2021 In Film: Day Eight (The Amazeballs)

And so we’ve reached the last round-up of the year. This, and the last one were the most difficult to separate. There were some great films in the last blog, and I will admit there are some here that some people will feel are more flawed. This one is all about “Do I consider these among the best films I’ve seen?”. Entirely subjective, but I never really claimed to be anything else.

Come True

We’re starting off with a good’n. I haven’t properly decided on the awards yet for this year, but this will probably win the one for best film. This is astounding. Everything about this works. I’ve had to cut down on unessential items this year, yet I still got both the blu-ray, and the soundtrack for this. Without a doubt, this is the most astounding film of the year. I remember this being on a big screen and completely involved in it. In reality, I watched it on a laptop while building work was going on a few doors down. That’s how good this film is, it makes the screen you’re watching on feel bigger.

It is possible I’m mad.

+ The general feeling of the whole thing. Incredibly tense.

– Might be a bit too strange. Plus, the title is such a common phrase that finding any cool t-shirts etc on redbubble (other websites are available) is difficult.

Best Moment: The ending. Incredibly tense which both makes sense and yet also doesn’t.

Worst moment: Not a specific moment, but there are a few times where the film seems to be repeating itself.

Best Performer: Julie Sarah Stone. One of the best performances of the year.

Best Line: “what if you’re wrong?” Means nothing with no context, but in the context, holy shit.

Original review here

Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Am I being too generous to this? Probably. But the way this film made me FEEL is incredible. It made me feel warm inside like glitter was exploding inside of me. It just WORKS. I saw it twice at the cinema, and still feel that wasn’t enough. Probably the warmest a film has made me feel in a long time. It’s very funny, and the performances are amazing. I was concerned when we got near the end and three of the original Ghostbusters turned up. I worried it would be “it’s fine, the old men are here now, they will save the young people and the women, because they’re just better”. But it doesn’t, they work together, and there’s a moment which gives us one of the sweetest moments of the film which I won’t spoil here

This is in a weird situation with me, because I both want to see more, but also REALLY don’t want a sequel to tarnish it. This is the perfect mix of humour and heart, and unless the writer has a sequel he NEEDS to make, it won’t work. This is a deeply personal story to the creators, and you can tell. This is a film they NEEDED to make, and is all the better for it.

+ Absolutely lovely. This should be a film that does for kids today what the original did for kids in the 80s. It has so much heart that you can’t help but fall in love.

– Lacks a certain playfulness at times.

Best Moment: The closing section, was built up to wonderfully.

Worst moment: All the unsubtle references to the original.

Best Performer: McKenna Grace. I’ve been talking about how great a performer she is since 2017, and she keeps proving why I was right to do so. And it’s not even just me thinking “oh, I like that actor, I’m going to compliment her performance”, her hair is WILDLY different in this, so I didn’t even recognise it was her until afterwards when I was looking at the details online.

Worst Performer: Bill Murray. Mainly because it feels like his character feels like the only one that hasn’t changed at all since the original.

Best Line: “how is a hamster like a cigarette? They’re both harmless until you put them in your mouth and set them on fire”.

Original review here

I Blame Society

Okay now, this is going to be divisive. It’s not just “not for me”, a large number of people will HATE this movie. But this is absolutely perfect for me. Funny, bloody, and incredibly smart. I wish more films were like this. I crave originality in film, and this has that in buckets. I can tell I liked this because I was really fucking annoyed that I didn’t write it. If you told people that I wrote a film that was released last year, they would have guessed this one. Everything about it seems like it was made for me.

+ They manage to make a killer likeable.

– Some people won’t like the filming style.

Best Moment: Hard to say as it flowed together. The death on the hill is an absurd highlight though.

Worst moment: The ending might be seen as a bit underwhelming.

Best Performer: Gillian Horvat, obviously.

Best Line: “There are benefits to killing a bad person, if you get a good movie out of it that’s an additional advantage”

Original review here

Love And Monsters

Quite unexpected. I thought this might be typical YA film. One of those films you ignore if you’re over the age of 14 because you assume it will be trite bollocks. It wasn’t until a few people recommended it that I thought I should give it a chance. I’m very glad I did as this is one of the best YA films I’ve seen since I Kill Giants. Available on netflix and well worth a watch. Has a fun energy to it, a lot of heart, and is very funny. It also teaches a lot of important lessons. Not the usual stuff you get in films like this: “just believe in yourself and you’re sure to win”, “the underdogs will always win every sports game”, “all bullies secretly want a hug”, “if you do drugs once, you’re going to die!”. The lessons from this are ones that even adults need: just because a woman rejects you, don’t be a fucking dick about it.

