2021 In Film: Day Six (The Good)

Cruella

I will freely admit this film is a bit bloated, but it’s still a lot of fun. Probably the best of the live-action Disney villain explorations (okay, that’s not saying much I’ll admit). It all depends on what they do next though, a sequel could make or break this. There’s a huge gap between the Cruella of the 101 Dalmations film and the Cruella in this, and I’m not entirely sure how they can manage to bridge the gap. They somehow need it for a character we support and like, to become a puppy killer. Or they could just leave it, that would probably be the smartest choice in terms of avoiding watering down this film.

+ Slick, stylish, and just a pure joy to watch.

– Doesn’t have the best use of music. Sometimes uses songs just for the sake of using them.

Best Moment: Cruella’s roaring rampage of revenge. Great fun to watch.

Worst moment: Almost all the bits with her friend from school who is now a journalist. Feels like it’s building up to something big, but never really happens.

Best Performer: Not going to go with Emma Stone. I know most people would, and she is really good. But to me, Tipper Seifert-Cleveland was more important. She set the tone early on, dropping the baton for Stone to pick up.

Worst Performer: Jamie Demetriou, his performance seems a little out of place for this movie.

Best Line: “you killed my mother” “you have to be more specific”

Original review here

Here Today

The first of three dementia-based films I’ll mention in these round-ups, all three having incredibly different tones. On the downside that does mean that you’ve seen a lot of this film before, but it has moments of Billy Crystal being incredible and those moments are soon forgotten. There’s great chaotic energy to the whole thing. It’s great to see Billy Crystal lose control. He’s normally so in charge comedically that it’s jarring to see him lose it, but it’s perfect. There are moments where it feels like it’s going into rom-com territory, and that’s when it’s the weakest. Also when it goes into the “look, a young cool black person has come in to shake up the white establishment” tropes a bit too often. But it has so much heart that it’s forgivable. Like I said, there are three films about this topic out this year. They are all very different, and The Father is technically better, but this one feels more personal to the writer.

+ A film about this topic shouldn’t be this funny.

– There’s a plot point that seems to have been dropped and could have provided a lot more emotion if it was properly explored.

Best Moment: The 180 his family do when they find out the truth, believable and completely heartbreaking.

Worst moment: The very end where he has a vision of his ex-wife sitting nearby. A bit schmaltzy and silly, doesn’t really gel with the rest of the film.

Best Performer: Billy Crystal. He owns this film.

Original Review here

In The Heights

Magic. That’s the best way to describe this. It truly transports you to a different place. This is the first straight-up musical I’ve seen since 2016’s La La Land, and I much prefer this. For starters, the characters are more likeable, the standard of songs across the board is better (although La La Land did have some crackers), and the choreography is consistently solid. I know normally it’s expected to compare musicals to other musicals, or to compare films by minorities to other films by minorities (algorithms consider Boyz In The Hood and Spiral the same, despite being wildly different they’re both “black movies so if you like one you have to like the other, right?”). This? This is more like The BFG from a few years ago, which anybody who knows me knows I absolutely love. It has that same sense of warmth and love to it. But there’s also a darker edge, it’s a film about worry, about family, about legacy. But it’s wrapped up in sun-kissed songs so delightful that you don’t notice how dark the subjects they’re talking about are.

+ The warmth and magic this fills you with.

– There are moments where the song just seems to be there to delay the narrative.

Best Moment: The opening song, a great way to introduce the characters.

Worst moment: There’s a song near the end which could stand to lose a verse or two.

Best Performer: Logic dictates it should be Anthony Ramos as the lead Usnavi, but Melissa Barrera is truly the MVP of this, providing the real emotional core.

Original Review here

Last Night In Soho

This is a joy to watch. The colours, the music, it’s incredible to watch in terms of directing. The downside is the pacing. It’s a pretty big downside though. There are some incredibly repetitive moments, particularly in the middle section. It’s a shame as otherwise, this is a fine film, and if it wasn’t for how tiring that section this, this would be rated much higher. But it really killed all momentum the film had up that point. I would still say you need to watch this though, the performances are great (although Anya-Taylor Joy isn’t in it as much as the advertising may make you think), and like I said, it looks phenomenal. Plus these are the best written female characters he’s ever had in his films.

+ The truly inventive and unique visuals. Really makes you annoyed that his version of Ant-Man didn’t work out.

