well-written as well, every character seems fully fleshed out. They seem like they exist outside of the film.

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Probably because it’s based on his real relationship with his wife (pictured here
I know in these blogs I do come off as deeply cynical and incapable of love or any positive emotion towards others, but I do have a soft spot for the romantic comedy genre. I just hate a lot of them because they’re done badly, they’re usually really cliche and unoriginal. I like them when they do something new. Definitely Maybe is the film that fully cemented my Ryan Reynolds obsession, and Chasing Amy did the same for Ben Affleck. I think I like these films it’s because they’re usually very people-based. Action films are about the set-pieces, horror films are about the effects, but for a rom-com to work you need two things:
  1. Believable characters.
  2. Great dialogue.

They’re basically my kryptonite, especially dialogue. I’m a sucker for great dialogue. It’s also a genre that doesn’t really get affected too badly by the quality of the way you’re viewing it. Some genres are really badly affected by what you watch them on. Horror, for example, is not exactly something you can appreciate watching on a small television screen on an airplane. With advances in technology happening at an astronomical rate, visual spectacle fades, good writing doesn’t. The best rom-com’s; When Harry Met Sally, Annie Hall etc, all have one thing in common; fantastic writing. You can watch them again and again and still love them. They also have a wide audience. As much as I do love odd films like Buried (Ryan Reynolds in a box), Bogowie (a Polish film about heart transplant) and Four Lions (a comedy about suicide bombers), I’m not stupid enough to think they have mass appeal. They’re too weird. Rom-coms are for everyone though. They have universal themes that almost everybody can identify with. So where does this film stand compared to the greats of the genre? It’s a little difficult to tell at the moment, but I have a feeling that if I was to sit down in six years time and watch this, I’ll still love it. It also has the best 9/11 joke you’ll likely to hear all year.

+Will make you laugh cry.

– As much as he nails the performance 95% of the time, there are a few heavily emotional moments where Kumail Nanjiani looks like he’s desperately hiding a smirk, robbing the scene of some of the emotion

The Death Of Stalin

Incredibly funny and biting satire, which seems mostly historically accurate too. And it almost got banned in Russia, which is a bonus. Caused a Russian politician to describe it as a plot aimed at discrediting the figure of Stalin. Yeah, damn those films and their “anti-genocide” blinkered viewpoints.

+Satire that bites so hard it leaves teeth marks.

-Historically innacurate at times. Also, Jeffrey Tambor in it can make it difficult to watch in light of recent allegations.

The Last Word

Holy crap where did this come from? It’s like High Fidelity mixed with Christmas Carol. Really good. I really wish this film had a better marketing campaign so that more people would have seen it. Genuinely one of my cinematic highlights of the year. Seemingly just with me though, a lot of reviewers really hate. I loved it though, very dialogue and character-heavy. Genuinely sweet and heartwarming, there’s a scene near the end which is a bit “meh”, but other than that I loved it. A story about an elderly woman who hires someone to write her obituary before she dies, only a lot better than I made it sound.

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+The dialogue. Specifically, as it relates to the lead. So fantastic.

-Not promoted by the studio, like, at all.

The Lego Batman Movie

Usuall, it’s taken me about ten minutes into a film to think “okay I’m into this”, this film sold me in the first sentence. From the opening narration:

“Black. All important movies start with a black screen. And music. Edgy, scary music that would make a parent or studio executive nervous. And logos. Really long and dramatic logos. DC. The house that Batman built. Yeah, what Superman? Come at me bro. I’m your kryptonite”

That sets up exactly what type of film you’re about to watch; a film that’s very silly, and gloriously so. It then gets sillier, there’s an odd faux-mance between Batman and the Joker which culminates in Joker teaming up with Voldemort, Sauron, Godzilla and King Kong. Yes, this film is silly, but you can tell that whilst the film-makers are making jokes about Batman and the mythos, they do have a genuine love for the character and his world, they’ve clearly done their research. References to not only previous films, but also very very obscure villains (who’d have thought that Condiment Man would finally make an appearance?). The story is really good too. There’s a tendency in comedy films to think the story isn’t important, this is very very wrong. Perfect example of this is Airplane, that film only works because of the story, yes the jokes are funny, but they’re funny within the context of a serious situation, the story itself isn’t comedic, but it has comedic situations in it. My rule of thumb for determining whether a comedy films story is good is this: would the plot also as a serious film? I think this one would work, it’s a story about a lonesome superhero dealing with his isolation whilst also maintaining a mutually destructive rivalry with the Joker (which is also one of the themes from the seminal piece The Killing Joke). Since I saw it I’ve been trying to think how to sum it up in one sentence, and I think I’ve finally found it. The sentence which best describes everything about this film, so here it is: this film is basically Deadpool for children. And we all know how great Deadpool was.