+ How damn fun it is.

– Really needed better marketing

Best Moment: There’s a scene between Mav1s (a robot) and Joel (the lead) where her battery is about to die. It’s weirdly sweet.

Worst moment: The crab fight goes on just a minute or so too long

Best Performer: Ariana Greenblatt. A performer to look out for in the future.

Worst Performer: Dan Ewing. Not quite the swaggering dick he needs to be. He’s an 8/10, could go slightly further.

Best Line: I did have your typical upbringing, but then the world ended.

Original review here

Luca

Inside Out made you relive your childhood, Soul gives you an existential crisis (more on that later), and now Pixar are asking…………..what if two children had a fun summer together and competed in a bike race. Oh, but those children are also fish monstes. It’s Pixar. Of course this is going to be great. This is……..it’s beautiful. Absolutely stunning to watch. The look, the story, the characters, it’s all *chef kiss*. The plot is not great but it so damn emotional that it doesn’t effect it as much as it would lesser films. When you look at the backgrounds for this you almost forget that it’s animated. It looks so wonderful it gives you nostalgia for a summer holiday you never went on. You can almost feel the summer breeze on your skin as you watch it. I highly recommend everybody watch this. It’s weirdly underrated by people, haven’t seen many people talking about it. But it’s among Pixar’s best.

+ The fact they used actual Italian voice performers.

– The plot is kind of basic. Controversial opinion, Pixar plots aren’t great.

Best Moment: Finding out Albertos history.

Worst moment: The opening under the scene, not as essential as the rest of the film.

Best Line: “Sea monster!” Out of context, that means nothing. But those two words changed the film. It moved it to another level.

Original review here

Mouthpiece:

And here it is, the other film I’m annoying people with by constantly mentioning. This is astounding. This is art, with one of the best scripts I’ve ever seen. Technically, it’s “okay” for most of it, but there’s really not that much you COULD do with this. But the script is incredible, and the performances across the board are so perfect you forget you’re watching a film. It’s really annoying to me that I can’t find this on DVD, it is available on Amazon Prime, but I don’t want that. I want to contribute financially to the makers of this. They don’t deserve this film to be lost on a streaming service, they deserve me walking up to them, handing them money directly and saying “thank you, thank you for providing what you have. But also fuck you because I wish I thought of it first”

+ The core performances. Physically and verbally, damn near perfect.

– Doesn’t hit quite as hard emotionally as it could. It should wreck you, it just makes you feel bummed out.

Best performer: Both of the leads. They’re the same person and they work in tandem beautifully. This is performance as art at it’s very best.

Worst performer: The florist. She has a total of two lines but feels like the only performer working at 90% as opposed to 100%. Incredibly harsh but it would be like putting a fifty pound note among a briefcase of cheques for a thousand pounds.

Best moment: Where the two versions of her are fighting to be the one to give the eulogy. It takes place in an empty church, no music, just the sound effects and the visuals of them not just fighting each other, but also fighting against their own inabilities to do what needs to be done. Incredibly powerful and moving, ends with the two of them embracing each other and walking up together. I changed this moment about 4 or 5 times while watching the film, it’s full of so many great moments like that.

Worst moment: “hi, it’s your Auntie”. Mainly because you’d lead with name not relationship, wouldn’t you?

Best line: That sex face might be confused with your “where’s my other sock?” face.

Original review here

Raya And The Last Dragon

Disney films normally start with the main characters parents dying, this one starts with what is the closest disney have ever come to genocide since they declared war on Guatemala. That may not have actually happened, could have just been a fever dream.

This is possibly the closest to being in the last blog, it’s teetering between the two and an argument could made for it in either direction. I love that this film exists. I love the performers. I love the way it looks. I love the story. I don’t love every moment, but the moments I don’t love are overshadowed by the moments I do. And by the Awkwafina, who completely owns her character. It’s strange, as the animated character doesn’t look like her really, but the way she moves and her facial expressions are so her that it’s perfect. It’s her character that JUST pushes it into this blog. But it thoroughly deserves to be here.

+ The world-building.

– Story is a little basic.

Best Moment: When Sisu becomes human. Adorable.

