2010’s In Film Day 4 (2014)

January – Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

This is probably the biggest horror franchise which I’ve completely ignored. No idea why as I’ve heard the first one is quite good, I’ve just had no interest in them. I was going to do them for Halloween blog last year but I accidentally purchased the mockbuster version instead. Maybe it would have been funnier to do those films instead, but I had so little free time in October that I didn’t want to waste it watching bad films.

February – Robocop

How is this not bigger? Maybe it was a timing thing. The general feeling of Obama’s America was more hopeful than it is now. Now everything seems bleak and horrible. We’re a few days into the year and the political climate is heating up (as is the actual climate, as the devastation to Australia has proven), there’s cynicism and hatred everywhere. Nobody has any hope that the future will get better. Even people who support the parties in charge think the future will suck for a lot of people “but it will be worth it to get blue passports”. So maybe now is the time we need a Robocop film.

March – Captain America: The Winter Soldier

I feel this is the most important movie in the MCU. Not so much because of the story, but because of the quality of the film. This was when Marvel movies went from dumb fun to capable of brilliance. This is where comic book movies stopped being a genre and started being a subdivision of other genres as diverse as spy thrillers, space comedies, and family dramas. All that’s left now is a comic book horror movie. For more of my thoughts, read here.

April – The Amazing Spiderman 2

A month after The Winter Soldier wowed audiences, this came out. I feel those two things are linked. Since the MCU started, a lot of other franchises have been attempted. Not many have worked, probably due to the fact that it took the MCU a while to get going, and people forget this. People think all the Marvel movies started being connected, yet The Incredible Hulk was a standalone movie, the only reference to Iron Man being a short post-credits scene (well the only obvious reference anyway). It was possible to enjoy those films on their own, yet a lot you can’t, they spend far too much time setting up future franchises that they don’t really spend enough time on it’s own story (biggest offender is The Mummy reboot a few years ago).

May – Godzilla

Now, this is a potentially better franchise. Kong and Godzilla work as standalone films and are great spectacle films. I feel age has been kind to this film, there was a lot of disappointment when the film came out. That was mainly because it had Bryan Cranston in it and people expected him to be the main character, so when he died and was replaced with Aaron Taylor-Johnson it was bound to rub fans up the wrong way. Yet if you know about it and watch it again then it’s actually quite an impressive piece of film-making. It’s not a film that you’ll love, but if you have an impressive enough television and sound set-up then it’s a great way to spend an evening with people. A few years ago I watched the Planet Of The Apes trilogy over New Years eve, I feel the two Godzilla movies and Kong would also make a great thing to watch like that. Have a few people round and have the film in the background as you chat shit and eat cheese. This film also has a REALLY creepy piece of music.

June – Oculus

This was the first film I watched with my Cineworld card, and it remains the worst cinema experience I have ever had, to the point where it soured me on the movie. The lights came on about 10 minutes before the film ended, completely ruined the experience. You don’t realise how lights affect the cinema experience but it does. As soon as those lights came on it deflated the room, it took everyone out of the movie. I do need to watch this film again to give it a fair go, I feel the constant “it’s real! no it’s not! yes it is! no it’s not!” fake outs would still annoy me, but maybe not as much.

July – Guardians Of The Galaxy

I feel people have forgotten what happened before this film came out. It seemed destined for failure. A lot of people were saying it’s going to be the first bomb of the MCU. That a film featuring characters most people don’t know, featuring actors a lot of people don’t know, set in space, wouldn’t work. That it would fail, and fail HARD. Just goes to show, nobody has any idea what will work. People expected The Lone Ranger to be huge, and I bet you completely forgot that film existed until now. Again, my thoughts here.

August – Sin City 2

The time between this and the first film: 9 years. That film was a success, this was bombed. Just goes to show the importance of timing when it comes to sequels. If you do them too soon then the audience will get burned out (think of the game series with yearly release cycles), yet if you space them too far apart then the audience either won’t care, or society would have moved on beyond what you’re making (best example of this is the Duke Nukem game). I don’t know why this is so much worse than the first one, it just feels less than. It feels like the first one was a labour of love, and this one was in pursuit of fans of the first one. I could be wrong, and usually am.

September – Life After Beth

I love this film. I know it’s not the greatest film of all time, but it’s unique and very funny. The closest film is Shaun Of The Dead, but that’s only in terms of genre as they’re both zombie rom-coms. When it comes to style and tone, this is a completely different bushel of bananas. Something about this film feels very 90’s or late 80’s. It would be easy to imagine this as a brat pack John Hughes movie. I haven’t said it yet in this blog, but I highly recommend this film. Even if you don’t like it, I very much doubt you’ll be bored.

October – Gone Girl

So damn creepy and dark. I saw What We Did On Our Holidays about 2 weeks before, a very different performance from Rosamund Pike. It also has the best Tyler Perry performance ever. To the point where you almost forgive him for the Madea movies (I feel I’m being mean to those movies considering I’ve never seen them, they could be comedic classics that I love, but after watch the trailers, I sincerely doubt it). Again, I highly recommend you watch this film, but you will need to prepare something nice for after. This film will drain you, but not in a way that makes you feel empty (if that makes sense). It will emotionally kill you, but when some films do that they leave you unable to speak for a while. This is the opposite, you’ll come out talking a lot. It also has the best blu-ray presentation ever. It comes with a childs book that is kind of nice, but when you read it in the context of the film, it’s horrifying. This, and Life After Beth, heavily inspired us to make this.

