X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)

I’m always wary when people describe films as “one of the worst of the year”, particularly when it comes to films with female leads (the new Ghostbusters, for example, was at worst, inoffensive and bland, yet received the vitriol usually reserved for a fart at a funeral). Let me reassure you, this film is as bad as you have heard. I haven’t seen anything this bad since the new Hellboy. In fact, I think this might be worse, it seems to fail in every single aspect of what makes a film good.

1. It Doesn’t Fit The X-Men Timeline

Like, at all. People criticise the MCU for being inconsistent with timelines, but this just takes the piss. Let’s get the obvious out of the way; so there are essentially two X-men timelines in terms of cast, right? There’s the old one (which is technically the new one as the films are all set in the present day), with Patrick Stewart etc. Then there are the new ones (which are the old ones as they’re prequels) starring McAvoy etc. The first Stewart film was set in 2000, whereas the McAvoy ones start in 1962, this one is set in 1992, so 8 years away from Stewart, but 30 away from McAvoy, so obviously they use the McAvoy casting group. That’s f*cking weird.

2. Pulls A Snyder

As I’ve probably before when mentioning Batman Vs. Superman etc, Zack Snyder has a very specific problem with his directing style: he creates good looking shots, but to get to them people do very stupid things. This film has a tendency to do the same thing, well, it attempts to, it forgets to do the “make the actual shot look good” part, so you end up with shots which they build up illogically. One in particular that stands out is when they’re rescuing people in space, and one of the X-Men exits the spaceship to save someone and ends up just floating in space, holding one of the other characters (presumed) lifeless body, and instead of going straight back to the ship (you know, where they can breathe), he just stays staring there for like 10 seconds.

3. The dialogue.

The dialogue here is, well it’s not good. It has some of the worst dialogue Jennifer Lawrence has ever had to utter (which considering she was in Serena, really takes something). There’s one line in particular is cringeworthy:

“We’ve saved you so many times, maybe you ought to rename us X-Women”

This comes immediately after a scene where two male characters are integral to saving lives, so it makes NO sense and is just there to get a “woo” moment from the audience. It also wastes the one F-Bomb they have, wasting it on a character who delivers it with all the menace of strawberry yoghurt. Completely wasted, he delivers it flatly, and none of the characters even respond to it.

4. Wasting characters.

It’s not just the f-word they waste. They have Quicksilver, who is one of the best characters in the franchise (and handled A LOT better in this series than it was in the MCU), and they decide to sideline him for most of the film. This is really weird as just after that they kill off Mystique (Apparently, because Jennifer Lawrence didn’t want to play the character anymore). Now, this is tipped to be the last movie in the franchise, so wouldn’t it have made more sense to kill Quicksilver, and sideline Mystique?

5. Wastes Ideas

One of the most frustrating parts of this film is it occasionally flirts with interesting concepts. The biggest one is that Xavier has become ego-driven and affected by fame. Which is another idea; at the start of this film the X-Men are heroes, with a direct line to the US government. How will these characters react to finally being loved and adored? No idea, this film throws that aside.

6. The Story

There’s no compelling villain in this film. The main villain isn’t actually Jean Grey, as the marketing suggests. She is for some of the film, and then she suddenly has a face turn and the villain becomes someone who she gave some of her power too. So essentially she’s a less powerful version of one of the main characters. So there’s no sense of drama, at all. She belongs to an alien race who are never really explained. We’re given their name and a VERY short backstory. How short? Put it this way, the detail they’re given is less than the detail we STILL get every time they reboot Batman. It’s also never explained why they already have important government positions before the invasion. The final third was rewritten, and you can tell. Not just because of a car suddenly changing into a train.

7. Everyone is an idiot.

Well, I say everyone, the government gave Magneto his own land. That’s Magneto, who has tried to overthrow the US government multiple times, and basically attempted genocide. Why would the government give him land? It makes no sense.

8. It’s too late.

This is a poor end to the franchise. Which is a shame as this franchise already had the perfect closer: Logan. That is genuinely one of the greatest superhero films ever, and the perfect goodbye. That film gave the franchise a lot of good will, which has now been thrown away in this, this, this, REALLY bad film. It’s REALLY bad. And the fact it came after Logan (and is the first superhero film to come out since Endgame), just makes it seem even worse.