Plus, there’s a Christian group in America protesting it and calling it “gay propaganda”, so you have to see it, even if only to annoy them.

+Trying to list all the references this film makes will make your head explode in nerdgastic joy.

-Not much of a sense of tension at any point.

War For The Planet Of The Apes

A stunning end to one of the best trilogies of the last few years. Some people considered the franchise dead in the water after the Tim Burton version, the knives really were out for Rise, but it managed to become highly regarded not just by fans of the franchise, but by the general public. It made weirdly concept sci-fi cool again.

+The ending that this trilogy deserves.

-The realisation that the trilogy has missed out on a lot of opportunities it will now never take.

Wonder Woman

I explained my thoughts on this here. Spoilers; LOVED IT! Even the closing credits were amazing. They were like a watercolour painting. I like when films take the time to attempt to do something with the credits, it shows a real dedication to what they’re doing, like they want to take every possible moment to leave a good impression on the audience. This film is every bit as fantastic as BvS was critically reviled.

+Gal Gadot. This is her film and she owns it.

-Pretty bad villain. Which I’ve just realised is consistent for a lot of superhero films lately. That’s odd as normally villains are the most interesting part, yet for last few years a lot of them have been really bland.

 

So, that’s 2017 in review. Next week will be the 2017 film awards, then it’s back to usual with random reviews and opinion pieces every monday. And to answer the question; I never got to see Disaster Artist.

2017 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?

A Cure For Wellness

A very very good film. But not a very nice one. As you can read here I really liked it, but it made me want to self-harm. It’s basically this year’s Nocturnal Creatures, but not quite as great. I do wish Celia Imrie was in it more, she was in the trailer but her role in the film was really nothing more than an extended cameo. Mia Goth was superb however, as was Dane DeHaan (which reminds me, I really need to see Chronicle, I mean, I’ve had it on DVD for months but still haven’t got round to it.

+Doesn’t shy away from showing terrible things. There’s a scene where someone drills into a tooth and you see EVERYTHING. Just thinking about it sets my teeth on edge.

-A bit too slow in parts. Could do with being made slightly tighter.

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“Why don’t we do the poster for Slither, but sexy?” “Genius! More cocaine”

Gifted

A lot less Nicholas-Sparks than I thought it would be. Bit formulaic but it plays to the formula very well. Chris Evans is very good in it, but is overshadowed by Mckenna Grace, who is very very good, probably one of the best performances this year. Is it just me or are child actors getting better? Manages to do a performance which is funny, moving, and hits all the right spots in terms of body language and facial acting. Great performance. Jenny Slate was also REALLY good in it, but wasn’t in it as much as she should have been.

+Genuinely heartwarming.

-A little saccharine in parts.

Hidden Figures

It was good, I wouldn’t call it “Oscar Worthy”. The main trouble with these sorts of stories is it’s impossible to have a good villain. The key to a good villain comes in two separate flavours:

  1. The “nobody knows anything about him” (usually used in horror films)
  2. The “I can see his point, but he’s very very wrong”.

Because these films are character pieces you can’t have the villains be the first one, so you need the second one. But they never work in these films for one simple reason; there’s no logical defence of racism. There’s no way of seeing their point. I had similar problems with Selma too, the villains are so clearly wrong that they don’t make compelling characters. Now I know this is what it was actually like at the time, and it is a truly fascinating story, but it does mean as a cinema experience it never really stays with you. So really my problem isn’t with the film, it’s with reality not conforming to my expectations, so maybe the problem is me.

+An important story that needs to be told and seen.

-One watch may be enough, you’re highly unlikely to need to see it again.

Jumanji

Holy hell this was a lot of fun. I think I actually might prefer it to the original. Got some of the loudest and most consistent laughs from other people in the audience out of any film I’ve seen.

+The performances. All the main characters are basically avatars of other characters. So they have to be played the same way the original characters are (think the scene in Harry Potter where Hermione pretends to be Bellatrix, like that, throughout the entire film). Not the easiest thing to do, but they all do it really well. Jack Black in particular makes a fantastic teenage girl, and Karen Gillians “no idea how to flirt” scene was hilarious.

