2021 Film Awards

So we’re two months in, and it’s time to finish the summary of 2021 films in the way I usually do: randomly bitching and praising shit nobody has heard of. Some really tough decisions made, and some really easy ones. You might disagree, ask me next week and I might disagree with my own choices, but I had to make them, and here they are. Side note, there’s no “worst film” this year, there were a lot of bad films, but truth be told nothing felt quite bad enough to earn that.

Best Looking:

Blithe Spirit

One of the few things this film did well. It has a great colour scheme so that the visuals really pop. If the film itself was as good as it looked, it would have been one of my favourites of the year.


Almost entirely due to how the final third was directed, film geeks will love what they did with it in terms of how it looks. One of the best examples of using visuals to tell a story.

Come True

Just to warn you, this film is going to come up A LOT in this. I just loved the blue colours over everything. It perfectly matched the music and made the whole thing feel like you were watching it on a CRT monitor. Really unique and I love it.


Striking colours, combined with great costume design. The visuals for a lot of this film consist of dark or boring backgrounds, then bright and stunning foregrounds/clothes to create striking images that you’ll love. There’s something weirdly retro too, makes you think of the time period, and is perfect for story.

Godzilla Vs. Kong

Purely for the sense of scale, this series has been a great showcase for spectacle cinema, and this is no exception. There are obvious plot issues, but I can’t deny how much I loved just sitting there staring at this film.

Love and Monsters

Yeah it’s a surprise to me too, but I love the director brought the world to life. You don’t watch this and feel you’re watching something obviously fake, the CGI is pretty damn good for a film like this. Everything looks and feels like it belongs in that world. It’s so good that sometimes you don’t really notice it, you’re not sitting there going “wow, look at that creature”, the creature is just there, and fits so well into it that it can pass you by.


There were so many times watching this where I thought “yup, that would make a good poster”. Just let down by one of the special effects not really working for me.

Raya And The Last Dragon

The way that Sisu is animated is glorious, a solid character that flows through the air like she’s swimming. I love the way this looked, the little references to Southeast Asian cultures, the amount of water (which is notoriously hard to animate) which looks gorgeous. I just love the way this flows visually. Because of how similar they were I had to choose between this and Luca, this JUST inches ahead due to the building designs.


Mainly for the use of space, well, lines really. The fluid nature to the animation is reminscent of classic disney at its best. The whole thing just feels like an otherworldly dream. You look at it and you can almost hear the music.


Last Night In Soho

Yes, the neon look is great. And the final sequence is a masterclass in visuals. But the day-to-day stuff is great too. The lighting is done in a way that looks natural but has a sharp focus, almost like a spotlight. And the scenes in the club are full of visual beauty.

Most Disappointing

A Quiet Place Part 2

This is where they’ll be a big difference between “Bad” and “disappointing”. Just on its own, this might have been an okay film. But as a sequel to one of the most unique films (horror or otherwise) of the last few years, can’t help but feel this is a poor effort. The new characters don’t feel like they’ve always been a part of this world, and the shadow of the dads death from the first one doesn’t hang as heavy over it as it should.


I had really high hopes for this based on the trailer, particularly one completely bad-ass moment of her running through a warzone. It just didn’t work for me though. The pacing was way off and it has no idea how to keep the momentum going. I feel you could edit this, take out some of the fluff, change the order of some scenes around, and you could get a really good film. But starting on the plantation for about 40 minutes, doing a near thirty-minute flashback to her before she got there, then going back to the plantation makes the whole thing feel disjointed. Tbh you don’t need to know that much information about her before she got there, just a few minutes to establish her life and who she is, then have her wake up in the plantation, look at the horror around her, then credits. It has nothing to say about the past, and as such says nothing about the present. A lot of it is just misery porn.


I was fully on board with this for a lot of it. Sure there were a few moments where I felt “ouch that’s not good”. Bad music choices, the visuals looked too fake and stupid. And then the ending happened, and shat upon all the goodwill I had. It’s a shame as the concept was promising, and it had some good scenes. But it set up questions it had no intention of answering.

The King’s Man

Not exactly a bad film, but nowhere near as good as the previous ones. I really hope they do a sequel to this one because otherwise, it’s completely pointless. It didn’t set up the other two films or answer any questions we had. It’s just to set up something else, it feels like this is Iron Man, and the original 2 Kingsman films are Infinity War and Endgame, like we’re missing a lot of stuff in the middle. It’s nowhere near as stylish as the other two, with no real stand-out scenes.

Black Widow

I avoided spoilers for this, I assumed it would be game-changing. Nope. It just sets up a new Black Widow, something that could have been a tv show. In Taskmaster it features one of the most underutilized villains in the history of the MCU (and all feels way too similar to what they did with Ghost in Ant-Man And The Wasp), I suppose the real villain is Ray Winstones character, but the true villain is his acting coach. Not quite as dull as Eternals, but I had much higher expectations.


Wonder Woman 1984

I remember talking about this with someone before it came out, I mentioned how this reminded me of Thor: Ragnorak and was looking like it was going to be a technicolour ball of fun, as it is it’s just technicolour bullshit. It’s turned a strong independent female character into “I just need a man”. It’s not even an original story, it’s just another soft adaptation of The Monkey’s Paw, which has been done much better in other media. Also, I genuinely can’t remember that much about Kristen Wiigs character, she’s ridiculously underdeveloped, she’s given barely anything to do once she becomes a villain. It still looks good, but the script is diabolical. This is a BIG film, released just over a year ago, and featured a cameo from Lynda Carter, yet nobody talks excitedly about it.