The Darkest Minds (2018)

I first became aware of this film a few weeks ago, I was at the cinema watching the trailers (controversial opinion; I actually LOVE watching the trailers at cinema) and saw the trailer for this. Now I had no idea this existed. I did, however, know of a film called The New Mutants, a teen drama/horror set in the X-men universe. As I was watching the trailer I thought “this new x-men doesn’t look as good as I thought it would” then I found out it wasn’t new X-men film. But whilst watching it; it REALLY wants to be. I haven’t seen a rip-off this poor since I released My C-men, described by critics as “a little hard to swallow”, “needs more substance”, and “a bit chewy”.

Okay, with that horrifying visual out of your brain I’ll get into more detail about this film. it doesn’t really work. It has many issues, the pacing, the story itself, and the underdeveloped characters. But the real issue; it’s a romance story where the romance at the heart of it doesn’t work. At no point do you buy them as a couple, I’m not sure whether it’s because of bad writing or just lack of chemistry, but it doesn’t really work.

The story itself also seemed to fall a little flat. There’s been A LOT of apocalyptic fiction aimed at young adults lately, so for one to stand out it has to do something different, something to make you think “okay, THAT’S why this is important”. For me, The 5th Wave did it through having an incredibly tight plot and astounding action scenes which really showed the brutality, but in a PG-13 way. This one attempts to do it by taking aspects of Hunger Games, the aforementioned X-Men, Maze Runner, Divergent, etc. As such, it never really seems to stand on its own two feet. There’s nothing about THIS film that marks itself as unique or special. Side note; how ripe is YA apocalyptic fiction for parody fodder? So yeah this film is just okay really. Not great enough to be remembered for years to come, not bad enough to make fun of that much. I mean, there’s nothing inherently BAD about this film, but there’s nothing really that made me sit up and take notice. The performances were good, but the characters are kind of meh so it balances out. Personally, I think the “oh, the person the audience assumes is bad turned out to be bad? quelle surprise” thing needs to stop happening (but then again if it was a red herring I would also boo that as being cliche, so can’t really win really). One thing which is kind of unforgivable though; the trailer.

See the film establishes that she can wipe herself from memories, and when she does so we see the characters memories of her and she kind of Thanos’s away. (turns into dust and floats away). So, what scene is in the trailer:

Screen Shot 2018-08-29 at 14.36.54.png That’s her, wiping the memory of her from the male lead. This happens JUST before the end and is one of the last moments where if you went for a piss, you’d be confused when you came back. The film leads up to this; and they put it in the trailer? Yeah, that’s not good. But at least they don’t put the very last scene in the trailer, where she accepts her role as the leader of the uprising and makes a call to arms in front of a stadium of other young people, they’d have to be an idiot to put that in.

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God-fucking-damnit!

Logan

I was very nervous about this film, I worried it wouldn’t be that good. Actually that’s a massive lie, but it sounds better than “saw the trailer, liked the trailer, was pleased with the final result”. This film was what I expected to be, and to be honest it’s what it needed to be; which is the first truly mature comic book film in a long time. Some people would say that Deadpool deserves that accolade, but I wouldn’t count that as mature. It had lots of blood and adult content, but it was very silly and lowest common denominator, don’t get me wrong, I do love that film (it was one of my favourites from last year), but it’s not mature at all. This film is though. One of the best compliments you can give this film is that it is a fantastic film, not “fantastic for a comic book movie”, on it’s own terms it’s a fantastic film. There’s going to be a lot of people who find this film dull, it takes quite some time for certain things to happen but it’s brilliant. Not every film has to be fast food, designed to be satisfactory but finished quickly, this film is more like a three course meal at a restaurant, you savour every moment and really take your time with it, so that when it’s over you feel completely satisfied and all you can do is sit there and recover from the brilliance you just consumed.

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That’s a point, the ending of this film will be talked about, not here as you can’t without spoiling it. It is brilliantly done though, it’s an ending which this series has truly deserved, and it ends with a Johnny Cash song, which most comic book films wouldn’t be able to do but for here it fits. It is pretty much a modern western, a tale of a retired gunslinger coming back for one more gunfight, the last outlaw, in a time and place without purpose and that has moved on without him, causing him to need to go out in a blaze of glory.