-The entire film you can’t escape the feeling that you miss Robin Williams.

Kingsman

Pretty much the first one again, but I liked the first one. Funny, violent, and great music throughout.

+Mark Strong’s final scene is brilliant. The new characters slot into the mythos easily.

-Too long, too unfocused, and Colin Firth’s resurrection was not handled that well.

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La La Land

I liked it, but I didn’t love it, and I feel it wanted me to love it. It looked fantastic, and the soundtrack was good, it just left me feeling nothing. Probably wasn’t helped by the fact that I felt Ryan Gosling’s character was a bit of a dick and the romance made zero sense. Its biggest flaw I feel is its dependence on music, if you took away the songs you’re left with a fairly average story. Whilst the songs were good, they all sounded a bit too familiar, every song sounded like another one, so when you listen to the soundtrack you just think “what song does this remind me of?”, “wait, this has same tune as the song from The Muppets sequel”, and “Seriously, what is this one? I think it’s Amanda Palmer but I’m not sure”. It was a bit like having sex with a singing nazi. It looked good, sounded good, but ultimately left you feeling rather hollow.

+Music which seems like it’s instantly recognisable and you’ll hum for days.

-Kind of a bland story.

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Life

Pretty darn good sci-fi. You watch it and think “you know what would be awesome? If x happens”, and then it does happen, or something better happens. Was worried when I saw the trailer that it would be another cliche “parasitic alien takes over people”, but nope, this is an alien beating people using pure brute strength. And the ending? So harsh, absolutely perfect for the genre. Definitely need to see it again, if only to see whether the opening scene was one shot or whether it just had minimal cuts.

+Pretty brave decisions made in the script.

-Stands very much in the shadow of those that have gone before it.

Manchester By The Sea

A lot has been said about the performances of this film, I feel enough hasn’t been said about how good the script is. It’s so good that the dialogue doesn’t feel written, it was like they just filmed people talking naturally. It was also the lack of words that was masterful, there were moments where most films would have had characters deliver impassioned monologues, the kind of monologues which sum up their characters and the film, monologues which are so masterfully written people will quote them for years. This film doesn’t have monologues in that moment, it condenses those moments down to a single line. But you understand everything in that sentence, you feel the weight of that sentence, how crushing it is and how much is held within it. Someone this year said “if you’re depressed, La La Land will cheer you up, but Manchester By The Sea will make you feel better”. That pretty much sums it up.

+So bleak. So, so bleak.

-Revelations about some of the cast members make it hard to watch.

Mindhorn

Disappointed I didn’t get a chance to see this at cinema. Ah well, have the DVD so all is good. Incredibly British and wonderful. Exactly what you’d expect from someone who was in The Mighty Boosh.

+Julian Barrett is having a hell of a lot of fun here. Some great cameos too.

-Doesn’t quite have enough substance to be truly great.

Murder On The Orient Express

I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would. The biggest surprise is that it’s not Ewan McGregor as the lead role, a fact I didn’t find out until about a week after I saw the film. When I say “enjoyed this more than I thought” I don’t mean I thought it would be a terrible film. I mean it’s a mystery film, so to enjoy it surely you have to compelled to try to figure it out? Yet all I know about the original novel is how it ends (I have no idea how I know this, and only this). So would I be able to enjoy it despite knowing the ending? Also, the trailers made it look like Johnny Depp was in full Mortdecai mode. Hands up who saw that film. Now, keep your hands up if you enjoyed it. Right *loads shotgun*

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Et tu, bruti? (yes, in this scenario the cat is called Bruti, well, was until I shot it for liking Mortdecai)

Yet despite that (and the negative reviews) I thoroughly enjoyed this. A hell of a fun watch.

+Great ensemble cast.

-Some of the exterior shots look a little ropey.

Patti Cake$

A lot better than I thought it would be. Has both a great and not great soundtrack. I mean, the songs are fantastic, but the music/story integration could be done better. You don’t really get the feeling that the film is influencing the music, or the other way round, they seem kind of independent from each other. Side note, I think this is the only film I’ve seen this year which has had absolutely nobody in it who I know from another film.

+The closing scene when she’s doing her final song.

-Some of which were in the trailer, giving it away.

Prevenge

Without a doubt the best film about a homicidal fetus you’re ever going to see. I do love Alice Lowe, she makes amazing stuff. First Sightseers now this, she’s becoming Britains go-to female film-maker for smart, original dark comedies. She really needs to do a Black Mirror episode, and more films, and more television. Basically she needs to forgo sleep and work forever, creating more content for me to watch.