Worst moment: The babies. Bit unnecessary.

Best Performer: Awkwafina. A genius.

Best Line: “it should have been this big inspirational moment where humanity united over her sacrifice, but instead, people being people, they all fought”.

Original review here

Soul:

Does this count as a kids movie? I think showing this to a kid would basically be torturing them. Unless you want kids to have an existential crisis. It’s tough deciding what’s the better Pixar movie from this year, this, or Luca. They do different things. That’s a kids film aimed at kids, this is one they may like, but the parents will understand more. I feel this is definitely more important and essential, and at times funnier.

+The sheer emotion.

-Is it suitable for kids?

Best Moment: The flashbacks. When Joe looks back at the simple pleasure he’s had in life, and how 22 viewed their brief interactions on earth. It’s incredibly sweet and made me ugly cry (or how I call it: crying. Get it? Because of my ugly face)

Worst Moment: The ending credits. Weird I know, but Pixar is known for being creative, so the standard credits here were a little bit of a let down as they had a lot of opportunity to do some really interesting stuff.

Best Performer: Rachel House. One of the few voices I didn’t know, yet provides the most unique vocal performance. There were a lot of choices for this, but she JUST edges it out for how much fun she seems to have.

Worst Performer: Richard Ayoade, it’s too, I don’t know, Ayoade? So it just feels like him as opposed to a character.

Best Line: “I’m Just Afraid That If I Died Today My Life Would Have Amounted To Nothing.” Oh I felt that. I FELT that.

Original review here

Sound Of Metal

I REALLY wish I got to see this at the cinema. It deserved that. Definitely deserved better than just being thrown on Amazon Prime. What this film does well is represent deafness. It’s not inspiration porn. It’s not “look at these poor people, pity them”. The way it lets you into their world is fascinating. The first time it does subtitles is when he’s learning sign language. So before that, he was an outsider, and the film made you feel like that by having YOU as an outsider. You knew people were signing to each other, but you didn’t know what. But once he starts engaging, YOU start understanding too. This means you really feel it when he turns his back on the community, you feel that pan and betrayal.

+ The way the audio editing puts you in his place.

– It could do a better job of letting you seee what his world was like before. You get a quick few minutes, not enough to gauge who he really is.

Best Moment: There’s a moment where he starts to finally socialise with other people from the deaf community. It’s incredibly sweet and lovely, great to see.

Worst moment: See the worst moments are also the best moments, so this is weird. When he gets the implants and the sound is incredibly distorted. It’s incredibly difficult to get through that part without feeling physical pain, but that’s kind of the point.

Best Performer: Oh this is tough. Olivia Cooke and Paul Raci are great, but Riz Ahmed? He deserves the plaudits he got.

Best Line: “what i need is a fucking gun in my mouth”. The desperation in his voice, the whole scene builds up to that moment. The frustration and helplessness. It’s almost like he’s going through the five stages of grief, and has reached the anger phase.

Original review here

Spider-man: No Way Home

It is possible I’m being overly generous to this. But then I think, I did see this twice, and I wasn’t bored whilst watching it the second time. And it’s a looooong film. But it never felt as long as it actually is. That’s what JUST pushes it over Shang-Chi, it uses the time it has much better. I’ve watched Shang-Chi online since and I did find myself tuning out for sections. This is possibly better second time around because you have the anticipation, you know what’s coming and you’re all for it. Plus it has actual emotion, the main death is brutal from an emotional standpoint.

This film is also a lot of fun. There’s something so joyful about the interactions between MJ, Ned, and Peter. That’s the dynamic I’ll miss most.

+ It resets him back to a friendly neighbourhood Spider-man.

– It closes off the Vulture arc. He now has no leverage, so what was the point of his ending?

Best Moment: The three Peter Parkers standing around chatting shit before the final fight.

Worst moment: The Venom moment seems a bit too much of a sequel-bait. But without Tom Hardy because he’s a good guy.

Best Performer: Tom Holland, he nails the rage when May dies.

Best Line: “I was in the Avengers” “is that a band?”

Original review here

Sweat

You’d expect a film about a Fitness Influencer to be fun and jolly, very lightweight. This isn’t. This goes deep into the nature of fame and fandom, whilst also discussing how we treat victims of sexual harassment. When she mentions being sexually harassed her family turn against her, saying “you can’t judge him, maybe he was a nice guy”. She’s felt alone lately anyway, and that just confirms that even when she’s with people who know her, she still has nobody to talk to. That’s the core theme of the piece, that everybody knows her, but she is still isolated from everybody. It’s a strange dichotomy, one that is backed up by the way it’s filmed, close up, but handheld so it almost feels like you’re stalking the main character. It’s a genius method of telling the story.