November – The Drop

Wait, I saw this just after Gone Girl? Damn 2014 was great. I thought this film would be kind of standard “Boston gangster” film. It’s GREAT though. A huge part of that is Tom Hardy, this is the film where I fell in love with him as an actor. It made me realise he gives great performances. I truly believe he’s probably the greatest actor around at the moment, every role he has he throws himself completely into it. He doesn’t really have a performance “type”. He’s helped in this film by the script though It’s so fucking good. It takes you by surprise every step of the way and will hook you in for the duration. Not just a great film, a very very smart one too.

December – St. Vincent

An annoying film. Because it’s really good. It’s smart, funny, and touching. But the worst thing about it is Melissa McCarthy is REALLY good in it. As such it’s disappointing when you see so many films where she returns to type. It also shows another side to Bill Murray, a slightly sadder and softer side. Bill Murray is lucky he’s Bill Murray. Seriously, watch films he’s in and imagine his character is played by another actor, you would HATE that character. Most of his characters are arseholes, complete dicks. Yet somehow he makes them work. Lucky bastard.

Secret Life Of Pets/The Boss

Two very different films, but both suffer from from the same flaw: the background characters are the best ones in the entire film. Not the only problems however.

Secret Life Of Pets

I have two problems with this film:

  1. As I alluded to earlier; the main characters are the least interesting ones, which, considering one of them is played by Louis CK is kind of unexpected. It’s not just the characters, the main plot is not that interesting either. The entire main plot is shown in the trailer, nothing new or exciting. There is, however, a fantastic B-story that shows up; the idea that animals that were once pets were thrown away and are now bitter and angry and ready to get their revenge. THAT’S a film, that’s the kind of thing that Pixar or Disney would do. On the subject of Disney there’s already been a lot of controversy about Finding Dory. People are saying that it could lead to an increase of people having exotic fish as pets and then discarding them when they get bored (like they did with owls after Harry Potter And The Quantum Of Solace or whatever it was called). The idea of an animal-led film that has discourages people from getting pets just because they saw them in films? Not only would that be good but it would also be a subtle attack to Disney and Pixar, a “This is why we have a problem with you, you’re irresponsible, not like us, we’re truly wholesome and safe for children to watch with their families”.
  2. The realism. I know, it’s an animated film aimed at kids so I shouldn’t expect 100% realism. But at the very least I should expect it to stay consistent within the world it’s created. The world within the film is supposed to be our world. This is decided very early on when a human character hear’s one of the main characters “talking” and it’s just barking. Yet there’s lots of moments in here which break that realism, moments such as a rabbit and a dog driving a bus off a bridge. Pixar usually does this kind of thing very well. Look at Finding Nemo etc, it takes place in our world, and we do see humans, but the interactions between the humans and the main characters is minimal, and the main characters, although living in a human world, don’t effect that world that much. This film has way too many instances where the animals have a major influence on the human world, there’s the aforementioned bus crash, there’s a break in at a sausage factory, a rabbit beating up a dog catcher etc.

But other than those two problems how was it? It was thoroughly ok. The closing shot was beautiful. It’s one of the great things about animation is that you can occasionally get absolutely gorgeous visuals, but apart from the closing shot it never really does that. In fact it doesn’t look great throughout, the animals just look ok, and the humans in it look like they’re made of twigs. The story is serviceable and does what it needs to, but I don’t feel I need to see it again. It’s biggest flaw isn’t the fault of the film, it’s just circumstance. A lot of times studios release films which (judging by poster alone) look very similar. Has happened a lot before: Antz/A Bugs Life, Finding Nemo/Sharks Tale etc. This films competitor? Zootopia. For this film to come anywhere close to that would be difficult. Zootopia (so far) is probably in my top five films of the year. This? Well be at the bottom of the top half so far. But considering Kubo isn’t out yet, this can easily be pushed down. Although this film did have a subtle Mario green shell reference, which is kind of cool.

The Boss

Nope. Just no. Here’s my massive problem with this film: you have a character get arrested, then when they’re released they go to a Girl Scouts meeting and decides to set up a new business luring Girl Scouts from their group into a new group helping her in a business with communist workers overtones (their logo is a red badge with a picture of a girl raising her fist in the air and wearing a hat). When one of the mothers at the group objects to this, she calls her a cunt, then insults her daughter, whom she later knocks out. The daughter’s age? Between 11-15. So, the “hero” of this story bullies and beats up a school girl just because she doesn’t like her mum. Comedy!

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Actually this film, tonally is kind of weird and all over the place. It attempts to get cheap laughs and sacrifices story to do that, destroying all story momentum for the sake of a joke. For example: there’s a scene where she goes to her old business associates, and they all tell her they hate her and want nothing to do with her. It’s the kind of scene that’s like a large roast dinner, it’s a lot to take in and you need to give it time to settle. Instead, just after the scene takes place the film makes her fall down a flight of stairs, thereby pouring custard on the emotional roast dinner of the previous scene. It’s like the film was written by different writers who never contacted each other to check if their bits lined up. You have important characters turn up for one or two scenes and then are never mentioned again.

It’s a shame as I really want to like Melissa McCarthy; she was great in Bridesmaids, and Spy was excellent. I just feel she has a habit of picking bad films, films where she is only asked to do her usual shtick and doesn’t allow her to stretch herself (otherwise known as Jim Carey syndrome). Which is a shame as when she’s good she’s amazing, check out the aforementioned Spy for evidence of that, and St. Vincent, where she manages to be one of the best characters in a film which contains Chris O’Dowd and Bill Murray (or to give him his full title: Bill Fucking Murray). She can do better than this, and her continual choosing of below-par films just provides ammunition to her increasing number of detractors. Luckily the next film she has lined up is Ghostbusters, I’m sure that is under no pressure.

The-Boss-2016-HDRIP-Release

I also saw Independence Day; a film which (ironically) seemed like it was written by aliens, completely devoid of human emotion and everything seemed slightly fake and contrived.