– The pacing. Kills it

Best Moment: The club set pieces.

Worst moment: Jack murdering Sandie. Turns out not to have happened so is only really there to confuse and set the audience/Ellie on the wrong path. It’s like telling a deliberate lie to someone, and then mocking them for believing it.

Best Performer: Thomasin McKenzie. Scarily good.

Best Line: “This is London. Someone has died in every room in every building and on every street corner in the city.” Really dispels the myth of London as a place where dreams come true, reminds you that it was pretty shitty for most of its history.

Original Review here

Malignant

When I came out of this I actually had to message someone “have you seen this yet?”, I needed other opinions, this film did a lot well, but the thing it did best was staying with you after it ended. After watching it, it will bounce around your head for a while. So why isn’t it listed higher? Mainly because of how uneven it is. There are some effects which just look a little bit silly compared to the rest of it. Plus the romance sup-plot does not work.

But what does work is almost everything else. It looks great a lot of the time, there were so many times when I was watching this and thought “that would make a good poster”. Most of the performances are good, and the music is solid. It’s also pretty f*cking weird, especially the third act which is just sheer glorious insanity. I’m doing a disservice to this by ranking it this low, I am aware of that, but the subplot really hurt it. You still have to see it. Plus it features both Madison Wolfe, and McKenna Grace, which means the odds of the two being in a road trip movie together in a few years time has increased slightly.

+ Even if you hate it, you won’t be able to turn away.

– The main “couple” have no chemistry at all.

Best Moment: The third act. It’s longer than most moments, but trust me.

Worst moment: When the thing is revealed, built up as really shocking and strange, but the budget lacks it down.

Best Performer: Annabelle Wallis.

Worst Performer: George Young.

Original Review here

Ninjababy

A refreshing pregnancy comedy. The main character, Rakel, never thinks for one second about raising it as her own, and the film never judges her for this decision. She recognises she is not in a position to do it, so it’s best she doesn’t. It helps that she’s played by Kristine Thorp, who I’m not familiar with (probably because I haven’t watched any other Norwegian comedy-dramas before). Thorp does a wonderful job of making her character likeable. Helped by the writing though, the way the character interacts with everyone around her is delightful.

+ The use of animation overlays gives it a unique visual style and cool punky energy.

-The music choices seem wrong.

Best Performer: Kristine Thorp, obviously.

Best Line: “Blood and suffering!” Never thought that line could be delivered in a weirdly heartwarming way.

Original Review here

Promising Young Woman

If I had to use only one word to describe this, it would be “harrowing”. I imagine this is a more disturbing watch to women, as they’ll recognise a lot of this. I am definitely watching this as an outsider, and even then this is a disturbing watch. It does so much right though. Films have a strange view of rapists. They’re nearly always shown as the creepy guy, or the sociopath, a stranger in the night who breaks into your house and forces themselves on you. They don’t often display them as the “nice” guys who help a drunk woman home and then take sex from them while they’re passed out. A lot of the guys in this film are not good people, even the background characters. At one point she gets cat-called, the standard “show us your tits”, she just stares at them and says nothing, their response to this is “fuck you”, obviously. Just shows how they don’t really want any sign of accountability.

Moments like that have led to this film being called “anti-men”. It’s not, it’s clearly not. It’s anti-rapist and anti-rapist supporters. If you think being against rapists means you’re against all men, that says a lot about you and your friends. The only way you can take this film as a personal attack against you is if you’re the kind of person who needs attacking. The kind of guy who makes sure the drinks his female friends drink have a little bit more alcohol in them than they think, in the hope they’ll be drunk enough to make bad decisions with you later. You’re not a rapist, you’re a nice guy. You’re her friend aren’t you?

Die in a fire.

Back on point, the ending of this where she dies (spoilers) is hauntingly long. Incredibly uncomfortable as it happens in real-time. This is apparently realistic, that is how long it would take for someone to die by that method. It also completely absolves the guy doing it of any innocence. To do something for that long is not a “spur of the moment”, you have to be a calculated scumbag to do that. So it’s so satisfying when he then gets arrested at a wedding. It did originally end with the murder, so glad they changed it. It now has a much more satisfying ending. not quite as realistic, but it means you end the film with some sort of closure.

+ Such an important movie, as some of the responses to it have proven.

