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.

 

 

 

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Ant-Man And The Wasp (2018)

Have you seen Infinity War? If the answer is no, avoid this, or just leave after the actual plot concludes. The final scene to this will make absolutely zero sense if you avoided Infinity War, and it seems like this film references Captain America: Civil War more than it does the first Ant-Man movie. It’s a shame as the first Ant-Man movie was a lot of fun and is severely underrated when people talk about the MCU. This one feels important, but in a way where it’s not going to be known how important it is until the next film, which is a problem with Marvel films lately, they’re not self-contained so the endings are usually the equivalent of “Tune in next time”.  You know what this reminds me of? When a massive video game has been released and a year later they release a few new levels as an expansion pack/DLC, it’s that. It doesn’t stand out on it’s own at all, it’s the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead to Infinity War’s Hamlet (Or The Lion King 1 1/2 to The Lion King if you prefer). But the thing is; it doesn’t even do that that well. It would be good if it had a few subtle background references to it running throughout. But it doesn’t, it comes in at big points in the film, but not often enough. So it somehow fails at even that. Okay, “fails” is a very harsh word to use, because if it wasn’t for the Infinity War stuff, I would consider this a great film, it’s funny, looks fantastic, has INCREDIBLY inventive action set pieces, and the performances are good.

Now Marvel villains are either incredibly amazing (Thanos, Loki, Killmonger) or completely forgettable (that guy, the other one, the yellow one). This comes soooo close to being the first one. She has a tragic backstory which makes her sympathetic, her motives are logical but she’s also terrifying, and she’s not just “the good guy, but bad!” which seems to be the general template to make a villain in Marvel films. But she’s not used enough, and her ending is woefully unsatisfying and seems like it came because the writer needed to get home early so just wrote “and then MAGIC!”. It’s a shame as one thing this does very well is it gives a lot of the background characters moments to shine, even if a lot of their moments could be cut and nothing would be affected (particularly Bobby Cannavale and Judy Greer, which is a shame as I love both their characters, I just wish they had more to do). The star of the show is still Michael Pena though, who maintains one of the best side characters they’ve created, which of course means he’s probably going to be run into the ground through overuse in the next one, or killed.

So should you see this? I’d say yes, but not yet. Watch it as part of a MCU marathon, it lacks enough context to survive on its own.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018) (Spoilers Version)

Well I said I was going to put spoilers in this, so here goes:

Bruce Willis was dead all the time

Kevin Spacey is Keyser Soze

Clark Kent is Superman.

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Oh, I suppose I should talk about the spoilers in this film. I have quite a bit to discuss about this, the ending in particular, so I had to do a different blog for it. It would be unfair to spoil the film for those who hadn’t seen it, but there were certain things I couldn’t discuss without spoiling the ending. I think that’s kind of cool though, spoilers mean something again. Because the studio put a lot of importance on not letting the ending go, it meant that people who watched it put that importance on too, plots matter again. I like that.

But this specific ending? Holy f*ck. In case you haven’t seen it here it is: pretty much everyone dies. Spiderman, Black Panther, Star Lord, Drax, Groot, Samuel L Jackson, all dead. Which is kind of odd considering that pretty much all of them have been announced for sequels. This brings up my first point; as emotional as the ending was, it won’t last. It won’t be a film that in years to come you’ll think of as emotionally devastating films. The reason for this; the ending won’t stick. It can’t stick, they’ve announced a Spider-man sequel for one. So as emotionally crushing as the deaths were, everybody knows they’ll be back. Look at articles about it, they’re not discussing “oh no, how will the surviving heroes cope with such horror?”, they’re saying “which of these will stay dead?”, which sucks. The default setting in films should be when a character dies, they stay dead, coming back from the dead should be the exception, not the expected norm. So it’s hard to feel too emotional about this, as there’s a part of you that thinks “meh, they’ll be back” or “I’ll save my emotion for when I get to the next movie and see what happens”. I mean, yeah, I am intrigued as hell as to how they’re going to do it. Personally, I think it will have something to do with Thanos using the time stone to rewind time and kill Vision. Have a feeling that once someone can get hold of that they can use it to rewind back to the rewind (if that makes sense). This means the ones who died before that ((Gamora, Loki (seriously for the love of all that is good kill Loki and keep him dead. He’s a good character but is emblematic of the “no deaths count” thing MCU has)) will stay dead, whereas those that died after the snap (Spider-man, Bucky, Brooklyn 99) will come back.

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It is coming back, right?