Best Performer

Amy Nostbakken/Norah Sadava in Mouthpiece

Cheating a bit as it’s two performers, but they’re both playing the same character so I’m counting it. For a lot of these, I’m counting things like believability, facial expressions, dialogue delivery etc. They do all of those things well, but sold this for me was how unbelievably in-sync they are throughout. This goes beyond acting into performance art. The way they physically interact with each other is almost ballet-like in its precision and use of space

Riz Ahmed in Sound Of Metal

I mainly know him from Four Lions, he was in Nightcrawler but that was mainly Jake’s film let’s be honest. This? This was incredible. I didn’t know he had this in him. The pain, the torment, the frustration. His character is suffering, and his performance lets you know that.

McKenna Grace in Ghostbusters Afterlife

If she’s in a film I watch, she’s likely to be nominated in this category, every year. That’s how good she is. It’s not bias either, I didn’t recognise it as her while I watched this, all I thought was “I have no idea who that is but she is absolutely nailing every piece of dialogue here”. The way she delivers bad jokes makes them funny, her comedic timing is impeccable, and she’s talented enough that she carries the emotional setpieces too. She’s in a film with Paul Rudd, and outshines him.

Magdalena Kolesnik in Sweat

All the way through she gives a good performance, but the scene near the end where she’s being interviewed and she just breaks down completely. She’s helped by some tremendous dialogue which she conveys beautifully. But there’s a moment in the end where she realises that it was pointless, that nobody cares, that she just needs to smile and get back to work. It’s heartbreaking, and she nails it.

Katja Herbers in The Columnist

The second foreign language performer to be nominated here, both fully deserved. This one slightly edged it out because of how wordless some of her best moments were. You could tell her character was trying to hide her annoyance. It’s a difficult role to do as she has to be likeable, but also a serial killer. So she has to have that weird mix of danger and sweetness. It’s a testament to both her performance, and to the writing, that it works as well as it does.

Billy Crystal in Here Today/Anthony Hopkins in The Father

This is going to be tricky making this work for both but the reasons they work are so similar for both I feel okay consolidating them into one. So here goes: Normally they’re actors who play characters who lead a film, in control of every scene. So to see them play somebody so vulnerable is devastating. It’s so unlike them that it really hits home their situations.

Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman

Read a review which said she looked “like bad drag”. Fuck off. Besides, the important thing is how good she is in this role, and she’s great, her body language in each scene showing who’s in control. You can tell she’s instantly changed a situation to her advantage just by the way she’s standing. Plus she has an unsure confidence, she has to believe she’s doing what’s right, but there’s a part that’s not.

Rebecca Hall in The Night House

She’s always had a lot of promise but somehow manages to find herself in slightly disappointing roles (Iron Man 3, Godzilla Vs. Kong, Dorian Gray), in this she lives up to the potential you always knew she had. She plays a character dealing with intense personal loss, and that loss is written through every fibre of her performance. So even in the horror moments, you are always fully aware that this is a character tinged with sadness and regret. It’s the kind of performance that would be talked about for oscar nominations if they didn’t hate horror movies for some reason.

Niamh Algar in Censor

Occasionally you get a performer who you truly feel is representing the directors vision, and I feel Algar is doing this here. Her performance feels like it suits the character, the film, everything about it. I really hope her and the director work together in the future as they compliment each other wonderfully. She looks broken throughout and it’s amazing to watch. Even when she’s saying things she’s certain about, her face still seems unsure. It’s perfect for the character and I want to see her in more stuff.

Thomasin McKenzie in Last Night In Soho

This could not have been an easy performance for her to deliver, the emotional range needed is off the charts, and she had to do it all in a Cornish accent, and how did they even explain that accent to someone from New Zealand? Have to say, I never noticed though. I knew I recognised her from somewhere, but I couldn’t place where and I assumed it was some random Channel 4 show. The fact that she is this good, and is only 21 is terrifying and exciting.


Julia Sarah Stone in Come True

Already known to cinephiles in Canada due to her award-winning roles in The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom and Wet Burn, this is the first I’ve seen of her and I now want to see more. Her performance is utterly captivating. This is without a doubt one of the best performances I’ve ever seen in my life. Her performance is seen in every moment of her performance, from her body language, her facial expressions, everything is filled with little nuances that sell her character.

Worst Performer

Ray Winstone in Black Widow

You’d think he’d be great at this, he’s basically a mob boss with access to superpowered beings. But his accent is SO bad it’s laughable. It’s so hard to take him seriously as a threat when his accent his travelling more than someone who doesn’t understand the rules of basketball. I haven’t heard accents this bad outside of someone being slightly racist.

Leslie Mann in Blithe Spirit

Again, the accent. I can’t tell what nationality her character was supposed to be, was she supposed to be British and couldn’t quite manage it, or was she just supposed to be posh and her mind automatically leant slightly British?


Lebon James in Space Jam

He can’t act. At all. His character admits that in the film, doesn’t make it better.

