Free Guy (2021)

Quick Synopsis: Guy (Ryan Reynolds) is a NPC character in Free City (an open-world GTA-like game) who becomes self aware and has to save his world with the help of programmers Millie and Keys (Jodie Comer and Joe Keery)

I had no idea what to expect from this. I say that a lot but I never mean it more literally than I do here, I went to a secret screening at local Cineworld which meant I had no idea what film I was about to see. Truth be told I thought there was a good chance it would be this, and I was hoping I’d be right as I’ve been looking forward to this since the first time I saw the trailer. I’m glad it was this as it’s a really good film, and one I think people will like.

It’s not going to change the world, and it’s not the best film of the year. But it’s better than it should be. It goes a bit further than just pure escapism and at times is genuinely moving. This could have got away with just being dumb fun but the fact it is willing to go beyond that is testament to the work the creators put in.

Turns out a lot of that is due to the non-video game parts. Usually those would be the weakest parts of a movie like this. The boring human parts. But they actually work in this. It helps that Comer is incredible. You probably know her from Killing Eve, but I’ve never watched that so to me everything about her was new and I loved it. Keery was pretty good too, bringing the same neurosis and weirdness he had in Spree. I had no idea there was any non-video game parts in it at all, possibly I’m an idiot. The way they integrate the two plots is really well done too. Plus it’s a logical thing to do really. You need some humanity in it, and if the only notable thing about Guy is that he has traces of humanity, then you can’t just depend on other video game characters to provide that. It also provides the film with the best of the two endings.

Yup, it has two endings. Well it has two worlds, so both worlds need closure. It’s here where we have quite a big misstep, it goes with the wrong one. The real world ending should have been the one, the video game one didn’t have the right emotional nuance to end the film on. I mean, it was nice and warm and funny, but personally I preferred the other one.

Might have something to do with how I didn’t really gel with Lil Rey Howery for some reason. I usually like him in stuff I see him in too which is weird. I genuinely think he was better in Space Jam 2 than he was in this, he was definitely better in Uncle Drew, where he gave his character warmth and humour. In this he comes off just a little bit too “Guy at an improv show desperate for attention”. Reynolds seems to take a while to find his character too. When he develops the personality he’s fine, but in his early “just a video game character” characterisation he doesn’t really suit it. Thankfully that’s only for about ten minutes so it’s not too big an issue.

So in summary it’s not the greatest movie, but it is incredibly fun, and goes deeper than a film like this should be. It’s not a film I NEED to see again, but it is a film I definitely will see again, it’s just so damn good. Funny, smart, has heart, and has a lot of fun cameos. And it has the best posters

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (2021)

I have to get this out the way before I start: that is in the running for the worst title for a cinematic release this year. It’s clunky as hell and doesn’t flow off the tongue when you say it. Seriously, say it out loud right now. It just doesn’t feel right. Also it’s not really relevant as the bodyguard is no more protecting the wife than he was in the first one. A simple “The Hitman’s Bodyguard 2” would have worked better and made it easier to talk about.

Right, that weird thing over here, let’s move on. This film has had a lot of negative reviews, with an average rating of 4.4/10. That seems too low. Yeah the plot is, well it’s not great. There are some moments which are just stupid. And there are some things which just happen for the sake of plot. But it’s also really damn funny. Had some of the most laugh out loud moments I’ve seen in a film so far this year (definitely the funniest I’ve seen at the cinema. I know, it is truly shocking that this film is funnier than one about Anthony Hopkins having dementia).

So how does it look? Mostly okay. There are a few action scenes where the geography is difficult to keep track of. The film doesn’t do a good enough job of letting you know exactly what and where is going on. Some of the simpler more intimate action scenes work a lot better, when it’s a one on one fight they’re pretty damn good, but it’s when the film aims bigger that the flaws seem more apparent.

There are also quite a few issues when it comes to plots. Numerous dominos are set up but the film gets bored and walks away to play with something else before it gets a chance to topple them. Characters are set up to be antagonists, but then barely feature. This is especially troubling when the villain is as underdeveloped as the one in this is. The biggest example is with a briefcase. Very early on in the film someone attaches an explosive bracelet to the wrist of Salma Hayek’s character. If she steps too far away from an item in a briefcase then the bracelet will detonate. This plot point, combined with the title of the film, makes you think that will be the main narrative aspect of the film. And obviously that will play into the villains death later on in a scene of karmic retribution.

Nope, it matters for one scene. There’s one action sequence where it feels like it puts the character in danger, it then gets taken off. So why was it in the story? It didn’t add anything to the plot, there was only scene where it put the character in jeopardy, and it feels like too big a plot device to put in for that one moment. Feels like such a wasted opportunity.