+The fact that Alice Lowe made this in two weeks whilst pregnant.

-If someone doesn’t like this style of film, this isn’t going to be the one that changes their mind.

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The Boss Baby

Better than the abysmal trailers would make you think it is. Some genuine laugh out loud moments. Putting it here is a little generous I know, but I’m not the audience for this, kids are, and kids love it.

+Genuinely funny in a lot of parts.

-Great for a kids movie, only ok for a movie.

The Hippopotamus

Very Stephen Fry. In both a good and a bad way. Although it has to be said that “now will you all kindly fuck off?” is a great closing line

+Very funny, Roger Allam is terrific.

-Won’t stick with you.

The Promise

A 2 hour film about the Armenian genocide, no, wait, come back, it’s actually REALLY good. Brutal without being exploitative, which is the risk you take when doing a film like this. If you don’t do it right it can come off like you’re exploiting the reality for the sake of drama, you have to stay grounded enough, and honest enough, for the film to work. It also REALLY annoyed a certain group of people, who flooded IMDB with negative reviews of it, calling it propaganda and lies without a hint of truth, saying that the genocide never happed. Most of these “reviews” were posted before the film was even released, so you know they’re definitely trustworthy. Oscar Isaac is REALLY good in this, by the way, believable throughout, but special mention has to go to Marwan Kenzari, who plays his character with such conviction, and does such wonderful facial work throughout that it’s one of the most genuine performances of the year. I would highly recommend seeing this, and not just because it annoys genocide deniers (which is always fun).

+A story that needs to be told, and luckily is told very well.

-Occasionally shys away from the brutality that is needed.

The Ritual

This film did something I will forever love it for; it put most the bits from the trailer in the opening half. I liked this as it meant you weren’t thinking “ok, what from the trailer haven’t I seen yet?”. Chilling, well told and well performed. Book is now on my “to-read” list.

+Very scary in parts. Great story too, you’re never fully sure where it’s going.

-Comes so close to being great, but stops just short.

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The Young Offenders

Kind of charming, rather funny. Has a scene where a disabled drug dealer shoots someone with a nail gun. Seems like a tv show, which as of next year it will be, and I can’t wait.

+Incredibly funny. And having someone lose a shitload of drugs because they have a hole in their bag was very funny.

-Never really seems like a movie, more like a television show.

Their Finest

Have you seen Suicide Squad? You know that bit near the end where the fire guy goes “we’re family”, and the audience is like “how? You’ve only known each other for like a day”? Basically that happens here, certain things between characters don’t feel earned enough and feel kind of forced. Which is a shame as it’s actually a really good story, with great performances and impressive dialogue.

+Compelling story that will reach you emotionally.

-Unearned character interactions.

Thor: Ragnarok

Wait, what’s this? I didn’t hate this film? I know, I’m shocked too. This is what the first two films should have been, just an all out funfest which relishes its own absurdity.

+”the hammer pulled you off?”

-Some character actions are supposed to be shocking, yet at this point it would be more shocking if they didn’t happen.

Tickling Giants

I remember the first time I saw Mark Thomas on television. It was on a channel 4 show that I recorded for reasons I can’t quite remember. I watched it with this kid I knew from up the road and he said it’s really good as “most comedians just talk about stuff, he’s actually doing stuff”, which he was. He was not just telling jokes, he was going actively protesting and doing things to change the country for the better (the episode in particular was about corporate manslaughter laws). Remarkable story that deserves to be told. At first you think “oh, he has permission finally for satire to works, this is great”. Then the president orders an arrest warrant for him. It’s actually kind of terrifying to see a lot of this, but in a way it’s kind of heartwarming to see some people continue to support them. People still want to work on the show even when the channel it’s on disowns them. Kind of a sad ending but one that’s full of potential for the future. Would actually make a really compelling fiction film.

+A fascinating look into what it’s like under those sort of regimes.

-Might be too difficult for people not into political humour to get into, not really a way in for them.

 

So that’s the end of this blog. Final one will be soon. Exactly how many films did I see this year? Did I actually get round to seeing The Disaster Artist and Tragedy Girls? Find out the answer to these questions, and more (but not a hell of a lot more) next time. Until then, comment with where we went wrong.

2017 In Film: Part 3 (The Pretty Good)

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. One’s 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)

Catfight

A shockingly visceral film, not just in terms of the fights, but also in terms of the story and the tone. The punches in the narrative hit just as hard as the actual punches (of which there are many). A film I first saw on Netflix, and very glad for that as I don’t think I would have liked it at all if I saw it at the cinema.