Best Soundtrack

Come True

Has one of my favourite songs I heard in 2021. If you listen to this you can instantly tell the tone of the film. Is great to listen to. But even outside of that song, it’s great. Haven’t heard a soundtrack this creepy this It Follows.


One of the best examples of music syncing with animation in a while. The whole thing plays like an art piece, the animation moving with the music in a wonderful flowing motion. Not quite sure how it would work independently, but it is marvellous as part of something bigger.


Following the John Wick rule of using older music, and just like that it worked. It gives the violent scenes an air of beauty and class they wouldn’t have otherwise. Not exactly a soundtrack I would go out and buy, but it suits the film perfectly.

The Suicide Squad

Not quite as good as the others on this list at matching the tone of the movie, but the choice of songs is amazing. Probably one of the ones I’m most likely to listen to on its own.

In The Heights

Another musical, but very different from Annette. I’m not sure these would work on their own, not exactly the kind of soundtrack you’d show somebody who didn’t know the film, you’d needed to have watched this to truly get the songs I think. But once you watch it, you’ll love the music. The best one is probably the opening one, it does a great job of telling you who everybody is. This film had the advantage obviously of coming from an already established musical.

Last Night In Soho

Edgar Wright is one of those directors (similar to Gunn actually) who knows what songs to pick to make a great soundtrack. Definitely the case here, obviously the key musical motif is Downtown, but the rest of the film has songs that suit it too. They’re great at setting the tone.



Musicals normally have a sense of playfulness, except for adaptations like Les Miserables. This is dark, but in a beautiful way, and the music suits that. The opening number is probably the scene I’ve watched the most on youtube this year, when I watched it originally I rewound it multiple times because I wanted to feel the magic again. Part of that was the song chosen. It’s dark, but also playful, a Sparks song about how the film is starting, starring the cast, and the musicians. There are other really good songs throughout, actually I can’t remember any dialogue, in my head it was all music. Such good songs, there’s one where Adam Drivers character is just going on a rant on stage, and the audience are booing him and telling to go away, all in the medium of song.

Most Surprising


Assumed this would be one of those “oh it’s very well made for a low budget foreign indie film”, but this is genuinely one of my favourite films now. The emotion, the performances, the originality. I loved almost everything about it. Not going to go too much into it as will mention it later.

Love and Monsters

Probably not the best film in this category, a lot of the others I expected nothing and was surprised by them, this, I expected it to be quite bad. If it wasn’t for someone messaging me telling me to watch it I would have avoided it. This is much better than you may think it would be by looking at the poster. Heatwarming, funny, and just overall brilliant

Come True

Went into this knowing nothing, came out with one of my favourite films I’ve seen. Won’t be talking about it much in this one because I talk about it A LOT in other categories.


Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Some of these I went in blind and surprised me that way, some I thought were bad, but then checked them out after being told otherwise. This? I went in thinking it would terrible. The early reviews were very negative, and lets be honest it looked like it could miss the point of the originals completely. The first few minutes I was still unsure, it wasn’t until McKenna Grace’s character was on screen and started talking that I started to realise this could be good. It was better than that. Others in this category are better, but none have had such a big difference between expectations and reality. Loved it.

Best Character

Mav1s – Love And Monsters

Not in the film for very long, not even human. But gives the film some more humanity in its actions. Provides emotion, depth, and some very heartwarming moments. Very reminiscent of Baymax.

Red Guardian – Black Widow

The film was disappointing but it was never down to him. His character was funny and added a weird sense of pathos to it. I know the MCU is moving towards focusing on Yelena moving forward, but I’d much rather see more from him, weirdly I’d actually really want a prequel focusing on him.

Christine – How To Deter A Robber

There’s something so goofy and loveable about her. The moments where she’s on-screen are among the best. Essentially the type of character that Anna Kendrick would play.

Peacemaker – The Suicide Squad

There’s a reason this character got a spin-off. A sociopath who believes he’s a good guy. He is basically America personified.


Podcast/Phoebe – Ghostbusters: Afterlife

With just one of these characters, the film would be good, with both of them it’s amazing. The chemistry between them brings to mind classic 80s films like The Goonies. They’re just so perfect together that I had to include them both. They’re both great for the same reason. Incredibly well written and very funny. But the jokes they make don’t detract away from the tension, they’re not cracking wise while staring death in the face, they’re also not making jokes that kids wouldn’t make. They’re goofy jokes, which reluctantly raise a smile.

Best Film


Oh, this is tough. I may regret this decision. Usually, I just list the films nominated and then put the winner. I know there were a lot of films in the best of the year blog, but when it came to what my absolute favourite was, in reality, it was between this and Come True. I felt it would be disingenuous to list films I know had zero chance of winning, pretending they had a chance, would be a waste of my time writing, and your time reading. It is really close by the way, for different reasons. Come True is a film-makers film, Mouthpiece is a scriptwriters film. In terms of look and technical prowess, Come True runs away with it. In terms of originality, this has it. Come True is better from an analytical and film student perspective, Mouthpiece is better from an emotional one. In the end, it came down to this: If I had to watch both, which would I watch first? And the answer is Mouthpiece, it hit me harder.

So, that’s it for 2021, a surprisingly strong year for cinema. 2022 will probably have more foreign-language and independent reviews, so look forward to these getting a lot more pretentious and finding more obscure stuff. Should be fun.