This is exactly the kind of film you just put on, leave your brain at the door, and enjoy. It won’t hit anybody’s end of year best films list, but it will hit the funniest. It will probably have one for “best surprise character” if that was a thing which it probably isn’t. All the film, Ryan Reynold’s character talks about his dad and how he was an elite bodyguard, and all he wanted to do was impress him. He goes to his house, and you see his dad standing in the shadows, cloaked in darkness. The way they build it up you know he’s going to be somebody, you know that the film wants you to react to him stepping out with a “holy shit”. Importantly, you know it’s going to be someone you recognise. But you’ve seen all the big actors who were mentioned in the opening credits. So I was sitting there thinking if there’s anyone I missed. And then out of the shadows steps……..

Morgan Freeman.

Probably the best positive response I’ve seen to a single moment in the cinema this year. I’ve heard people cry, I’ve heard people be visibly impressed, but that’s the closest I’ve felt to the traditional American At Cinema moment of cheering. It worries that some versions of the poster have him on it, as it ruins the surprise.

It’s possible my experience was helped by being at a relatively enthusiastic crowd. There weren’t many people there, but the ones who were made themselves known (not in an obnoxious way). Maybe if I saw it on my own I wouldn’t have liked it as much, but I can’t really test that hypothesis without watching it at home alone.

Deadpool 2 (2018)

I remember a few weeks ago I saw reports from an early preview of this, and they were, well they were not kind. Actually, “scathing” would be a proper response. It got to the point where apparently the studio was making a few changes and reshoots. I’m not sure what, and how many changes they made but it proves one of two (completely contradictory things). Either:

  • The studio knows what they’re doing and made the right changes to fix it.

Or

  • The early reports were all wrong.

There’s no way THIS was the film that was hated. If you liked the first film, you’ll like this. It’s like the first one, but a lot more. It’s funnier, more brutal, a lot more meta, and has a much better story. Let’s tackle those subjects one by one.

Funnier

This might be due to the way I saw it. I saw the first one twice at the cinema, both times it wasn’t really that busy. As such you couldn’t judge how funny it was, you could only judge how funny I personally found it. This was different, it was the first screening so the screen was almost completely full. As such when jokes hit, you know about it as it feels like the entire room is laughing with you (as opposed to laughing at you, which is not as fun). The laughs are not only better, but there’s a lot more of them. They come quick and come often, like a pervert in the lingerie section of M&S. It’s almost Airplane levels of “jokes per minute” for most the film. With one MAJOR exception. Towards the end, there’s a 2-3 minute section with zero laughs. I know it doesn’t sound long, but it is, if you don’t believe me, stick your hand in boiling water for 3 minutes. That 3 minutes is REALLY good too, full of so much emotion that it makes up for almost the complete lack of nuance in the first one.

More brutal

The vultures started circling for this film when it was announced that Tim Miller, the director of the first film, wasn’t coming back due to creative differences. As such people wondered whether the second one would, or even could, be as good as the first one. Luckily they got David Leitch, best known for John Wick and Atomic Blonde. I do like Tim Miller, but his style was very video-gamey, the film didn’t really look “real”, so even when horrific injuries occurred on screen, it didn’t really have the same impact it should have done. Leitch is the complete opposite, just like the aforementioned Blonde and Wick, you feel the hits. When people got hit, you could hear people in the audience wince with pain. This means the fights and action scenes seem like they have consequences. Also, the violence means they can redeem a previously laughed at character. Last time we saw this character he was basically a joke played by a former footballer, this time he tears Deadpool in half and threatens to turn Colossus into a cock ring.

More Meta (Spoilers)

If you plan on seeing the film, close your eyes now, and open them when I tell you. Done it? Good. Those idiots, they won’t able to read when I tell them to open their eyes those gullible fools. They’ll be walking around with their eyes closed forever, they’re going to walk into traffic and possibly die. Oh God, what have I done? Anyway, spoilers. The mid credit sequence for this features Deadpool killing the Deadpool from X:Men Origin Wolverine in a remade scene from that film, and then killing Ryan Reynolds as he reads The Green Lantern script. It also features a cameo from most of the X-men, in the background. There’s also a scene where they say “and if we do this, there won’t be a third act”. It’s deliciously meta and brilliant, I love it.

Better story.

Judging from the trailer, what do you think this film is about? You’re wrong. The trailer only really covers half the film, the final half takes it in such an unexpected direction, and one you didn’t expect, but makes a lot of sense. Criticism of the first one was that the story and the villains were lacking, definitely not the case here. The story is, whilst not exactly To Kill A Mockingbird, is multi-layered and not exactly something you can call rushed or lazy. It also has genuine emotion, like, an actual tear-causing emotional scene, It also has the first (that I can think of) openly gay relationship in mainstream superhero cinema.

The downsides: there’s quite a lot you feel could be cut. Large amounts of fluff, but it’s incredibly funny fluff, so it works. There are moments where you feel like the writers themselves have forgotten small parts of the story. Also, it has to be said, they could have cut TJ Miller. Not only they could, they SHOULD have cut TJ Miller. The sexual assault allegations are one thing. You could argue that someone shouldn’t lose their job over unproven allegations, no matter how heinous (despite the fact that this seemed to have multiple witnesses). But then he called in a fake bomb threat to get back at a random woman on the train. His scenes could have been replaced with someone else easily enough, and it’s a black mark against the film that it didn’t.

