2020 In Film Day 3: The Meh

Films which had moments, but I felt nothing.

An American Pickle

This should have meant more to me. It was heartwarming, and featured Seth Rogen doing something original. So why didn’t I? I guess it’s the script. It feels like it’s never quite sure what the story is, going from possible plot to possible plot before any of them get a chance to develop. Maybe it would have been better as a miniseries I don’t know, all I know is that there was a lot of ideas in this that could, and should, have been expanded upon but instead only lasted for about 10 minutes before never being mentioned again. This meant that it felt nothing in the film mattered as it wasn’t a story but a series of sketches, so if you missed something you wouldn’t have needed catching up on anything as what you missed didn’t effect the plot at all. 

Original review here

+Seth, without a shadow of a doubt. He carries this movie.

-The lack of identity the film has.

Best moment: When we find out what the company is named after. Very sweet.

Sonic The Hedgehog

A film that is nowhere near as terrible as I expected it be. Yup, high praise indeed. The script is an inconsistent mess, it sacrifices logical storytelling for jokes which sometimes aren’t that great. I can’t tell whether Jim Carrey ruins or makes this movie. His character seems to be from a completely different movie, at times it resembles Kate McKinnon or Will Ferrell at their best, adding an air of manic energy and humour to scenes which otherwise would have been dull, and at times it resembles, well, Kate McKinnon or Will Ferrell, being embarrassingly unfunny and just awkward to watch. 

Original review here

+Has some genuine laugh out loud moments (the line about a duck stealing a bagel made me lol)

-Seems very “first draft”

Best moment: The scenes of Sonic at superspeed resemble the Quicksilver moments from the X-Men movies, in the best possible way.

Tenet

Some people may be surprised that this film ranks so low and may think less of me for putting it here. Maybe they’re annoyed that I rate it so low. Well prepared to get even more annoyed: it’s very lucky to be in this section and not the “bad”. It JUST made it into here. Nolan is a great director, but oh do I hate his choices when it comes to sound. He seems to make a conscious choice to make his films difficult to listen to. His defence of this is that it makes the audience “lean in”, but to be honest it makes me tune out, there’s a reason Taxi Driver didn’t have all the dialogue drowned out by the sound of traffic, or why when you’re filming a scene and a plane flies overhead, you stop filming until the sound dies down.  It ended up frustrating me to the point where it soured me on the film, especially when important plot details get told in a single line of dialogue which you can easily miss. I think from now on I’m only going to see Nolan films at cinemas if they have subtitled screenings. And considering how little cinema seems to cater towards those who are hard of hearing, that might prove difficult.

Original review here

+The fight choreography was amazing to see.

-The waste of talented performers.

Best moment: Hard to pick, so let’s just say the action scenes. 

The Gentleman

The cinematic equivalent of a greatest hits album that confusingly is missing a few of their best songs. Guy Ritchie needs to adapt, and needs to do it soon otherwise he runs the risk of seeming like a relic. He needs to justify why he belongs in a modern cinematic world instead of just replaying the Lock Stock formula. Not the easiest thing to do for him as his moves away from that have been his biggest flops, so he inevitably comes back to what he does well. And he does do it well, there’s no denying that, but we’ve seen it all before. There’s nothing new, nothing that makes you sit up and take notice. Really, there’s no reason you HAVE to see this.

Original review here

+Fun at times.

-The ending is too “oh look how clever we are” for my tastes.

Best Moment: Everytime Hugh Grant is on screen.

The Gentlemen (2020)

I liked this film, not enough to ever need to watch it again, but it was okay while it lasted. A return to form for Guy Ritchie after the flop of King Arthur, pretty much confirming to studios that nobody wants to watch films based on King Arthur, rather than the truth, which is nobody wants to see shit films, oh wait, they do. It’s a shame as those films can be good, and whilst King Arthur did flop, I believe that The Green Knight will be the blue pill that cures the flop.

This is definitely a return to form, but I think that’s one of the biggest criticisms I have of it; I’ve seen it all before in his previous films. At times this doesn’t seem like a new film, but more like a re-recording of his greatest hits. To make matters worse, the story isn’t as clever as it seems to think it is. For a seemingly complicated plot, it’s remarkably straightforward. I hate to talk about it again (that’s a lie, I love discussing it whenever I can), when I got to the end of Searching I thought back to earlier moments in the film and suddenly a lot of things I thought were mistakes made sense, it made me immediately want to go back and watch the film again and look for more things I missed. You don’t get that with this film, there’s no “ohhhhhh, that’s smart” moment, and I feel it really needs one. There is one clever subversive moment, a gang of youtube rappers stumble into a drugs den, where they get caught by the security. I expected it to go like this:

  1. The security beat the shit out of the kids
  2. One of the kids turns out to be related to someone important.
  3. Bloody revenge

Instead, the teens beat the holy hell out of the security, then upload the video of it online. It’s clever and new, and is something I wish the film did more of.

The performances are okay, personally, I couldn’t unsee Charlie Hunnam as a discount Tom Hardy though. The real MVP is Hugh Grant though, he’s had a great last few years when it comes to weird roles; this, Paddington 2, Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists etc. He’s really developed from the “oh golly gosh if I got you a wine would you touch me?” roles from the 90’s into some incredibly fascinating ones, and is all the better for it. There are a few members of the cast I would have liked to see more of (not like that, settle down you pervs), and at times it does seem like there are so many characters the script has forgotten what’s happening. On the bright side the audience never feels lost, which is a risk with a fractured narrative like this. The editing and directing are skillful enough that you are always aware of where you are, there’s none of that “okay who was that who died, where are we now?” style editing that haunts lesser films. That being said, the ending is a bit shit.