+The pacing and the way they tell the story is sublime.

-Only really has one major idea.

Dunkirk

One word to describe this: impressive. Visually, in terms of performance, in terms of the way the story is told, it’s all very impressive. This is the one I think I’ll get the most flack for putting in here. Now don’t get me wrong, this is a VERY good film. But I had the same problem with this I had with Interstellar, I was never really pulled into it. It was so cinematic that I was constantly aware I was watching a movie, I never really lost myself in it completely. As such it was hard for me to be 100% invested in it.

+Pretty much everything. Is a fantastic watch.

-Doesn’t really connect emotionally.

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This guy, this guy is going places. AMAZING performance.

Going In Style

A tale of two films in terms of directing. The opening section is really weirdly shot in terms of colour, kind of ugly. But once the story gets going and the heist gets going, it starts to look a lot better. The main performances are good, but Joey King, who plays Michael Caine’s granddaughter is really good in the short amount of time she’s given. Logical story, but sadly one that doesn’t have the guts to stick the knife in emotionally when it should.

+Joey King. Her performance in this almost makes up for Wish Upon. Almost.

-Plays it safe far too often.

Justice League

Solid. That’s all I can say about it. It’s not going to blow you away but it gets the job done. You do have to sit back and just watch it whilst not thinking, but occasionally that’s all you want. It’s not as good as Wonder Woman, but then again few films are.

+The Flash. That character is so well done in this. I’ve never watched the show, and I’m not a big comic reader so I don’t know much about him, but if he’s like he is in this film, I love him.

-DC really suck at doing compelling villains. And pacing. Also, it’s overshadowed by everybody being excited about Infinity War.

Kong: Skull Island

I went into this with low expectations. I was thinking “but I’ve already seen everything, how can spectacle cinema work in this day and age? And you showed too much Kong in the trailer, you idiots, you ruined everything I hate you, I wish I’d never been born!”. Looking back at it, that may have been an overreaction. The film was, well it was solid. It showed that spectacle can still work in a post Avatar world. It’s not a “I must buy this film immediately”, kind of film, but if it’s on TV at some point, grab a couple of mates, get some beers in, and leave your brain at the door. Of the non-Marvel films that attempt to set up a cinematic universe, this is one of the best (although that is damning with faint praise).

+There’s a fantastically brutal scene where people walk through the island and a giant spiders leg pierces someone through the throat. Deliciously brutal and sets up that this film won’t shy away from destruction.

-Very little substance to it. Also, bits of it were so obviously made with the intention of being viewed in 3D, so when you watch it in 2D you’re kind of disappointed.

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Moonlight

Oh wait, forget what I said about Dunkirk. This is the one that I’ll get shit for. Read a review of this which sums up my feelings on it completely “is more personal and important than it is great”. I appreciated it more than I loved it. This deserves all the accolades it received, was a phenomenal piece of cinema, and one that everyone does need to see at least once.

+The story is a deeply personal one, and if you don’t connect with it in some way then you may be dead inside.

-I felt there was a lot left out between the years we saw that never really got into which personally I would have loved to see. I’m not going to say this about many films, but this could have been improved by being A LOT longer. It had so much to say in such a relatively short time that it didn’t say all it needed to.

Rough Night

A film that really earns it’s R-Rating. Also has the second most random Bo Burnham appearance I’ve seen in film this year.

+Very very funny.

-Kate McKinnon’s Australian accent slips more than a pensioner walking on ice.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard

Very well made. The scene near the end on the canals is a particular highlight. Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson have really good chemistry, I think this is the first time they’ve worked together but I hope it’s not the last.

+Does what it needs to, very very well.

-Tries so hard to appear adult, it occasionally comes off as juvenile.

The Limehouse Golem

Incredibly British, with a stunning twist. The film equivalent of a murder mystery book. I’d be very surprised if this was anybody’s favourite film, but I’d also be surprised if anyone actively hated it. In fact, it’s hard to feel anything too strong about it. It’s like an odd mix between a BBC miniseries and a Telltale Game, but not quite as good as either.

+Does a great job of sucking you into the world. Almost immediately you feel like a spectator for it unfolding. Also, you actually want to find out what happens. You’re not sitting there thinking “just get to the end and let me know”, you allow yourse’f to observe and wonder.

-Not quite memorable enough to be worthwhile.