2021 In Film: Day One (The Awful)

Quite simply, the worst films of the year. Ones that not only am I in no rush to see again, but ones that I will actively avoid. Films where my short recaps here can basically be summed up as: eugh. My internal clarification is this: would I consider it among one of the worst films I’ve seen? Does it have any reason to see it? If not, in here.

A Perfect Plan

A film so dull that it wasn’t actually on my list of films I saw this year. It was only when I was going through the reviews that I remembered it. It has left zero impact on me.

+ The Concept. A unique twist on standard heist movies.

– So incredibly dull. No excitement, no joy, nothing worthwhile. It’s a film so devoid of anything memorable that watching it is almost indistinguishable from not watching it

Best Moment: When it ended? I dunno, I’ve got nothing. Like I said, forgettable.

Worst moment: The heist itself. It lacks any excitement or tension. It should be the lynchpin the film revolves around and builds up to, as it is it’s a thumbtack that fell out of a corkboard, breaking as it hits the floor, then gets kicked under a cupboard, forgotten and worthless, completely pointless.

Best Performer: Carlo Rota. He’s too good for films like this.

Worst Performer: Kathleen Munroe. They’re all bad, but she’s the star, so she gets the biggest criticism.

Best Line: You’re a shoe size passing for an IQ.

Original review here


I was really looking forward to this. The concept was good and the original trailer was haunting. The finished product just isn’t there though. The pacing is all off, it lingers when it should move on, and moves on when it should linger. It’s more interested in making a good point than it is making a good movie.

+ Has some great moments.

– All the villains are basically caricatures, so they’re not interesting or compelling to watch.

Best moment: Her riding on horseback through a fake battle.

Worst Moment: The reveal.

Best Performer: Janelle Monae, best known as a musician, but I really hope she gets cast in more things in the future. She’s in Knives Out 2, which I’m looking forward to.

Worst performer: Jena Malone. That’s not her accent is it? It can’t be

Best line: Sometimes what looks like anger is really just fear

Original review here

Blithe Spirit

Hadn’t seen anything about this in the lead-up, almost like the makers were embarrassed, which they should be. It was one of the first films I saw this year, and it made me grateful for COVID as it meant there was no chance of seeing it at the cinema.

+The concept and some of the dialogue is first-class. Also, it has a really bright colour scheme, which is unusual for films like this. Normally if a film is set in the 30s the colours are very muted and slightly brown to give an almost sepia-tone to the whole thing. In this they’re like a rainbow splashed on the wall.

-Why do so many performers ham it up for Noel Coward adaptations? It comes off really unnatural and means that the film feels like a 2020’s film about the 1930s, rather than just a film about the 1930s

Best moment: Throwing the china. For a film where I include the dialogue as one of my favourite things, it says a lot about this scene that it’s my favourite despite being just physical comedy.

Worst moment: The ghost of his ex-wife starts throwing knives at one of the staff. It seems very mean-spirited and out of place.

Best performer: Julian Rhind-Tutt. He really should be in more things of this nature, he’s perfect for it.

Worst performer: Leslie Mann. It’s not that she’s bad, it’s just her accent is all over the place.

Best line: “Are they habit-forming?” “Of course not, I’ve been using them for years”

Original review here.

Don’t Breathe 2

I mean, I didn’t really like the original so I don’t know why I thought it would be any different this time. But again, it’s trying to rehabilitate someone who is truly evil. It’s trying to make him slightly heroic, but nothing he does makes up for what we saw him do in the first film.

+ Has some good scares.

– Bit pointless.

Best Moment: There’s a really good tracking shot.

Worst Moment: Not sure, it was all so forgettable that I can’t remember.

Best Performer: Madelyn Grace, a child performer who isn’t completely annoying.

Worst Performer: Almost everybody is equal.

Best Line: Now you’re gonna see what I see!

Original review here

Escape Room: Tournament Of Champions

Again, a film where I didn’t like the original, so I’m not sure why I thought I might like this one. Especially with how similar the two films are. The first film ended with Minos (the company behind the killer escape rooms) setting up a fake plane accident as an escape room in which to trap the two main characters. This film ends with the two characters trapped on a plane escape room. So the next film will start pretty much where this one should have. No idea what the next one will be as the alternate cut of this features someone they’re setting up as the main villain going forward. So will the sequel take this film as canon, or will it make the extended version a complete waste of time? It’s a lose-lose situation really. But at least the next step should be entertaining.

+ The paranoia in the opening scenes, really sets up how the characters are effected by what they went through.

– If you think about the logistics the whole thing falls apart. Are we led to believe that Minos somehow set it up that all the people they needed would be in the exact same train compartment at the same time, and NOBODY else. Also, the train company don’t realise the extra cart, or that they lose one. Unless they’re involved too. But you can’t just say “every company in the world is involved in this secret organisation”, just stupid.

Best Moment: The acid rain trap. Truly disturbing.

Worst moment: When the traps start making it harder for them. This is supposed to be being bet on by people, right? Wouldn’t they complain about the traps changing halfway through and suddenly becoming unfair?

Best Performer: Zoey Davis.

Worst Performer: Deborah Ann Woll. Not really her performance, but her character being in it, breaks the film slightly.