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Should also probably mention how great Dafne Keen is as X-23 though; the best child in a comic book film since Kick-Ass (in fact I’d argue this one was better as has much more depth), the actress is amazing, so much so that you don’t realise that she’s mute for most of the film. She does such a good job displaying her motivations etc through her body language and facial expressions that you don’t really notice that she hasn’t spoken. It’s kind of like when you’re watching a really good subtitled film and you get so used to it, and it’s done so well that you keep forgetting you’re not actually listening to the words. The fact that this is only her second acting role is amazing (her only previous role being in a TV show: The Refugees). I really hope big things happen to her soon. This film is full of good performances; Hugh Jackman’s performance is genuinely Oscar-worthy, Patrick Stewart is Patrick Stewart, and Stephen Merchant is surprisingly good as well, giving an extremely subtle and underplayed performance.

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I appreciate this review has been all over the place, but it’s hard to stay focused on certain parts as every time start talking about something I immediately want to start talking about how fantastic another part of the film was. At some point I’ll be able to write an intelligent and coherent piece about this film, about how it handles themes usually dealt with in Oscar-bait films, about how it’s a true masterpiece, about how genuinely moving and emotional this film is. But right now I can’t do that. I’m still in shock about it (and I saw it over a week ago). This film is too good to write coherently about, and that’s something I’ve never thought about a film.

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Seriously though; words do not express how awesome this character is

Logan

  • Brilliant performances all round
  • Earns the R rating
  • But not in a gratuitous way.
  • Emotional as hell.
  • Looks amazing.

Nooooooooo-gan

  • Villains could have been better written.
  • Having Liev Schriber’s character from X-Men Origins in it would have been a nice touch.
  • Doesn’t answer a lot of questions which it should have (but might be answered in future ones)

 

 

Musings On Marvel: Day 11 (Avengers: Age Of Ultron)

Director: Joss Whedon (writer of Toy Story and uncredited co-writer on Twister)