But despite that, I highly recommend this film if you enjoyed the first one. It’s like the first one, but turned up to 11.

 

The Big Sick

After the craptastic double bill of Valerian and The Emoji Movie last week, finally I see something amazing (although I think it’s fair to say I didn’t exactly expect Emoji Movie to be anything other than bad): The Big Sick This film was as great as the combined awfulness of those two films. Incredibly funny, and with the right amount of heart. You’d need to be made of stone not to feel touched by this film. The characters are so well-written as well, every character seems fully fleshed out. They seem like they exist outside of the film.

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Probably because it’s based on his real relationship with his wife (pictured here)

I’ve seen a lot of films at the cinema this year (45 to be precise), and this has had the best instantaneous audience feedback I’ve seen. I’ve seen horrors where a few people have sat there not flinching or jumping in fright, I’ve seen spectacle films where people are bored, and I’ve seen comedies where nobody is laughing. Everybody in the screen I was at reacted to this. They laughed at every joke (to the point where the laughter in the room was louder than the laughter on screen, in a scene set at a comedy club), people “awww’ed” at the right parts, it couldn’t have been more perfect if the film studio paid them to react like that.

It’s not a perfect film though. As much as he nails the performance 95% of the time, there are a few heavily emotional moments where Kumail Nanjiani looks like he’s desperately hiding a smirk, robbing the scene of some of the emotion. It’s not helped by how great the rest of the cast are; Holly Hunter is superb, Ray Romano is perfect in this, and I really want to see Zoe Kazan in more stuff now.

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Also random appearance of Vella Lovell which made me happy. New eps of Crazy Ex Girlfriend soon 😀

This is definitely the best rom-com I’ve seen at the cinema all year. Not too difficult though, as it’s the only rom-com I’ve seen this year. There’s actually not been that much romance in cinema this year, the only films where the main focus of the film has been romance have been:

  1. This.
  2. La La Land (musical drama)
  3. The Space Between Us (science fiction)

That’s a shame though as despite being deeply cynical and incapable of love or any positive emotion towards others, I do have a soft spot for the genre. Definitely Maybe is the film that fully cemented my Ryan Reynolds obsession, and Chasing Amy did the same for Ben Affleck. I think it’s because they’re usually very people-based. Action films are about the set-pieces, horror films are about the effects, but for a rom-com to work you need two things:

  1. Believable characters.
  2. Great dialogue.

They’re basically my kryptonite, especially dialogue. I’m a sucker for great dialogue, it’s probably why I seem to be the only person who liked Table 19 (actually I didn’t like it, I LOVED it, genuinely one of my favourite films of the year). It’s also a genre that doesn’t really get affected too badly by the quality of the way you’re viewing it. Some genres are really badly affected by what you watch them on. Horror, for example, is not exactly something you can appreciate watching on a small television screen on an airplane. So many films are “you have to see this in the cinema!”. Think of Avatar, that film is the biggest grossing film of all time. When was the last time you watched it? Do you know anybody who has watched it at home?  As Scott Mendelson wrote in Forbes almost 4 years ago

“Kids don’t play ‘Avatar’ on the playground nor with action figures in their homes. There is little-if-any ‘Avatar’-themed merchandise in any given store. Most general moviegoers couldn’t tell you the name of a single character from the film, nor could they name any of the actors who appeared in it … ‘Avatar’ didn’t inspire a legion of would-be ‘Avatar’ rip-offs, save perhaps for Walt Disney’s disastrous ‘John Carter.’ It didn’t set the mold for anything that followed save its use of 3D which turned the post-conversion tool into a valuable way to boost box office overseas”

With advances in technology happening at an astronomical rate, spectacle fades, good writing doesn’t. The best rom-com’s; When Harry Met Sally, Annie Hall etc, all have one thing in common; fantastic writing. You can watch them again and again and still love them. They also have a wide audience. As much as I do love odd films like Buried (Ryan Reynolds in a box), Bogowie (a Polish film about heart transplant) and Four Lions (a comedy about suicide bombers), I’m not stupid enough to think they have mass appeal. They’re too weird. Rom-coms are for everyone though. They have universal themes that almost everybody can identify with.

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So where does this film stand compared to the greats of the genre? It’s a little difficult to tell at the moment, but I have a feeling that if I was to sit down in a years time and watch this, I’ll still love it. It also has the best 9/11 joke you’ll likely to hear all year.

The Best Single-Location Films

Free-Fire was released to UK cinemas this week, seemingly two-hundred millennia after the preview screenings (ok it was actually like a month, but still). Been excited for it since I first saw the trailer, and more so since I heard that it is like the trailer suggests, and is all in one location. I like when films do that, it’s a sign of good writing and acting if it holds your attention like that. Oddly enough I don’t think I’ve seen one that didn’t work, probably because it’s such a hard thing to pull off that studios will only risk it if they’re absolutely certain it would work, these films have to be better than average as if they’re anything less people will be highly critical. So with that in mind, here’s a list of my favourites. Let’s start some ground rules

  1. Has to mainly (at least 95%) take place in one location.
  2. Location has to be relatively confined (otherwise some smart-ass will be like: “what about this film? It all takes place in one location; earth”)
  3. I have to have seen it (like most of these blogs, this is the biggest hurdle as it counts out Rope and Rear Window, which I was tempted to put in purely on the basis they’re Hitchcock so I’m sure are brilliant)

So, let’s do this.