Notable Line: “Tell us, Zoey. Did we do a good job convincing you?” I knew they didn’t actually escape, but this confirmed it. So everything was hopeless and pointless.

Original review here

Home Sweet Home Alone

I assumed this would be bad from when I first saw the trailer. I was not disappointed, by which I mean I was disappointed, this film was terrible. It doesn’t seem to understand WHY we liked the first two (and only those two). It lacks the magic of the original, there’s no joy to it, just the sound of a studio saying they want money.

+ It sets up the universe very well. Kevin from the first two films has set up a home security company, which makes a lot of sense. This is hinted at rather than outright said, and the restraint for that reference is commendable.

– The decision to focus on the thieves breaks the film as it makes the pain they go through a lot less funny. If they switched the focus I’m not saying it would be a good movie, but it would undoubtedly be better.

Best Moment: The ending is slightly heartwarming.

Worst moment: The VR “trap”. It makes no sense once you think about it.

Best Performer: Rob Delaney.

Worst Performer: Archie Yates. Not sure if it’s the script or his performance but he just comes off as annoying.

Notable Line: “Uh, this is garbage. I don’t know why they are always trying to remake the classics. Never as good as the originals”. Just because you make a joke about terrible remakes, doesn’t mean your remake isn’t terrible.

Original review here


I have rules in my head for these lists. After the list of bad ones, my next list contains films that are bad, but have something I can recommend watching for. Sometimes it can be that it looks amazing, sometimes it’s an amazing performance, and sometimes it’s one scene that really works. This film does the opposite, it’s thoroughly okay and belongs in the next blog, but the ending is SO infuriating it knocks it down.

+ Genuinely interesting concept. Has one pretty damn good scene.

– The music? I get it’s supposed to be offputting, but it seems weirdly jaunty at times, too high pitched. Also, I cannot understate how much the ending ruins it.

Best Moment: Scene where it’s happening to everybody in a car park. Very similar to the moment in Us when you see the true extent of the tethered. A real holy shit moment where you want to stand up and applaud the genius of it. In a way that makes it better for her as she knows it’s not personal, but it also makes it much much worse.

Worst moment: The ending. It genuinely knocks the movie down a few points. Thematically it makes sense, but narratively it feels slightly weak. It’s the equivalent of a gymnast doing a double backflip but landing on their head and shitting themselves.

Best Performer: Kausar Mohammed. For the first part of the film, she does a great job of being a warm, lovely person. But then there’s a scene where she’s talking to the lead where she suddenly gets super creepy when she’s asked where she got a scar, gets a blank look in her eyes, completely devoid of emotion, almost robotic. And utters the line ““just an old thing. I forget. Just a part of living in this world. It happened so long ago” in the best way possible. It’s not the best line, but the way she performs it is phenomenal, possibly one of the best line deliveries I’ve seen in a long time.

Worst Performer: Leith Burke. Not a bad performance, just incredibly bland.

Best Line: “I am not lucky, I just work really really hard”. It’s part of a longer speech that is just incredible to watch.

Original review here

Space Jam: A New Legacy

I’m not entirely sure why this was made. Actually, I have an idea: money. This brings nothing new to the table. It’s not film, it’s product. Everything seems geared towards selling you a streaming service. I haven’t seen anything that fellates itself this much since I accidentally went into the wrong hotel room in Bristol. It doesn’t feel like a sequel to the first one, it feels like some weird cheap knock-off.

+ All the references are fun to catch.

– Feels like it’s made by committee. No heart, no soul

Best Moment: The basketball game itself.

Worst moment: Bugs bunny “dies”. It’s supposed to be emotional but we know it’s not going to stay so it means absolutely nothing.

Best Performer: Don Cheadle. Turns out he can be quite creepy.

Worst Performer: LeBron James, he’s not an actor.

Notable Line: “but I can’t act”. Correct, you can’t, and that sums up the problem.

Original review here

The Addams Family 2

This never really feels like an Addams Family movie, it seems the fourth instalment in an Illumination series. “They go on holiday” is normally what a TV series does to its characters when the show is on its last legs, that’s how this feels. Like the last desperate cries of a dying franchise that was never really alive in the first place. The reveal that Gomez is actually bald feels weirdly out of step with who these characters are.

+ Some of the casting is perfect, well it would be in a live-action film anyway.

– Lacks anything which makes the Addams Family special.

Best Moment: Lurch performing I Will Survive.

Worst moment: Cousin It being dropped off by private jet, then leaving before doing nothing.

Best Performer(s): Charlize Theron. Her and Oscar Isaac are perfect, the way their animated is still wrong though.

Worst Performer: Nick Kroll. Completely the wrong choice.

Best Line: “Do you know how much work it is to decapitate an entire barbershop quartet?”

Original review here

The Boss Baby 2

The Boss Baby 2, or in some territories named The Boss Baby: Family business, and to me known as “Oh no, please no, what did the world do to deserve this?”. We didn’t need a Boss Baby sequel, we didn’t even need the first one. It’s completely unneeded, the way they tell the story is the worst possible way to tell it, and the decision to tell it is not a good one. The characters have not developed at all, despite this film taking place at least 20 years after it. Also, when the characters discuss the actions of the actions of the first movie, they say “at least the jokes were good, right?” to be met with a “meh”. So the characters of Boss Baby 2, are saying the first one isn’t funny. The franchise is shitting on itself.