Budget: $250million

Box Office: $1.4billion

  • Why did you need to find the Loki Pokey stick? Wasn’t it at the top of the Avengers tower at the end of the Avengers movie? Was it stolen at some point in the Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D series? And if so, f*ck that noise. Don’t make me hours of a TV show necessary viewing for a movie that’s already way too long.
  • “lasting a little long, boys” Yeah I’ve had that problem before.
  • “Fire on the weak ones” See, this is why you don’t have weak ones.
  • “send in the Iron Legion” Why not start with that? That way you don’t have to even be there.
  • Wait, didn’t he promise to destroy all the suits at the end of Iron Man 3?
  • Do the people here understand English? Surely that’s a logical flaw Tony Stark would have fixed?
  • “I want to poke it with something”. That’s exactly how I deal with almost every problem.
  • “yay” Is Tony Stark now a fifteen year old girl? I mean, what kind of self respecting person says “yay”? Note: I don’t count, I don’t respect myself.
  • See, this annoys the hell out of me. That shot of the broken shield was used in the trailer. It created intrigue. I was waiting, wondering how that happened, wondering what force could create that. And then I found out: dream sequence, didn’t happen, doesn’t matter. F*ck you film industry. It’s one of the most annoying things about film trailers and I’d love to see it stopped, that, and ruining cameos. There was no reason to showcase that Spider-Man is in Civil War. Close to that: people in the trailer who are only in a handful of scenes. Such as Hugh Grant in Man From U.N.C.L.E.
  • “no pepper? no jane?” Yeah, we couldn’t afford for them to come to this party.
  • “Jane’s better” normally I would really disagree with you, but the other person is Gwyneth Paltrow so it’s more like “please, please, they’re both terrible people”
  • Wait, you’re a celebrity funded by a multi million dollar agency. How do you not have enough money?
  • “this was not meant for mortal men” But you are mortal! Your mother died just a few movies ago, and you think your brother died. You should be aware of mortality by now.
  • “he’s also a huge dork, chicks dig that”. As someone who is almost the court jester of dorks I can confirm this is most definitely not true.
  • “on the world’s leading authority on waiting too long”, no. You slept for most of that, does not count.
  • If I was Thor I’d totally leave the hammer on the toilet seat so people couldn’t pee.
  • Tony Stark makes a joke about raping the women of Asgard. Comedy!
  • So Captain is “slightly” worthy?
  • Ultron waited until all the other party guests left before attacking.
  • An evil robot in a Marvel movie? Wow, never seen that before.
  • The film isn’t perfect, but James Spaders performance is pretty close.
  • So Ultron went on the internet and now hates the world? I see he’s seen the Daily Mail comments section then.
  • “he’s taken the Loki Pokey stick and now we have to find it, again”. Even the movie knows it’s repeating itself.
  • “it was built in the centre of the city so everyone could be equally close”. That’s not true, as in, that wouldn’t work. Unless there’s only one line of houses in a perfect circle then there’s going to be people living closer. I mean, draw a perfect circle on the floor, mark the centre, now stand two meters away, now have someone else stand one meter away from the centre. Are you both the same distance from the middle? No, you’re not. Lee: making fun of movies via math. Usually I only comfort people with mathematics, and that’s only during certain circumstances.
  • “our parents go in”, wait, your dad is Magneto. So does Magneto die really early on in this universe? Harsh.
  • “Cuttlefish: deep sea fish, they make lights” no they don’t. You’re describing an anglerfish.
  • Just realised they’re in Wakanda, shouldn’t Black Panther be there?
  • Movie spend the time providing a backstory to Black Widow when surely she should have had her own movie do that for her?
  • Wait, was that Clara Oswald? For one shot.
  • So Black Widow fantasises in cinematic low angle shots?
  • Why isn’t the hulkbuster suit the default suit?
  • I assume there was a deleted scene here which explains why Thor is just f’ing off. How do these films manage to be both too long, and have so many things missing?
  • “they have a graduation ceremony where they sterilise you” Apparently Greenwich Uni has the same procedure.
  • Wait, did they take the only strong female character in this thing and make her tragic backstory tie into childbirth? Damnit. And if you don’t see why this is problematic: imagine if Captain America’s main backstory was that the serum turned him sterile, and that was his biggest issue. See how weird that would be? But they had to make the only female character the only one who has a backstory that involves childbirth.
  • “everytime someone tries to win a war before it starts, innocent people die”. As opposed to normal wars where absolutely no innocent people die.
  • “guy’s multiplying faster than a Catholic rabbit”. I never noticed that line before.
  • Why did Ultron shoot the road, not the person?
  • “how do you want me to take it”. Obvious sex joke is obvious.
  • “without the homicidal glitch that he thinks are his winning personality” oh but without that I have nothing.
  • Why is he keeping Black Widow alive? It’s not to lure the Avengers there, as they kind of already have reason to find him and attack him.
  • Hey it’s a naked Paul Bettany, that’s never been done before.
  • Wait, where did he get the cape from?
  • Paul Bettany delivers what is essentially a shakespeare monologue in a film that doesn’t really deserve it.
  • Ok, that bit where Vision picked up the hammer was pretty awesome.
  • Quicksilver uses Adidas.
  • It’s a shame Quicksilver was done better in X-Men Days Of Future past otherwise that bit would have been awesome.
  • It’s a shame we’ve seen Magneto lift a stadium up in X-Men Days Of Past otherwise that bi….god damnit.
  • This plan doesn’t really work, that mass dropping wouldn’t have same impact as a meteor of the same size. The reason meteors cause so much damage is because they have high levels of speed because they’ve dropped such a great height. This land mass isn’t being raised high enough to gather enough speed.
  • Other point: if this city is being raised to 18,000 feet, shouldn’t that change the temperature? Should be below zero surely.
  • “you get killed” he says, as the camera focuses on the only main character to die.
  • Wait, can Captain now call his shield to him with telepathy?
  • Yeah, good job Captain America and Thor, saving those two people when you could be saving a lot more.
  • “Thor, you’re bothering me”. He bothers me too.
  • Hadouken!
  • Hawkeye wastes valuable time making stupid jokes. Funny stupid jokes that were adlibbed on set but still.
  • “Where else am I going to get a view like this?” A mountain, a plane, riding Iron Man?
  • “You kiss your mother with that mouth?” His mother’s probably been dead for like a century, not cool!
  • “show em what we’ve got” Yeah, that’s right, show that army you’ve got one guy in a suit. They’ll be shitting themselves.
  • “if you get through this, I’ll hold your own”. Well, they both survived, so I assume that scene will be in Civil War.
  • Villain tries to say a funny line and gets hit by Hulk. Just like in the first movie.
  • Finally a major hero dies.
  • Well, I say “major”, he had like 20 minutes of screen time, if that.
  • So things that aren’t worthy can’t keep the hammer aloft? There was a moment in the last Thor movie where the hammer was put on a coat hook, was the coat hook worthy?
  • Holy crap that film felt long.
  • Oh wait, it was long.
  • Thanos decides to retrieve the stones himself. You know if he did this earlier, these films would’ve been other before Thor. Ah, we live in hope.