5. Locke

Yeah, I’m surprised this is the first one I’m mentioning too. I’d have guessed it would be top three, but then I saw what else is on this list, and as much as I do love Locke (and I do) this has to come 5th. I know quite a few people don’t like this, and it’s easy to see why, the “one person cast” kind of films are not for everyone, and that’s okay. Actually I feel that point needs to be made more often; it’s not essential to like a film. It is possible to recognise a film is very well crafted, and still not like it. The whole “if you don’t like x then you’re obviously not smart enough, or you don’t get it, or (and this is the worst) I’m going to explain to you why you’re wrong, using spreadsheets and citations from people” It’s that kind of attitude which puts people off film discussion. The film that made me realise exactly how good Tom Hardy is. This film is unique on this list as the entire film takes place in a car, driving down the motorway. As such you don’t even really get the sense of claustrophobia that these type of films provide. However the fact Hardy’s character is in a moving location does provide a unique feeling to it, despite him being the driver of the car he very much is a passenger of his own film, being driven by fate to a conclusion he’s desperately trying to avoid.

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Tom Hardy with his beard of gloom (not pictured; Welsh accent of sadness)

4. Tape

Merging two film gimmicks in one; not only is it all in one location, it also takes place in real time. Unpopular opinion; is probably my favourite Linklater film. I like what it says about people, and the dynamics that occur in certain friendship groups. Very minimalist cast; the entire film is Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard in a room discussing awkward things, then being joined by Uma Thurman for the home stretch. Was originally written as a play by Stephen Belber, only found that out whilst writing this but it’s fairly obvious that was the case whilst watching it. Is the kind of writing that’s perfect for drama students to use for auditions. Unlike most Linklater films this one is often mentioned as something amazing, which is a shame as it is truly something unique and I’d recommend everybody watch it.

3. Moon

Is this a one location film? Apparently so, I don’t remember it being so but apparently it is, and I do love this film so it earns its place. The debut film by Duncan Jones, who has since moved onto direct Source Code and Warcraft, but to me this will always be his best (at least until Mute comes out this year; a sci-fi mystery film starring Alexander Skarsgard as a mute bartender alongside Paul Rudd and Sam Rockwell? I’m sold). This film is one of the best sci-fi films I’ve seen, visually stunning (especially on a relatively low budget). Sam Rockwell is mindblowingly good in this, playing not only the main character, but also his clone. Yeah it’s a weird film, but well worth checking out. And it features the voice of Kevin Spacey, what more do you want from this film?

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It’s also much much better than this, which is a good concept poorly written

2. Breakfast Club

Truth be told, I didn’t even realise this was a single location film until doing research for this. That’s how good this film is. Although let’s face it, part of that might be because has such a large cast compared to the others. Possibly one of the most 80’s films that exists, this defined the genre. Yes, Sixteen Candles was the first of these films, the one that paved the path, but it was Breakfast Club that lit the way so others could follow in their footsteps. Anybody wanting to break into filmmaking should watch this, this is the closest cinema gets to the attitude of punk. One of the main things about punk music was that anybody could do it, you didn’t need to have elaborate sets on stage, you didn’t need the knowledge to play 10 minute guitar solos, you could just pick up instruments and play. This is the film equivalent; there’s absolutely nothing here you can’t do yourself, the locations are all within reach, there’s nothing unachievable here. This would actually be perfect way to showcase skills on a film course; you hand someone the script for this and say “make a scene from this”, and see how they do it.

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1. Buried

This had to be number one really, and not only because of how much I love Ryan Reynolds (that’s only part of it). I hate to say that I didn’t watch this film because I found the concept interesting, or I read the reviews; I watched this film for one reason and one reason only: Ryan Reynolds. Now if you like Ryan Reynolds, you will love this film, as he is the only person in it. The entire film is him trapped in a box. When I first heard about it i thought that that couldn’t possibly work. Surely they have flashback scenes? Or he gets out about half hour into the film and suddenly it turns into an action film? But no, it’s just one guy, in a box for the entire film. And it is a remarkably effective piece of filmmaking. The singular location means the audience feels just as trapped and claustrophobic as the character. If the film had any cutaway scenes it would only serve to break up the tension. So I’ve established it makes you feel trapped, but is it a good film? The answer; yes it’s fucking good, hence why it’s my number one. I recommend that everybody see this film at least once. But only once, any more like that and you do risk suicide.

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It’s this, for an hour and a half. And it’s glorious

Special Mentions (a.k.a; films I’ve heard are good but haven’t watched yet)

Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?

Reservoir Dogs

12 Angry Men

Das Boot

Symbol

My Dinner With Andre

 

Yes, I apologise for never having seen some of those, I’m a terrible person.