+ The detached intimacy to the filming style.

– Doesn’t really have a set story it’s telling, is more slice of life, which may put some people off.

Best Moment: The dinner scene. Says so much about her.

Best Performer: Magdalena Kolesnik

Best Line: “What’s wrong with the fact that I admitted that right now there’s no one in my life who loves me? Does that mean that I’m weak or pathetic? In that case I want to be weak and pathetic because that’s when I’m myself. When I’m the Sylwia from the posters I feel very lonely and I’m just tired of pretending that I’m better than I am. I’m tired of wondering that I’m not good enough. I want to be weak and pathetic because weak pathetic people are the most beautiful people on earth”

Original review here

The Columnist

Deeply uncomfortable to watch. It feels too real and true to be comfortable watching. But it’s so damn entertaining and brilliant that it’s worth going through the uncomfortable truths to get there. A film I loved so much that when it was being shown on Channel 4 over Christmas, I messaged people I knew and told them to watch it. This film deserves to be seen by more people. The bloody nature of it will divide people, as will the fact it’s not in English (people are still weird about subtitles, which is weird as they’re obviously the best way to watch almost any film).

Sadly I feel the people who most need to watch this film will be the kind of people who won’t want to. Sucks for them as they’re missing out on one of the highlights of the year. Not just in terms of the blood and the humour, but the performances too. Everybody plays their part perfectly. Katja Herbers is the main focus, and is the one you’re most likely to know due to her performances in The Americans, The Leftovers, and Westworld, as well as being nominated for a Critics Choice award for her role in Evil. Claire Porro is up there too though, and she doesn’t even have a wikipedia page. But she brings such a mischievous energy to her performance that you have to love her. I really hope I see more of her in the future as she’s got a lot of potential

+ An essential look at something which is both everywhere, yet not highlighted enough.

– Could possibly go a little deeper with the satire.

Best Moment: The murder montage.

Worst moment: The ending. It’s in the trailer.

Best Performer: Katja Herbers. She’s perfect in it.

Best Line: “why couldn’t you just be nice?” “I’m a person. If you call me a fucking whore, a stupid bitch, a paedophile, I feel that. It keeps me awake, DO YOU GET IT, THAT Other people have feelings. I don’t deserve this. I’m not a nazi, not a psychopath, not an enemy of the people. The fact that I have another fucking political opinion doesn’t mean I’m not a person. I’m not a monster, I’m Femke, just Femke, just a woman who writes for a newspaper with a different opinion to you. I don’t deserve this. You are what is wrong with the world. You and your whole army of losers with a laptop.” All the better because it leaves the person completely speechless. You feel her rage, her anger, and importantly you feel that despite her being a serial killer who is currently pointing a shotgun at someone, she still feels scared, she still feels powerless in this world.

Original review here

The Mitchells Vs The Machines

Again, went in with low expectations. I expected to be typical “technology bad, polio good” BS. But it’s actually a lot more nuanced than that. I was sold from the opening lines “Every family has its challenges. From picture day to picky eaters. For my family our greatest challenge? probably the machine apocalypse”. The film then continues with that wit and weirdness

+ A family film featuring a lot of conflict, where one of the characters is gay, but that’s NOT the cause of the conflict. Such a relief, and I’m glad that things like that are now normalised in most places, only seen as an issue in uncivilized backwards places full of people using their medieval religion to persecute homosexuals. You know, Texas.

– Quite cliche in parts.

Best Moment: When the mother tears through the robots. Could be seen as cliche in other films, but it’s just badass and earned enough to work.

Worst moment: The ending, the world doesn’t seem to have changed that much, which considering what happened is a bit strange.

Best Performer: Eric Andre.

Worst Performer: Doug The Pug. Because they (presumably) paid a lot for a celebrity pug to make dog noises. Why? They didn’t even seem to mention it in the promotional materials, so it’s not as though it was for publicity purposes. And even if it was, who pays to see an animated film because of which animal did one of the “voices”?

Best Line: “It’s almost like stealing people’s data and giving it to a hyper-intelligent AI as part of an unregulated tech monopoly was a bad thing”

Original review here