– It’s weird for a near two-hour film to have this many underdeveloped themes and characters.

Best Moment: The opening, sets the tone perfectly.

Worst moment: Not really a moment, but the romance with Bo Burnham’s character feels underwritten, so the reveal near the end doesn’t land.

Best Performer: Carey Fucking Mulligan. Obviously.

Best Line: “It’s every man’s nightmare to be accused of that” “do you know what every woman’s worst nightmare is?”

Original Review here

Supernova

The second of three dementia-based films, and probably the one I’m least likely to go back to. It is still very good though. This one is more focused on the coming storm, somebody who knows what is going to happen and is scared of it. The downside to this approach is it means you don’t really FEEL what he’s going through. You don’t see what he’s fearing that much. Compared to Here Today or The Father, where you knew exactly what they were going through, here he mostly seems composed, with a moment every so often to remind you, but moments which are said rather than shown.

+ The relationship between the two.

– When the two aren’t on screen together, the film seems to lose a step or two.

Best Moment: The dinner party

Worst moment: When Tucci’s character is talking to someone about stars going out in a blaze of glory. Very unsubtle.

Best Performer(s): Tucci/Firth. They work so well together as a couple.

Best Line: You know what the hard part is? It’s that you’re… you’re just… you’re not supposed to mourn someone while they’re still alive.

Original Review here

The Night House

This really sucked me into it. I felt like I was inside the film and it was all happening around me, rather than seeing it on a flat 2D-screen while pet-watching for someone (for some reason my brain thought I saw it at the cinema, that’s how much it sucked me in). The director, David Bruckner, also gave us The Ritual, another highly recommended film. He’s a director you really need to keep an eye on in the future. He’s doing the next Hellraiser film, so it might be time for me to actually watch one of those.

+ The look. The whole thing looks like a damn postcard.

– Some may find it a bit dull. Plus, the “good guy” still murdered a lot of innocent women. And the film never really focuses on that.

Worst moment: When it reveals that her husbands suicide note saying “Nothing is after you” meant “there is a demon called Nothing, he is after you”. That’s just deliberately vague and unhelpful. Purely to drive the plot forward.

Best Performer: Rebecca Hall. Easily.

Best Line: “I was the depressed one, he was the one there helping me. Maybe I infected him”. Damn, that’s…..that’s worrying. It’s beautiful though in how it captures the thought process of someone with depression. You feel guilty about being depressed, and that you’re to blame for any bad things that happen to anybody. It cuts deep, too deep.

Original Review here

The Power

There’s a line in this “I grew up in Our Lady Of Grace, a children’s home”. Okay, not a great line, but the utter contempt on the face of the nurse opposite when she gave that line was great and summed up societies attitudes on children from them. Especially since it came straight after the nurse said there’s no link between poverty and health it’s just “people round here live like animals”. That’s what this film is, it’s a magnifying glass on injustice.

+ The general sense of dread

– The editing could be better in some of the ending moments. Plus the character seems to be written just to garner sympathy at times, could be better written.

Worst Moment: Screaming match at end, comes off a little silly.

Best Performer: Rose Williams. The physicality is incredible, and there’s something of the Natalie Portman to her

Worst Performer: Diveen Henry. Purely because for one line her accent wavered.

Best Line: “A place people die in should never be allowed to get that dark”

Original review here

Cruella (2021)

All I knew about this film was that it existed. I assumed it was still in production when it suddenly came out. I haven’t been too big a fan of the live action disney adaptations lately so I didn’t exactly have great expectations, or indeed any Dickens books.

Shit, that was terrible. On with the review while I have a long hard think about my life.

I’m gonna say it, so far this is the best film I’ve seen at the cinema this year. Godzilla Vs. Kong may have benefited more from being at the cinema, and may be more technically impressive, but this is without a doubt the most I’ve enjoyed watching a film at cinema this year. It’s a bit bloated at times (it could stand to lose a good 20 minutes), and it does suffer a bit from not knowing how to use music, similar to Suicide Squad it just overloads the film with with rock music, ALL the time, not letting anything have silence. It’s almost like the film is scared that if you stop listening to the music you’ll focus on the visuals instead, which is a shame as you WANT to focus on the visuals in this, it’s a visually stunning piece of work. Okay the CGI for some parts looks a little dodgy, but the colours are phenomenal. I don’t often point out costume design in cinema, because it’s usually not something that sways my opinions on a film, I’ve never gone “well I would have really enjoyed that film, but the costumes were from 1763, when the film was actually set in 1762, might as well have given them jetpacks”. The costume design here has to be mentioned though, it’s REALLY damn good. It contributes to the look and general style of the film in a tremendous way. It kind of had to, though. It’s heavily based around the fashion industry, so if the clothes looked bad, it would have effected my enjoyment of the film as it would have seemed less real.