 

End Of Year Film Awards

Best Actor

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Aaron Taylor-Johnson – Nocturnal Animals. Better known as “That kid from Kick-Ass”. One of the things about Kick-Ass was that it was about a hero who looked absolutely nothing like a hero, in fact there’s one scene where he threatens somebody and they just laugh at him. Yet in this he’s absolutely terrifying. His despicable nature just oozes out of the screen every second he’s on. Genuinely unsettling, and utterly compelling.

Also:

Bradley Cooper – Joy. If only because he’s responsible for the best moments in the film. His scenes with Jennifer Lawrence almost make her up her game, and it’s a much better film during those all too brief moments.

Best Actress

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Brie Larson – Room. Did you watch this film? Then you know why. She was just amazing in this. Everything about her performance was perfect. I saw this in January, which meant I had 11 months of performances which couldn’t even match it.

Also:

Madison Wolfe – The Conjuring 2. A performance beyond her years.

Julia Roberts – Secrets In Their Eyes. The first time I feel I’ve truly “got” her as an actress. Superb.

Best Script

Eye In The Sky: A film which could have been very bad if written differently. Same plot, same actors, same director and this film would not have only been bad, but catastrophically awful. As it was this film was perfectly paced. When doing a film like this you do run the risk of attempting methodical and instead just ending up with it being boring and too slow. You need to slowly crank up the tension through dialogue, if it goes wrong, it’s awful, but when it works it’s phenomenal. A fitting epitaph to Alan Rickman’s career.

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Worst Film

The Boss: I really want to like Melissa McCarthy, but she keeps making terrible films. Her character in this is extremely unlikeable with almost no character arc that redeems her. In almost any other film she’d be the main villain.

Best Film Moment

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Arrival – The meeting scene. There’s a moment in this where Amy Adam’s character first meets the aliens. It’s about ten minutes long and you can’t take your eyes away from the screen the entire time. Everything about it is perfect, the look, the acting, it all builds towards something which if there’s any justice will become as big a part of pop-culture iconography as scenes from Close Encounters, ET, or Alien. A moment full of pure wonder that truly shows what film can do.

Worst Film Moment

Batman Vs Superman: Martha. A moment which almost became shorthand for “awful and nonsensical”. The thing is, it does kind of make sense when you think about it, it could have been very believable that seeing someone as a person with a family will change your outlook on them, but the way it was delivered simply wasn’t good enough.

Best Film

Room: Excellent script, some of the best performances I’ve seen in a long time, and truly beautiful. This isn’t just film, this is emotional spectacle cinema. A film which I saw very early on in the year, and yet almost 12 months later it has still stuck with me.

Best Film To Look At

Arrival: A film shot with the warmth and cosiness of a home video. Science fiction (more than any other genre) seems to define itself by it’s look. And this film does more than enough to join the greats of the genre.

Also:

Pride And Prejudice And Zombies. 

Beautifully shot, the action scenes are brilliantly choreographed, and the costumes are superb. You could watch this on mute and still find things to appreciate.

Most Disappointing Film

Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice

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This film had so much riding on it, so for it to fall as much as it did (critically at least) is very disappointing. Especially since the problems in it are easily fixed. Some of them aren’t personal preference, they’re basic storytelling mistakes. I know it sounds awful to say but this film should end somebody’s career, you cannot make some of the mistakes they made in this film and still hope to make films. It had such high potential too, it really needed to be great, but in the end it was merely only “okay”

Also:

10 Cloverfield Lane

A film of three thirds: the first two are really good, matching up and in some ways surpassing the original, tense and claustophobic, just brilliant. Then it’s all thrown away in the final stretch until it dissolves into what William Shakespeare would describe as “a massive pile of wank”

Central Intelligence. It took too long to get to the point of the film, and there weren’t really enough “laugh out loud” moments. Reminds me of Hear No Evil, See No Evil, in that the chemistry between the leads is better than the actual fil.

Most Surprising Film

The 5th Wave

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I expected this to be just low-grade YA shlock. Yet it had a really really good plot and some excellent moments. Yes it wasn’t the greatest film I saw this year, but it was a lot better than I thought it would be.

Also: Goosebumps.

Very solid and well made kids horror film. I saw some reviews of it which criticised it for “looks like it was made for children”, which, you know, it was. It’s like criticising porn for being aimed at people who want to masturbate. Yeah it means it won’t make much money among people who want something to watch in the evening whilst drinking a glass of red wine in the evening, but it’s not meant to.

The “Well I Liked It” Award

The BFG: Called by some people “one of the biggest box office bombs of 2016” and I truly don’t get why. In a year which was the best one in recent memory for kids films, this one still stood out in a very crowded bunch. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again; there are many great films, only a select few are “magical”, and this is definitely one.

Best Marketing Campaign

Deadpool: A very violent comic book film, what would be the best way to market this?