No idea who’s gonna do that though, I’m guessing Captain Marvel will have something to do with it but can’t say for certain as I don’t know what her powers are as I’m not too familiar with the character. Maybe it won’t be the heroes, maybe it will be the scientists, we have no idea if Selvig is still alive, if he is given the technology seen in both Ant-Man and Black Panther he could create something great. That’s if he’s still alive though. That’s something I have a problem with in this, outside of Nick Fury (and not-Robin from HIMYM), all the deaths were major characters from this film. Marvel has had A LOT of side characters in their films, did any of them die? Will we ever find out? How was this received by people who had ABSOLUTELY no idea what happened? Random people just going about their day etc when their friend suddenly disappears? I guarantee people thought it was the rapture or something. But we don’t know, because we didn’t see it from a civilian standpoint, we got a small insight with the post-credits thing where cars and planes crashed, but nothing that shows their pure visceral terror. How much more impactful would it have been if we had a character hadn’t seen in years come back for a random scene, only to die? I have a slight feeling that we’ll see that next time we see Hawkeye, that his family all disappear and he goes on a vengeful warpath. I guess what I’m basically asking in all of this is this; is Ned okay? That’s all I want to know.

 

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We love Ned

 

Avengers: Infinity War (2018) (Spoiler-Free Version)

A few years ago I saw a film called Men, Women & Children. A film that had moments of okayness but failed to maintain even that. The main reason for this was it had too many characters and it couldn’t focus on all of them, as such some felt underdeveloped and the time spent with them felt utterly pointless. There was concern that the same would happen with this. This had a lot of characters, and all of them were somebody’s favourite (yes, even Thor), so if you didn’t do them properly then you’re going to annoy a lot of people, and in the age of social media, especially with such a highly anticipated film, the slightest inkling of dissatisfaction and they’d be nerd-rage akin to if you said “maybe not everybody has to be white”. As it is, this balances the characters pretty well. Whilst the characters are split into separate groups, there’s no real “core” group. None of them seem more plot-focused than the others. That being said it’s not entirely equal. It seems like the Guardians characters have a lot more to do within their groups than the others. Surprised there’s not really any new characters in it, I mean, there’s an allusion to one at the end but the only new people are the villains. This is slightly odd as it means that these are the only ones in the entire universe. Where was Stallone etc from Guardians Of The Galaxy 2? You’d think they’d have heard of Thanos’s plan and tried to stop it. Or anybody from Agents Of Shield (is that still going? I got incredibly bored by it quite quickly so stopped watching). It’s going to be incredibly difficult to introduce new characters after this, as the first question anybody will ask is “where the fuck were you when this happened?” Before it’s been mostly localised destruction, but maybe with the potential of worse things happening later. This was half of existence being threatened with extinction. There should have been a lot more people.

I mean, yeah that would have meant the film would be like seventy hundred hours long. But even if you just mentioned “earth has been closed off to visitors” to explain others not being there it would be better. Don’t get me wrong, I did love this film. The character interactions were fantastic (although still disappointed nobody said “no shit, Sherlock” when Doctor Strange and Iron Man shared a scene). It was great that the established groups got split up and we got characters sharing scenes who had never interacted before. On the downside, this causes a problem for any future films. The same problem that hit the MCU post-Avengers. From now on whenever a character has a solo film you’ll be wondering why nobody else is helping. If any other Iron Man films happen in the future then he has space-travelling assistance to come help him.

Has to be said that the fact that this film works, and works brilliantly is a true testament to the skill involved. The script is incredibly tight and focused, barely any fluff at all, which considering how long it is is quite impressive. It looks great, the scenes on Titan, in particular, look stunning, The setpiece in Wakanda, whilst not exactly disappointing, isn’t as stunning to look at as you feel it could be. And the music is still a bit of a letdown. Marvel doesn’t really have a great track record when it comes to original music (Black Panther being the obvious exception), they have that one piece of Avengers music they use, but every time I try to think of that I get the Harry Potter music in my head. Even the Saw franchise had a recognisable theme they used as shorthand for “shit’s about to go down”.The power of good music (and not just in a “using established songs) way) is underappreciated in modern cinema but could work wonders. If MCU had character themes then the introductions would be a lot better, imagine if you see a character in the darkness, you have no idea who they are but then a familiar theme plays, exciting you before you even see them.

So yeah, if you’ve liked these films, you really need to see this, but I can’t imagine you enjoying this if you haven’t seen the others. This is not the film you watch to introduce you to the MCU, you’ll be completely lost. So, see this, but see the others first. Will be posting a second review of this later on in the week, specifically focusing on the ending. So look out for that over the weekend.