I will freely admit I’m not too familiar with the original 101 Dalmatians film. This is important as I’ve heard some people say they don’t like this film as it messes with the continuity of the series. I have no idea how severely it does that, so I can’t judge it on those standards, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention it so that it at least looks like I know what I’m talking about. I know there are also people complaining that two white actors are played by people who are non-white, this is a complete disgrace apparently and means you should boycott the movie. Go ahead, don’t see this movie, its your loss. This is a fantastic movie, and if you’re too blinded by your stupidity (but seem okay with Cruella being English and yet very rarely being played by an English person) to see that, then you don’t deserve this movie.

Everyone else, though, you can go see it, and enjoy it. Well, you should enjoy it anyway. Everything about it just works. The performances work, not just Emma Stone as the titular character but all the supporting actors too. Fun fact, I didn’t see a trailer for this so didn’t know who was in it. And during the opening scenes I had a realisation: “Emma Thompson would make a great Cruella, or just a disney villain in general”, she then turns up as the villain in this movie. Also, she’s not in it for much but Tipper Seifert-Cleveland does brilliantly as a younger version of the character, she nails it with a confidence beyond her years.

Now onto the biggest flaw: the script is a bit bland. It never really shocks you. Characters seemingly have personality changes on a whim just to suit the narrative. Also it never REALLY examines the characters motivations for future films. It basically feels like “she wants to skin dogs because they killed her mother”, which seems a bit weak. The length of the film also works against it, it could stand to lose about 20 minutes. No major removals, just tightening up a few moments so it flows better. There is one character who could be deleted completely. Apparently she’s in the original films so I’m guessing that’s why she’s in it. But she essentially gets threatened by the villain, and then nothing comes of it. We don’t see anything bad happen to her which makes Cruella realise the consequences of her actions. Her story arc (or lack of one) doesn’t impact the film in a significant way, so can be cut, or at the very least reduced severely.

So in summary: I would recommend this film. It’s available at cinemas, and you can pay premium pass to watch it on disney+, so I assume that means it will be available for general viewing there later in the year. Well worth a watch.

Why we love the Scott Pilgrim Comics (and who we’d have cast)

 

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Like most I saw the 2010 Edgar Wright adaption of the Scott Pilgrim comics, named after the Second volume, Scott Pilgrim vs The World, before I knew anything of the comic, and I thoroughly enjoyed it for the quirky video gamey action comedy it was. And with what little I knew about the comics I was led to believe that the film was a fairly accurate version of the Scott Pilgrim story. Having now read the series (and loved it), it is not it turns out…well not completely.

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Writt413DrfEHYBL._SX342_BO1,204,203,200_en by Bryan Lee O’Malley, I have been a fan of his work since I read his latest graphic novel, the funny and poignant Seconds, and his first graphic novel the very poignant and funny Lost at Sea; both of which are excellent. But Scott Pilgrim is his greatest achievement so far; combining fun and funny geekerific humor with an interesting story and a host of relatable characters.

tumblr_le4ojxn9qH1qao2elNow as I said the film is an action comedy, with the romance there to thread together all the epic fight scenes and video game gags, and when it comes to fights and gags the film has it fucking spot on! The look, style and tone of each fight is very true to the style of the comics, and even the tweaks and changes they made to the fights (in the comic the twins are robotic engineers not techno musicians) are very in keeping with it. There is even a lot of dialogue and scenes recreated verbatim from the comic….but (and I think you could all feel that coming) despite all these aspects (which are basically the movie) it gets right, I have come to dislike the film. This isn’t just because of all the fascinating side-character backstory and development they left out, that’s just adaption for you, or that the lead characters Scott and Ramona are fairly off (though I will get to that). It’s because it got the tone and heart of the story wrong.