The film seems to forget that the actions of the first film were forgotten by the parents, so don’t factor into characterisation. At one point they say “oh, those kids did everything together”. Did they? Because we’ve seen ZERO evidence of this.

+ It looks pretty

– Why does it need to exist?

Best Moment: Musical interlude. It’s sweet and looks absolutely gorgeous.

Worst moment: Almost everything with actual adult Tim, his characterisation is the same as it was in the first film, you know, when he was a child.

Best Performer: Jeff Goldblum, he seems like he’s having fun.

Worst Performer: No real weak links tbh, but not many standouts either tbh.

Best Line: They’re going to send in the Baby Seals

Original review here

Those Who Wish Me Dead

I’m assuming this belongs here as I can’t remember anything from it. It left zero impact on me. It feels like a relic of another time, and not in a good way.

+ Looks good.

– Feels like it’s missing something to make it stand out.

Best Moment: The murders at the start. Brutal and just what’s needed.

Best Performer: Angelina Jolie, you occasionally forget just how good she is until you see her in stuff like this.

Best Line: “You can fucking suffer” mainly because of the performance given while saying it.

Original review here

Thunder Force

On the subject of films that feel dated, this feels like a comedy from the early 90s. When views on superhero films were different. The story itself feels like it belongs in a kids film. I can’t imagine an adult sitting down and being entertained by this. McCarthy has shown that she can be good, but she’s not talented enough to elevate a poor script, and there are fewer scripts that are as poor as this one.

+ Jason Bateman. He is the highlight of the film.

– It just feels lazy.

Best Moment: Kiss From A Rose as they start a fight scene

Worst moment: The dance scene between McCarthy and Bateman. It’s so out of place and adds nothing that couldn’t have been added in a better way.

Best Performer: Jason Bateman

Worst Performer: McCarthy

Best Line: “unfortunately these superpowers were only unlocked in rare individuals who were genetically predisposed to being sociopaths”

Original review here

Tom And Jerry

These films are really difficult to do. Mainly because maintaining pacing takes someone incredibly talented, and someone that talented wouldn’t be approached to do this. In an ideal world you would have someone like George Miller. Somebody who knows about constant action. Tim Story’s closest films have been two Fantastic Four films, and they’re not exactly highly regarded.

+ The fact that physical damage is caused by the animated fights. Must have been so difficult to do.

– The lack of warmth to the whole thing.

Best Moment: The fight in the hotel room. Chaotic but fun

Worst moment: The opening fight. Completely unneeded. We didn’t need the establishing fight between them. We could have had them meet at the hotel. Here’s what happens: they fight in the park, with Jerry breaking Tom’s keyboard and stealing money from him. Jerry sneaks into a hotel, which then hires Tom to catch him. Everything up to “Jerry sneaks into a hotel” is unneeded. Even the Chloe Grace Moretz stuff is not needed. Her opening scenes are her losing her job, then applying for one at the hotel. We didn’t need to see her losing her job. We just needed to see her applying for the new one.

Best Performer: Patsy Ferran. Such a unique performance in a film sorely lacking identity.

Worst Performer: Chloe Grace Moretz. As much as I love her normally, a character that’s supposed to be that street smart, should not be as awkward as she’s playing her.

Best Line: “This simulator is amazing, it really simulates how bad I am at golf”

Original review here

No One Gets Out Alive (2021)

Quick Synopsis: An undocumented woman from Mexico moves into a dilapidated building run by a guy who is obviously hiding something sinister

This film is an acquired taste, I’ll say that upfront now. There’s a chance you won’t like this. Maybe you won’t like the pacing, maybe you won’t like the horror style, maybe you’re an asshole and won’t like that the main character is an undocumented citizen. Either way, there is a lot that could possibly rub you the wrong way. I dug it though. There’s something so weirdly timeless about this movie. I think I’ve mentioned in the past that some horror films seem more like ghost stories read by candlelight. This is definitely one of those. Also, despite it being set in America, it feels weirdly British. Maybe it’s because of the “ghost story” like feeling to it. Maybe it’s the architecture. Maybe it’s something as simple as the fact some of the other people are Romanian etc, which seems more like something you’ll find in England than the US (or maybe it’s because it’s based on a book by a British author. Who knows?)

I’ll admit, I’m not that familiar with the work of the director, Santiago Menghini, but now I want to be. He makes some great choices in this which really enhance it. There are some decisions where nothing was needed, but he did something anyway, and it makes it better. The best example is when someone is being killed on the other side of a door, and a tooth flies under the door. Most people wouldn’t think to do that, but it really adds to it and shows a great attention to those little details that make a film great.

It’s not just him though, the performers are all great too. It’s a cast of people I’m unfamiliar with and that helped it. It felt less like a movie, and more like we were witnessing these events. Cristina Rodlo, in particular, is a revelation, giving her character the broken strength needed to make it work (and make the flashback make sense with her characterisation).

This is an incredibly powerful story. The basic set up and characters would work in a drama series. It’s only the specific situation that is definite horror. That helps it as it makes it feel like the story is happening in reality, as opposed to some horror films which seem to take place in a horror movie universe.