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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Post blog scene
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.

Films to look Forward to in 2016

Batman V Superman: March 25

PHDHoUG4AUNdHI_1_lBecause despite the last trailer giving WAY too much away, who isn’t going to see this film? It’s Batman fighting Superman…for at least a third of the film anyway. And despite that trailer there’s still hope. The idea that Batman is turned against Superman because of the chaos he caused in Man of Steel is good screenwriting; it makes sense from a character point and helps bring the films together. The casting is also very solid, with Batfleck actually looking to be one of the best iterations of the Dark Knight yet. But we all still need to take a step back to wait and see whether Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor is the trainwreck everyone is HOPING it will be, or whether like Keaton and Ledger before him he will turn in a great performance despite the naysayers. I have no idea, but I at least love how much fun he seems to be having.

 

Deadpool: February 10

I limited this list to only Deadpool_postertwo superhero films because I didn’t want it to be inundated with them, and I wanted this to be a cut away from a lot of most anticipated lists by not just focusing on the big blockbusters coming our way (but saying that I am looking forward to Civil War and Dr Strange).
Now Deadpool; the reason I chose this over the many superhero flicks of 2016 is because this is by far the riskiest. R rated, fourth wall breaking, X-Men Movie universe expanding, and Ryan Reynolds’ starring; it’s had the best advertising campaign of any superhero film that manages to introduce the character while staying true to his roots, and is being made by people who clearly care deeply about making it an authentic adaptation. So let’s hope all those good intentions don’t pave the way to hell this time.

 

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Hail, Caesar!: February 26

Because it’s the Coen brothers (who I’m not the biggest fan of so not just dick sucking), doing a satire of the golden age of Hollywood with an all-star cast of old (Clooney and Brolin) and new talent (Hill and Tatum), with a the truly Coeny plot about a Charlton Heston type movie star being kidnapped, and the hapless Hollywood fixer who has to find him. It should be a very gaudy picture, with its only hurdle to clear is the early February release date, which could be a) a sign that the Coen’s just don’t give a shit, or b) the studio wants to drop it where no one will see it. We will see.

 

 

 

Everybody Wants Some: May 13

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His first film since his cinematic milestone and masterpiece Boyhood, Linklater returns to his stoner roots, with the spiritual sequel to possibly the best hangout film ever, Dazed and Confused; the 70s set stoner comedy that always found the chuckles, but never lost the poignancy of leaving your teenhood behind. This latest outing is set in the 80s and picks up exactly where Boyhood left off (if a few decades earlier) with a group of teens (played by refreshingly unknown actors) integration into their first year of college life and their college baseball team. Now this doesn’t sound that different from your typical stoner/gross out comedy of today, but with Linklater’s sensitive directing and thoughtful mind for youth and character, what sounds like a typical set up will (hopefully) be another timelessly funny and heartfelt film that captures that moment between teenhood, everything else, and who knows what.

 

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: November 18

I like the Harry Potter films about as much as the next guy, I grew up with them. But honestly I might be looking forward to this more than any of those films, because I always found the most fascinating part of them to be the world itself. And now we have a film set in that world, Seventy years before the original films (so in the 20s), set in New York, led by one of the best young British actors working today Eddie Redmayne, and was penned by J.K Rowling herself…I’m shocking myself how game I am for this film, and you all should be too! It’s Harry Potter without Harry Potter!