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Nega Scott is also more than a last second joke

The action and comedy is right, but Scott Pilgrim isn’t an action comedy, it’s a surprisingly nuanced romantic dramedy about the trials and tribulations of mature love, and learning to accept that change is inevitable and the more you run from it the worse of a person you become (the fact all the Ex’s turn into coins (change) isn’t just because video games); with the awesome video gamey world and fights being the sprinkles on top of the cake, not the cake itself. It’s like if the 60’s Batman was the definitive adaptation of Batman; okay it got some things right but there’s more to it than that.

tumblr_n04c5zpItu1t72jf6o3_r1_1280I know and accept that when adapting a six volume series into a two hour film a lot of details are going to have to be changed and left out, but I can’t forgive that the core of the book (the maturing and the romance) was one of them! And I KNOW it’s there in the film…But Scott and Ramona’s romance is there just for motivation and plot so that the fights scenes can happen…but it’s not what the film is about. I would have been fine for them to cut one or two of the ex’s out (the twin’s being the easiest) in favor of more time to develop the romance, but nope, perish the thought of missing one minute of the nerdgasm fight scenes.

And by the end it claims that Scott has gotten better as a person, but that just feels mostly tacked on because it needed to be there not because it earned it, and don’t even get me started on Ramona’s character…actually do, because that leads me into…

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aww what a sweet moment, wasn’t this so good in the….oh wait…

Who we would of cast….and I talk about characters n’ stuff.

This isn’t going to be a full cast list, as apart from the leads, I think the casting, from Scott’s friends to the Evil Ex’s, was pretty spot on all around.yrb6l4dl

The Problem with Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim: Honestly he’s okay, not terrible just michael-ceraokay. He captured the geekiness and immaturity of Scott well enough, and was funny and likable to a point…because he was just playing Michael Cera. What he really lacked was the charm and boundless charisma Scott has, that despite his looser ways draws people to him, and makes sense how he has so many friends and ex’s. Cera is just too meek and awkward to pull that off, Scotts the loveable slacker (like Fry from Futurama really), not just an awkward dweeb. He also couldn’t connect with the emotional side of Scott, which to those who have read the series know is vital to his character, Cera always opting for a gag or funny line over a real moment (and I know that’s on Edgar Write just as much).

Rudderless-Movie-Featured-ImageAnton Yelchin as Scott Pilgrim: not a perfect fit, but the damn closest I could think of. His most famous turn as Chekov in the Star Trek reboot (that isn’t his real accent by the way) proves he can be funny, dorky, and energetic. His lead role in the enjoyable Fright Night remake shows he can lead a film with charisma and be plenty charming. And his role in the underrated romantic drama Like Crazy, more than proves he has the dramatic chops to add the depth and lonely nuance Cera sorely lacked.

 

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Same lines but a much more adorable vibe than the film

The problem with Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ramona Flowers: She’s just too calm lo1tk3b3faced and cool to me Ramona. The Romona Flowers’ of the comics is an emotional tornado of spunk and bad decisions, yes there is a cool hipness to her, but most of all she is an adorable, free spirited, mess, who has just as much growing up to do as Scott; that’s why you bought them together. Mary Elizabeth Winstead just looked and acted too good for Scott in the film, gone is the hyperness and vulnerability, in its place smugness and an air of sweet superiority. It always felt like she was just playing with Scott and not actually interested in him deeply.
Her character as a whole is fucking terrible when compared to the books really, but the biggest unforgivable flaw (and I know this is a problem with Edgar Wright’s adaption) is that she is never a damsel in distress in the comic! She can always take care of herself, be it fighting or running away, and that’s clearly seen most of all in that, SHE DOSEN’T GO BACK TO GIDEON! Though it’s made clear he still has an emotional hold on her, she never returns to her clearly abusive Ex like some weak willed doormat, instead leaving on her own journey of self-discovery to work out how she feels about Scott before returning to help kick Gideon’s ass together. Now I know the film came out before the comic had finished, and they did a pretty good job in predicting where the story goes and the points it needed to touch upon, but I think we all can agree Edgar Wright could of delivered something better than the old save the princess scenario. And I don’t agree “But video game!” is a valid reason.

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THAT’S MORE LIKE IT!

emma-stone-short-bob-haircutAnyway…
Emma Stone as Ramona Flowers: I don’t think I even need to go much into why this would work, we all know how good Emma Stone is, from Crazy, Stupid, Love, to Birdman; and with every way I’ve described Ramona from the comics, who else could do it better?