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That’s actually pretty brilliant. During the run up to the release to this (way way back at the beginning of the year) Ryan Reynolds was on point, uploading almost in character updates on the film. If anybody doubting how well-suited he was to the role hopefully had those doubt squashed like a bug. Actually he continued it past release, doing new adverts to celebrate the film being out for a month in cinemas. A magnificent campaign which worked wonders. If there’s any doubt how successful this campaign was I’ll point this out; it meant people wanted to see the film, despite the fact that most peoples knowledge of the character being X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

5 Films To Watch When Everything Goes To Shit

Because sometimes people do something unbelievably stupid and you need to do something to not go insane.

1. Airplane

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Really any of the 80’s/early 90’s parody films: Airplane, Hot Shots, Naked Gun etc. The trouble with a lot of comedy lately is it’s too serious. Everything needs to make people think, to have a higher purpose, it’s almost as though comedy is a swear word. I saw someone on Twitter complain about the length of a lot of comedy films by saying “Airplane is 87 minutes long and fits in loads of jokes, your film doesn’t need to be longer”. For better or for worse this film is also responsible for the okay Scary Movie, and the just plain awful Epic Movie. This film is also responsible for changing Leslie Nielsens career. Before this he was actually a serious actor. After this he became a comedy legend. Before this: Poseidon Adventure, Forbidden Planet. After this: Naked Gun, Spy Hard. And let’s face it, the world is all the better for having him discover comedy, as I discuss here.

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2. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs

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The sequel too. Yes, the sequel was mainly just an excuse for a lot of food puns, but I’m a fan of food and puns so I was perfectly okay with that.

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And this is adorable

But like most films, the original was the best. This film does have a stupid title, and I’d like to say the film itself is more mature, but it’s not; it’s just as silly, gloriously so. But it also teaches you important lessons: be yourself, being smart is awesome, and don’t get in an ice cream fight with a monkey,

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3. Buried

Because it’s hard to feel worried about your own life when you’re watching something that kills your soul and any hope you ever had. This is a fantastic achievement in film-writing, the entire film is set within the confines of a coffin. When I first heard about it i thought that that couldn’t possibly work. Surely they have flashback scenes? Or he gets out about half hour into the film and suddenly it turns into an action film? But no, it’s just one guy, in a box for the entire film. And it is a remarkably effective piece of filmmaking. The singular location means the audience feels just as trapped and claustrophobic as the character. If the film had any cutaway scenes it would only serve to break up the tension. I recommend that everybody see this film at least once.

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But only once

4. The Muppet’s Christmas Carol

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There are two types of people in this world, those who like this film, and those who beat their partners. I am on the former. To me this is one of the best Christmas films around, and is also my favourite adaptation of A Christmas Carol, probably one of the most faithful too, it has quotes directly from the novel, and yet it never seems out of place. This is one of the most effective displays of adaptation you will ever see. Michael Caine gives a fantastic performance, the songs are catchy, plus, it’s the f*cking muppets.

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This is still terrifying though

5. 50/50

Because sometimes the best way to deal with stressful situations is just to have a good cry, and believe me, this film will reduce you to a quivering wreck of tears and sadness. This will kill you emotionally, and yet it’s also ridiculously funny. Now the first thing people will ask when you tell them you’re going to see a film is “what’s it about?”. In this case your answer will be “it’s a comedy about someone with cancer”. “Comedy” and “cancer” are two concepts which usually go together as well as cheese and cardboard (although if anybody has any cardboard recipes they’d recommend then send them to the usual address). However in this case it goes together as well as cheese and marmite.  If you’re looking for a standard feel good film then don’t see this one; it will depress the living hell out of you at some points (although it’s a film about cancer so that’s to be expected), although it will also make you laugh so hard you choke a little bit. It’s actually ended up being probably the best film I’ve seen at the cinema all year . It’s smart, funny, and ridiculously heartfelt with some fantastic performances all round. Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt have an on-screen chemistry that makes it seem like they’ve known each other for years; and that really helps the film. Also it is great to see Anjelica “morticia adams” Huston back being awesome (and looking surprisingly like one of my primary school teachers)

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So that’s it for today. What kind of stuff do you watch when you need emotional assistance? Because one thing’s for sure, we’re all going to need it.

5 reasons Watchmen is my favourite (and the best) superhero film

The year was 2009, the R-rated mega hit Deadpool was but a twinkle in Ryan Reynolds’ eye, and Zach Snyder released his best film to date, the screen adaption of the unfilmable deadpoolgraphic novel, Watchmen. And it was a bit mixed. People either loved it for its gritty, stylish, thought provoking take on the superhero genre, while others hated it for all those things. But you can guess which side of that I fall upon. Hell, I still think it’s the best superhero film ever made, yes, I like it more than any Dark Knight or Marvel film, and here’s why…

1) It’s a dark realistic take on superheroes that really tackles complex themes and ideas, while still being a straight-up superhero flick. Not a crime thriller with Batman, or a comedy with a guy in a suit, at its core it’s a superhero film and is about things only a superhero film could be about, ‘what if superheroes where real’, did change our worldrorschach_quote_2_wallpaper_by_tehgreyfawkz-d383cow, what would that world be like and who would those heroes be?
Of course this is all more thanks to Alan Moore’s seminal original text, but you can’t understate how hard Zach Snyder worked to bring the book to the screen as it’s whole self (it’s whole 215 minute run-time), and managing to make such a dense piece of literature so stylish and well-paced without losing a lot of meaning and depth.