 

The Disaster Artist: TBA

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The adaption from the unsurprisingly hilarious but surprisingly poignant novel about the making of The Room, the infamously best worst movie ever made, but is really about the friendship between its crazy maker Tommy Wiseau and his co-star Greg Sestero. Produced by Seth Rogan and directed by James Franco (who with his directing record doesn’t scream hope), but with a screenplay adapted by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, the screenwriters behind The Fault in Our Stars, The Spectacular Now, and 500 Days of Summer, I became far less worried. And that was before the all-star cast started flocking to it like moths to an eccentric flame. James Franco of course is taking the role of Mr Wiseau himself, and his little brother Dave is Greg, but as well as them; Seth Rogan, Zac Efron, Alison Brie, Sharon Stone, Josh Hutcherson, and Bryan fucking Cranston, are also co-starring. With such a shockingly A-list cast, we can only hope they’ve all gathered because of the strength of the script and talent involved, and nothing less. If Franco can make this even half as good as the novel, this could be one of the best films of 2016.

 

The Nice Guys: May 20

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If my look at Shane Black’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang didn’t give it away, I love Shane Black when he does buddy movies. So it’s great to see him return with what looks like a spiritual sequel (or prequel) to that, with this 70s set dark comedy crime thriller that brings us the inspired pairing of Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling; an enforcer and hapless private eye who team up to find a missing girl and solve the murder of a porn star…how can you not be stoked for that! So let the guilty violence and laughs commence!

 

 

 

 

Moana: November 23

moana-poster-conceitual-camundongoDisney’s next animated film after the disappointing Big Hero 6 (and fuck you it wasn’t that good) brought to us by the directing duo behind some of Disney’s greatest films (Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Treasure Planet) and will follow an ancient Oceania tribal girl as she searches the South Pacific for a fabled island, helped by a demi-god voiced by Dwayne Johnson. Don’t know much beyond that, but with the talent involved we can but hope for another Disney classic, or at least something up there with Tangled and Frozen.

 

 

 

kuboKubo and the two strings: August 19

 

But this is the animated film I’m looking forward to most in 2016! Brought to us by the same team and studio behind the stop-motion masterpieces Coraline and ParaNorman, comes this action fantasy set in ancient Japan about a teenager fighting demons and searching for the magic armor his legendary samurai father once wore….it’s a STOP MOTION ANIME! I MEAN…how can you not be wetting yourself at the awesomeness of that! And with an all-star cast, the talent behind the scenes, and the recent trailer for it, all we can do now is wait and hope.

La La Land: July 15

Stars On The Set Of 'La La Land'

 

A musical dramedy about the romance between a jazz pianist played by Ryan Gosling, and an actress played by Emma Stone, and J.K. Simmons is in it too. Really the only reason this has made the list is that its writer and director Damien Chazelle’s follow up to his jaw-breakingly great Whiplash. Whether he’ll be able to live up to that will have to be seen, but I find it a good sign he appears to be going for a very different vibe for this film.

 

 

High-Rise: March 18High_Rise_2014_Film_Poster

The new and probably highest profile film from the bizarre director of Sightseers, A Field in England, and Kill List (the only of his films I have seen), Ben Wheatley; and stars Tom Hiddleston as the newest resident in a self-contained block of highrise apartments with a vicious classiest system, in this dark comedy Sci-fi thriller…or something like that. Co-starring Jeremy Irons and Elisabeth Moss, there is still a bit of mystery about this film, for all those who haven’t read the books it’s adapted from, as the advertisement has done a good job in being vague on plot but specific on tone and style. And with early release reviews beginning to come in I’m seeing almost equal people calling it a failed attempt at something grand, or hailing it as a masterpiece. So I’m glad its release date isn’t too far into this year, before we get a chance to judge for ourselves whether Mr Hiddleston has been using his Marvel down time on worthy projects.

Live by Night: October 7

2E0BBB1A00000578-3300941-image-a-62_1446500565850Ben Affleck finally took a break from acting to get back to his much more interesting career as a director, with this follow up to Argo. Adapted from another Dennis Lehane novel like his first and best film Gone Baby Gone, it’s a period crime thriller that follows the prodigal son of a police captain as he becomes a bootlegger and later a gangster legend. Again here because of the director and writer’s track record, he’s currently three for three on great thrillers, and I doubt Affleck’s in a hurry to break the streak; especially with his next directorial project being the first solo Batman film in the new DCCU. And that’s before mentioning that Mr Leonardo Dicaprio has taken on a producer hat for it.

Of course these are only vague predictions on what will be some of the best films in the coming year, as we all know that best films tent to come out of nowhere with a sharp left hook, not let us see it coming from months away.