I think this is a film you need at watch at some point, but not one you need to rush out and see immediately. It’s not as good as, say, The Power, but it’s not as frustrating a watch as Lucky. It’s a netflix original, so hopefully will stay on the platform for a very long time. So if you want something to watch with your friends who don’t enjoy gorey or incredibly disturbing horror films this halloween, it would be hard to go wrong with this. The non horror parts are engaging enough to keep everybody watching involved.

12 Hour Shift (2020)

Quick Synopsis: A drug-addicted nurse needs to find a spare kidney to stop her sister being killed.

By all rights I should have loved this. It’s an interesting plot, bloody, funny, and it has Mick Foley. For some reason it inspired no bigger reaction than “it was alright”. It was good, but it never felt better than that to me. It never fully grabbed me like I needed it to. I’m not sure why, the performances are great, I’ve only seen Angela Bettis in the 2002 version of Carrie, a film which had many problems but she was not one of them. I think its an issue of the film over-reaching, it attempts a lot more than it needs to. It has so many plates spinning in the air that it never spins them quickly enough. If it cut down some of the unnecessary characters I feel it would be stronger. Because it has so much going on it never really gathers enough momentum to be truly satisfying.

It’s written and directed by Brea Grant, who also gave us Lucky, which was more disappointing but probably had more potential. It’s a shame because she’s obviously really good, it’s just her stuff seems more like stuff I’d see shorts of than features. Not to say this film is bad though, like I said the performances are great, and it’s really really funny when it needs to be.

It’s still weird to see Mick Foley drop the f-bomb considering I always assumed he was allergic. It also looks great, has a kind of washed out greyness too it that really suits the tone. Praise must also go to the uniqueness of the the film. It’s hard to compare it anything because there’s really not much else like this. There’s not nearly enough horror films set in a hospital, especially not one over the course of a nightshift, which is weird as that kind of thing is ripe for horror movie fodder. I feel that may also slightly work against this film, you get the feeling that it’s not quite making the most of the setting and timing. There doesn’t seem to be much in this film that couldn’t be accomplished over the course of a few nights instead of just one. It doesn’t have that race against time that would be great for a film like this. It does seem to do a lot with the location, there are few places this could take place in other than a hospital, although again, it doesn’t make the most of the fact that it’s a night shift. Compare this to something like The Power, which made the most of the creepy nature of hospitals late at night.

Maybe that’s my issue, it doesn’t feel like a horror movie full of darkness and creepiness, it feels a bit like a cheap slasher movie, but the story doesn’t lend itself to that so there’s a real disconnect between tone and story. Also it feels a little too polished for such a scuzzy tale. It needs to feel dirty, but it comes off just a bit too clean. Overall the film suffers a real struggle for tone throughout, and that really hurts it.

This is a film I feel I will like a lot more on a second watch, and I will watch it again someday, just not for a while. Worth checking out though.

I Blame Society (2020)

Quick Synopsis: A struggling film-maker (Gillian Horvat) realises that the skill set to make a movie is the same to commit a murder.

Obviously I had to see this. From the first time I saw the tagline, I knew I had to watch this. The concept was unique, being dark and twisted in a way I really appreciated. It could only go one of two ways: one of my favourite films of the year, or one of the most disappointing.

Thankfully this is squarely in the first camp. It makes the most of the concept, it’s something new and exciting, and the script is incredible. I say that with certainty because it passes one test on whether I love a film or not: it annoys me that I didn’t write this. It seems very me as a concept, and I’m so glad it was handled by someone as talented as Horvat (who directed/wrote this film as well as starring in it). Her background is in short films, and I guess the concept here is best suited for that, there are a few moments where the film seems uncertain of what it’s doing, the ending in particular doesn’t quite hit as it needs to. It also feels quite low budget, but personally I think that works for it. It feels home-made. That’s something that would put a lot of people off, but it really appealed to me and helped bring me into the world. It’s shot like a documentary (of which Horvat has a lot of experience in as a director, and it shows), and it’s not exactly a subject which would allow a big budget as a documentary. In universe, the documentary is not funded by a studio, and she doesn’t have a large crew on which to fall on, it’s pretty much just one woman and a camera. So you do have moments where she sets up a static camera, then people move out of the centre of the frame. There are awkward setting up of shots, the camera isn’t always steady when she’s moving and the lighting isn’t always great. But that all makes sense in universe. It doesn’t seem like “oh, this is low budget and the film-makers don’t know what they’re doing”, it feels more like “this was a stylistic choice to improve the believability of the film”, and I love it.

Now onto the performances, there are a lot of performers in this, but it’s definitely Horvat’s showcase, and she carries it off well. There are a few moments where she doesn’t seem sure what she’s doing, but that feels more like character-work than bad performance. It’s not the best performance of the year by a long shot, but it is one of the most believable. I have no idea what she’s like as a person, but her performance makes me think she’s almost exactly like the character in the film (just less murder-ey, maybe). Again, it’s not something everybody will like, but it really worked for me. It helps with how well-written her character is, so that even when she’s doing horrible things, you root for her. And even when she’s doing stuff that shouldn’t make sense, you can see her logic for it. It’s all very well done.