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2) Snyder’s style is stunning (what the fucks happened); easily Snyder’s most confidently 345os5hdirected film, his key hyper-reality style that mixes CGI better than almost any film, works masterfully to bring the pages of the book to life, without losing the texture and grit. With the talent he showed here he could have easily gone on to be a blockbuster director like a quirkier James Camron, but instead he made Sucker Punch.

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3) The cast; the acting is top notch, with almost every actor born to play their character. Patrick Wilson bringing the likable dorkyness to Night Owl, Billy Crudup selling the tumblr_mkhjcoQy7V1rnqwsco1_250detached humanity of Dr Manhattan, Jackie Earle Haley embodying Rorschach’s grizzled insanity, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan embracing the assholeness of The Comedian, costume changes aside they walk right off the page.
Outside Heath Ledger’s Joker it’s one of the few superhero films with Oscar worthy performances…. all except Matthew Goode who was just too smarmy as Ozymandias, you could tell from the go he was evil so the reveal lost a lot of weight compared to the comic; he’s not bad just too evil. Now a young pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth would have been closer to the book, his more natural charisma and warmth making his dark motives a real shock.

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4) The music; Snyder’s use of iconic 80s tunes to invoke the era and themes of revolution 18m508t0woblxjpgis carefully implemented, from the iconic Bob Dylan opening credit sequence, the cheesy Leonard Cohen sex scene, and the sad Simon and Garfunkel funeral, Watchmen took seminal well known songs, and instead of being distracting fit them skilfully into the story as if they’ve always been there. Oh and the My Chemical Romance cover is badass, they really embrace the 80s punk vibe.

5) The ending. I am not to my surprise part of a small community that like the films tumblr_lg1pkquIZ31qej9fmo1_500ending better than the comic, even amongst people who have read the comic. The comic’s ending may work better from a plot stand point (some say), but the film’s use of Dr Manhattan in it’s climax comes from much more of a character and thematic place, and ties into Dr Manhattan’s dehumanizing arc so much tighter, and the ideas of nuclear war. It’s not just that I think the endings better than the book; it’s what that represents about the power of adaption through someone else’s vision, that making changes to original text doesn’t have to come from a hollow, money grubbing place, but from the texts itself…also the giant squid would of looked silly on screen.  But more so because it wasn’t Hollywoodised, it was complex and morally gray and left us with a message not many blockbusters have the balls to tell, that as people we will expect an easy lie over a hard truth.  We are compromised.watchmen11f-620x951

For a deeper look at the film and the comic, check out the Superhero Rewind on it which dives deep into analyzing the work.

Well not our most thorough post, but good enough for now, join us later this week and next week were we’ll…probably be talking about the Oscars.

5 Reasons Deadpool Has Been A Success

Well let’s get it out of the way first: it has been a success, the biggest R-Rated opening, so far earning £228 million (or almost 40 billion Jamaican Dollars). So there’s no denying it has been a success, and a big one, with a sequel already being written. Last year’s superhero films can only be described as a disappointment, with Ant-Man, Avengers: Age Of Ultron and of course, Fant4stic which we will never mention again because it was so awful it actually started a war in Mexico. The last film the character of Deadpool was in was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which everybody hated. So expectations of this film were low, with some people saying it could be the first flop of the year. There were people practically salivating at the thought of this film crashing and burning, and these people were all ready to piss on the corpse of this film, and the entire super-hero genre. So why has this film done so well? How did this:

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Become this:

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1: It’s Really Good

Let’s get the obvious out of the way, the film is really really good. It’s funny and brilliant (as our monday article stated). People love this. In my social media life I’ve seen the reactions to the release of The Hobbit, Avengers, and a little known film called Star Wars, all eagerly anticipated franchises. Yet none of them received as much universal praise as Deadpool. Everybody seems to love it, from the hardcore geeks through to the casual film goers. I mean, even Betty White likes it, and she’s god.

2: Ryan Reynolds.

I could talk about the whole cast, T.J Miller is funny in it, Brianna Hildebrand and Gina Carano are pretty damn fantastic too, both bringing a unique feeling to their differing roles, and the only complaint about Leslie Uggams is that she’s not in it enough. But let’s be honest, this is all about Ryan Reynolds. He’s just brilliant in this. When you watch it you don’t think: that’s Ryan Reynolds playing Deadpool. You think: that’s Deadpool. You can tell he really likes this character and has put everything into it.

3: The Marketing.

This film has had some of the best marketing I’ve ever seen. Not just the trailer, but the social media stuff as well. Ryan Reynolds has been on form with the marketing, launching himself fully into it. I actually thought the non-trailer marketing did a better job than the actual trailers. There were loads of odd videos featuring Deadpool celebrating Australia day, telling you to check your testicles for lumps etc. Very weird, very funny, very Deadpool.