 

 

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The comic has quite a few quiet moments of self reflection

 

 

It wasn’t till I wrote this that I realized how quickly and how much I’ve come to dislike the movie of Scott Pilgrim, so I’ll wrap this up. If you like or even love the film, more power to you, it’s a great action comedy with more heart than I think I gave it credit for, but for those looking for something more I can’t recommend the comic book series enough. All the side characters you love get buckets more of development, especially Scott’s band mates, and his own ex’s Knives and Envy. It’s sweet, funny, and just damn fine literature; a comedy that knows the heart is something to cherish and care for, and not just pull badass katanas from.

Films to look Forward to in 2016

Batman V Superman: March 25

PHDHoUG4AUNdHI_1_lBecause despite the last trailer giving WAY too much away, who isn’t going to see this film? It’s Batman fighting Superman…for at least a third of the film anyway. And despite that trailer there’s still hope. The idea that Batman is turned against Superman because of the chaos he caused in Man of Steel is good screenwriting; it makes sense from a character point and helps bring the films together. The casting is also very solid, with Batfleck actually looking to be one of the best iterations of the Dark Knight yet. But we all still need to take a step back to wait and see whether Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor is the trainwreck everyone is HOPING it will be, or whether like Keaton and Ledger before him he will turn in a great performance despite the naysayers. I have no idea, but I at least love how much fun he seems to be having.

 

Deadpool: February 10

I limited this list to only Deadpool_postertwo superhero films because I didn’t want it to be inundated with them, and I wanted this to be a cut away from a lot of most anticipated lists by not just focusing on the big blockbusters coming our way (but saying that I am looking forward to Civil War and Dr Strange).
Now Deadpool; the reason I chose this over the many superhero flicks of 2016 is because this is by far the riskiest. R rated, fourth wall breaking, X-Men Movie universe expanding, and Ryan Reynolds’ starring; it’s had the best advertising campaign of any superhero film that manages to introduce the character while staying true to his roots, and is being made by people who clearly care deeply about making it an authentic adaptation. So let’s hope all those good intentions don’t pave the way to hell this time.

 

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Hail, Caesar!: February 26

Because it’s the Coen brothers (who I’m not the biggest fan of so not just dick sucking), doing a satire of the golden age of Hollywood with an all-star cast of old (Clooney and Brolin) and new talent (Hill and Tatum), with a the truly Coeny plot about a Charlton Heston type movie star being kidnapped, and the hapless Hollywood fixer who has to find him. It should be a very gaudy picture, with its only hurdle to clear is the early February release date, which could be a) a sign that the Coen’s just don’t give a shit, or b) the studio wants to drop it where no one will see it. We will see.

 

 

 

Everybody Wants Some: May 13

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His first film since his cinematic milestone and masterpiece Boyhood, Linklater returns to his stoner roots, with the spiritual sequel to possibly the best hangout film ever, Dazed and Confused; the 70s set stoner comedy that always found the chuckles, but never lost the poignancy of leaving your teenhood behind. This latest outing is set in the 80s and picks up exactly where Boyhood left off (if a few decades earlier) with a group of teens (played by refreshingly unknown actors) integration into their first year of college life and their college baseball team. Now this doesn’t sound that different from your typical stoner/gross out comedy of today, but with Linklater’s sensitive directing and thoughtful mind for youth and character, what sounds like a typical set up will (hopefully) be another timelessly funny and heartfelt film that captures that moment between teenhood, everything else, and who knows what.

 

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: November 18

I like the Harry Potter films about as much as the next guy, I grew up with them. But honestly I might be looking forward to this more than any of those films, because I always found the most fascinating part of them to be the world itself. And now we have a film set in that world, Seventy years before the original films (so in the 20s), set in New York, led by one of the best young British actors working today Eddie Redmayne, and was penned by J.K Rowling herself…I’m shocking myself how game I am for this film, and you all should be too! It’s Harry Potter without Harry Potter!