Another polarising aspect will be the plot. It’s very feminist, and isn’t shy about displaying that. That will be off-putting to some, but I doubt those people will be watching low budget movies anyway because they’re too busy crying that “I displayed basic human dignity to a human female, and she didn’t fuck me. I hope she dies”. With films like this, Lucky, The Power, and Promising Young Woman (which I still really need to see), this is definitely a year of women fighting back in films. A year where they are displaying how fed up they are with dealing with the bullshit they have to on a daily basis, and want to power back against the systems that hold them down. On the one hand: it’s brilliant that those voices are now being amplified and listened to, so that’s great. But on the other hand, it’s depressing that those things still needed to be said.

So yeah, I loved this film, as you can tell. It’s so damn funny and brilliant. It’s a film that will split opinion, but those who like it will really like it. A cult hit that needs a bigger audience, and I genuinely think it deserves it. A film that continues 2021’s streak of fantastic womens films. I will freely admit that Mouthpiece was a much better film, but I have more love for this (and considering how many times I’ve put that film over this year, that says a lot).

Lucky (2020)

Was curious about this ever since I first saw the trailer. It looked genuinely interesting, and kind of like a reverse Happy Death Day, whilst in that film the main character was getting killed every single day, in this film, a woman is being hunted by a killer who she survives every single day. This film was impactful, and the performances were great (Bea Grant was really good in it as the lead, but my favourite performer was probably Kausar Mohammed, who isn’t in it much but has one of the best scenes). It had a compelling narrative that contained a real mystery within it. So I was with this film every single step of the way. But as I watched it, cracks in my affection started to appear. A few shots where the colour scheme wasn’t quite right or the shot composition seemed a little ropey or the lighting was the wrong choice, a few moments where the make-up and gore looked incredibly fake, some moments where the music went from “creepy and unsettling” to “well this is just annoying me now”. I ignored those negative thoughts, as I was sure the closing stretch would be superb. I felt it was building towards something great.

I’m usually pretty good at sensing timings in films. I very rarely have “is that it?” moments when the film ends. This film had that. It felt like it was slowly approaching something, and then it skipped a few steps. Also, I’m gonna say it, I was not a fan of the ending. I completely get what it was going for and I commend them for it, but it turned a literal story into a metaphorical one, and unless you were following the metaphor, the story didn’t make sense. There are a hundred different ways they could have done the ending which would have satisfied both the narrative, and the metaphor. It would have been difficult, but it would have been possible.

Yes, I am aware this is a personal preference and a lot of you will love this film because of the ending. I can’t hide it anymore so I’ll tell you what the ending is, and do my best to explain my own interpretation of it. Her partner comforts her and is genuinely creepy, then she gets attacked by him again. She stabs him and collapses alongside him, where his face starts transforming into all the other male characters from the film. This, combined with a moment earlier where seemingly every female character was also being attacked by the same mysterious masked figure, combines to form this as the ending and central theme:

Women are under constant attack, not just by a specific man, but by patriarchal power structures and men in general. That the constant barrage of “you need to lose weight”, “you need to stop being skinny, I prefer a bit of meat on my bones”, “how can you leave the children with someone else while you go to work?”, “how can you quit your job to spend time with your kids? How will you afford things?”, “you should wear make-up”, “why are you wearing so much make up?”. Just this CONSTANT barrage of unwanted and contradictory unasked-for opinions that women have forced upon them by society and culture is fucking exhausting and is leading to severe mental and physical health problems for women. And even the ones who aren’t killing them, they’re making things worse for them by disbelieving them, minimising their fears, downplaying their achievements (shown in this film by having the police not believe her, and her agent saying it was all his work that got her a good contract). Essentially it’s about how women are being constantly gaslit

I agree that this is a noble point to make, it’s a point that is very important, one that needs to be said, and said loudly. But it feels like such a cop-out for the narrative which until then played it pretty straight. It would be like if you watched a hockey movie, where the underdogs had to beat the best team in the country. You follow the team train, lose games against the better team, and just generally follow standard sports movie tropes. Then at the final game the opposing team take all their helmets off and all the people are the same as the good guys, the real villain was lack of self confidence. Yeah, it’s a powerful metaphor, but then outside of the metaphor, who were they ACTUALLY playing out there on the ice? It’s a shame as up until they I had very warm feelings for this film and was fascinated to see how they would pay it off, so it’s very disappointing to find out that they didn’t. I just…..I wish the ending was more narratively satisfying, or if it was just a short film. As a feature length I feel like I wasted all that time in a story that doesn’t exist, it’s just another form of “it’s all a dream”.

Like I said, it’s a real shame as this film had a lot to like about it. The characters were engaging and it had a lot of really cool moments. Chief among those is a scene where she’s being interviewed by the police and they randomly start singing at her. It’s really weird and creepy and cool and inventive and I loved it. It also had some fantastic lines full of pathos and uncomfortable truths. It also has one of the creepiest moments I’ve seen in a while where one of the female characters suddenly has a scar on her back, when she’s asked why she goes somewhat robotic and says it’s the price of being there. This again makes sense later on when you realise she’s actually that’s the price of being a woman in the modern world, but with that in mind she seemed to say it in an unnecessarily creepy way. Why wouldn’t she mention it in this scene, knowing that the main character is going through the exact same thing?

So overall, kind of a disappointment. Shame as the opening moments and the setup is incredible, but then it kind of falls apart. Reminds me of Steven Moffat stuff, where he sets things up and you wonder “how is this going to get resolved? Such a mystery”, then it turns out the answer is just a general handwave.