4: The Timing

As previously mentioned, last year was disappointing for comic book films. The genre kind of needed this. Comic book films come in two flavours: Dark Knight, and Kick Ass. Dark Knight is super serious, everything’s grey and there’s a lot of rain. Kick Ass, there’s a lot of colour and it’s super violent. Last year saw too many films attempting to be Dark Knight, they just weren’t fun, they needed to be taken down a peg; and this is perfect for it. This film mocks superhero films, and does it in a brilliant way.

5: The Hype

Let’s take you back to a dark time: July 2014. ISIS were causing a major kerfuffle in Iraq, Lucy made film watchers brains explode (at least; viewers with the scientific knowledge of at least a toddler), and S Club 7 reformed. A time before Deadpool. The chances of a film made featuring the character were astronomically low, then test footage was leaked. The reaction to this is solely responsible for the film being completed. This film wasn’t made to cash in on something popular, it was made because people were excited and really wanted to see it. The leaking of the video turned the film from “it would be nice but will never happen” to “release date announced”. This characterised the entire film really, it was really made for the fans. You can tell this even down to the rating, this film really earns it’s rating, it’s violent and brilliant. And let’s face it, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

So that’s that. If you’re still here I assume it’s because you’re waiting in the queue for Deadpool to start. Subscribe, comment and like for more sarcastic film-goodness from us

 

5 reasons Deadpool could be the best superhero film of 2016 (already)

In a year which also gives us (takes deep breath), Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad, X-Men: Apocalypse, Captain America: Civil War, and Doctor Strange, some truly seminal looking films;  the special little cousins of X-Men may have already topped them all, and changed comic book movies forever.

 

1 – It’s 15/R rating isn’t just a gimmick. Outside of Watchmen, this is the first adult MTM1MzA2OTE2NDA2NDY3MDM4mainstream superhero movie, and it could have just been a selling point to get asses in seats with it being like a lot of action films just barely worth the rating and there being a clear 12A cut ready to go. But nope Mr Reynolds was not lying when he said if they made another cut there would hardly be a movie, the film revels in its vulgarness, its dirty and its violent, and it loves itself for it. But never becomes exploitative with it. I especially like the running gag of cutting away before he finishes saying “motherfucker” (which you see a lot in films) only for him to finish it in the next scene.

2 – I3b94d7dd7603e9ae54a3f957c652e086t got the
character completely right.
Living in this superhero film renaissance we have seen a lot of characters done well; Iron Man, Batman, Captain America, but they’re never perfect iterations. Iron Man never goes as dark as he should, Batman’s never the detective, and Captain America…well I just don’t know much about him. But Deadpool’s character is 10/10, he’s crazy, funny, violent, Ryan Reynolds is perfect, and knows he’s a fictional character, but not without a lil regrowable heart.

3 – It remembers to just be plain entertaining. My favorite superhero film is Watchmen, so I’m all for dark serious superhero films, but that tone seems to be too much of a trend right now, with DC being DC, X-Men being X-men, and even Marvel seeming 1454333009819to be ramping up the drama with Civil War. Okay we had Ant-Man, and that was fun but not great, and Guardians of the Galaxy which was great, but is about as much of a superhero film as Star Wars. Deadpool is a straight up superhero film and is the funnest and funniest the formula has ever been.

4 – The romance is way better than the trailer made it look. That’s actually true for the whole film, but the romance especially. Name one really good romance in a big superhero film? Then give up because you can’t. Almost all romances in superhero landscape-1452594620-deadpool-romcom-bannerfilms are either tacked on as hell or never go beyond “oh and here’s the love interest”, and that’s what the trailer made Vanessa look like, just a woman there to push the plot forward. But the marketing team wasn’t just being funny when it sold the film as a romance. Vanessa’s a real character in her own right, is just if not more lovably vulgar than Deadpool himself, and has crazy chemistry with the man she loves, she’s easily worth advancing the plot over.

5 – It ties into X-men without dragging itself down. Superhero movie continuity is the pooldeadin-thing right now, as after the success of Marvel every other studio with a slice of the moist superhero pie is scrambling to catch up, and while DC is looking ambitious but over crowded with its DCCU, FOX made the surprisingly wise choice of toning down the continuity and playing it fast and loose with itself. So yes the X-men are in it, to hilarious effect, and I doubt we’re going to see Deadpool pop up in X-Men: Apocalypse or any of those films really, but the acceptance that they exist together just adds that little dollop of cinematic depth.

6 – BONUS! The opening credits and post credit scene. And I won’t ruin them for you; all I’ll say is it starts with its right stump forward, and then has the best post credit scene this side of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
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And 1 thing that didn’t work about it.

1 – It’s the Deadpool character, but it’s not a Deadpool story. It sticks a bit too close to 2288944-1526888_deadpool_cool_story_bro_superthe Superhero origin film formula and with it subverting so much else; I hoped it would pull another fast-one on us at the end. But it far from ruins the picture and leaves it wide open for the sequel to go anywhere.