 

The Disaster Artist: TBA

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The adaption from the unsurprisingly hilarious but surprisingly poignant novel about the making of The Room, the infamously best worst movie ever made, but is really about the friendship between its crazy maker Tommy Wiseau and his co-star Greg Sestero. Produced by Seth Rogan and directed by James Franco (who with his directing record doesn’t scream hope), but with a screenplay adapted by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, the screenwriters behind The Fault in Our Stars, The Spectacular Now, and 500 Days of Summer, I became far less worried. And that was before the all-star cast started flocking to it like moths to an eccentric flame. James Franco of course is taking the role of Mr Wiseau himself, and his little brother Dave is Greg, but as well as them; Seth Rogan, Zac Efron, Alison Brie, Sharon Stone, Josh Hutcherson, and Bryan fucking Cranston, are also co-starring. With such a shockingly A-list cast, we can only hope they’ve all gathered because of the strength of the script and talent involved, and nothing less. If Franco can make this even half as good as the novel, this could be one of the best films of 2016.

 

The Nice Guys: May 20

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If my look at Shane Black’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang didn’t give it away, I love Shane Black when he does buddy movies. So it’s great to see him return with what looks like a spiritual sequel (or prequel) to that, with this 70s set dark comedy crime thriller that brings us the inspired pairing of Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling; an enforcer and hapless private eye who team up to find a missing girl and solve the murder of a porn star…how can you not be stoked for that! So let the guilty violence and laughs commence!

 

 

 

 

Moana: November 23

moana-poster-conceitual-camundongoDisney’s next animated film after the disappointing Big Hero 6 (and fuck you it wasn’t that good) brought to us by the directing duo behind some of Disney’s greatest films (Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Treasure Planet) and will follow an ancient Oceania tribal girl as she searches the South Pacific for a fabled island, helped by a demi-god voiced by Dwayne Johnson. Don’t know much beyond that, but with the talent involved we can but hope for another Disney classic, or at least something up there with Tangled and Frozen.

 

 

 

kuboKubo and the two strings: August 19

 

But this is the animated film I’m looking forward to most in 2016! Brought to us by the same team and studio behind the stop-motion masterpieces Coraline and ParaNorman, comes this action fantasy set in ancient Japan about a teenager fighting demons and searching for the magic armor his legendary samurai father once wore….it’s a STOP MOTION ANIME! I MEAN…how can you not be wetting yourself at the awesomeness of that! And with an all-star cast, the talent behind the scenes, and the recent trailer for it, all we can do now is wait and hope.

La La Land: July 15

Stars On The Set Of 'La La Land'

 

A musical dramedy about the romance between a jazz pianist played by Ryan Gosling, and an actress played by Emma Stone, and J.K. Simmons is in it too. Really the only reason this has made the list is that its writer and director Damien Chazelle’s follow up to his jaw-breakingly great Whiplash. Whether he’ll be able to live up to that will have to be seen, but I find it a good sign he appears to be going for a very different vibe for this film.

 

 

High-Rise: March 18High_Rise_2014_Film_Poster

The new and probably highest profile film from the bizarre director of Sightseers, A Field in England, and Kill List (the only of his films I have seen), Ben Wheatley; and stars Tom Hiddleston as the newest resident in a self-contained block of highrise apartments with a vicious classiest system, in this dark comedy Sci-fi thriller…or something like that. Co-starring Jeremy Irons and Elisabeth Moss, there is still a bit of mystery about this film, for all those who haven’t read the books it’s adapted from, as the advertisement has done a good job in being vague on plot but specific on tone and style. And with early release reviews beginning to come in I’m seeing almost equal people calling it a failed attempt at something grand, or hailing it as a masterpiece. So I’m glad its release date isn’t too far into this year, before we get a chance to judge for ourselves whether Mr Hiddleston has been using his Marvel down time on worthy projects.

Live by Night: October 7

2E0BBB1A00000578-3300941-image-a-62_1446500565850Ben Affleck finally took a break from acting to get back to his much more interesting career as a director, with this follow up to Argo. Adapted from another Dennis Lehane novel like his first and best film Gone Baby Gone, it’s a period crime thriller that follows the prodigal son of a police captain as he becomes a bootlegger and later a gangster legend. Again here because of the director and writer’s track record, he’s currently three for three on great thrillers, and I doubt Affleck’s in a hurry to break the streak; especially with his next directorial project being the first solo Batman film in the new DCCU. And that’s before mentioning that Mr Leonardo Dicaprio has taken on a producer hat for it.

Of course these are only vague predictions on what will be some of the best films in the coming year, as we all know that best films tent to come out of nowhere with a sharp left hook, not let us see it coming from months away.