2019 In Film Day 4: The Good

Okay, stay with me here because this is where it gets complicated. In this one I’ll be talking about films, that (get this), I think, are good. I tried to subtly imply that with the title but I wasn’t sure whether I was too subtle or not. So, here goes.

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

This film is so good it almost makes up for [insert terrible Melissa McCarthy film, and let’s face it, there’s a fucking lot of them). This is a good one to start this blog off with actually, and not just because it’s alphabetically the first in the list. This one has a definitive thing which stops it being anything better than “good” in my eyes. It has almost zero narrative suspense. You better get used to that concept because it’s going to come back in a big f*cking way later on in this blog. The trailer showed her being put on trial for her crimes, but the entire film is seeing the scheme unfold, the trial isn’t until near the very end. So what we’re doing is watching people hatch a plan that we as an audience know doesn’t work. It’s not just that for me. The music and visual style were weird. They were good but they make it hard to place it in the time frame. They make it seem as though it happened a lot earlier than it did. The film is set in 1991 but the colour scheme used in the film, and the soundtrack, make it seem like it’s set from the 1960’s or earlier. So when you do get something 90’s happening, it can be somewhat jarring. I recognise that’s just a personal opinion, but this entire blog is a personal opinion, so meh.

Original review here

+Richard E Grant, he’s just great.

-Won’t stick with you.

Greta

I think I may need to watch this film again to fully come to terms with it. It’s a deeply flawed film, but it is incredibly fascinating to watch. Part of that is the performances, but also the pacing is pretty damn good too. It’s slow, but it is constantly moving forward. So the story is constantly going, albeit much slower than you may be used to. It also doesn’t treat the audience like they’re stupid, it’s a much more fulfilling film if you notice little details and remember certain situations repeating themselves. It just doesn’t, for some particular reason, stand out as a film that I have a great personal love for. I appreciate it more than I liked it, but I did appreciate it a lot.

Original review here

+The cookie-cutter scene. A great moment to hear the entire audience wince at once.

-Occasionally struggles to hold the attention of the audience.

Horrible Histories: The Movie – Rotten Romans

I thought I loved this film, but it’s been out on DVD for a few weeks now and I have no desire to go out and buy it immediately, so I guess I didn’t. It was funny enough, but I guess it was just a little bit too childish for my tastes. I know, a children’s film was childish, how dare it? If I was younger I’d probably have liked it enough to annoy my parents by constantly watching it. This is never more evident than during one of the songs which completely brings the film to a halt and goes on too long. It’s weird as there are other moments where it seems like the filmmakers have a firm eye on the adults in the audience, references to Monty Python, Jay-Z etc you can argue the kids might understand. But does anybody really think that there are any kids who would understand a reference to the 1970’s television show I, Claudius?

Original review here

+Battle Of Watling Street song. It advances the narrative, is funny, and incredibly catchy.

-The Nero song is kind of cringy

IT: Chapter Two

The further I distance myself from this film, the less I enjoy it as the faults become obvious. The flashbacks contain zero dramatic tension in them as you know the characters are not going to die. It’s also extremely unsatisfying in terms of expanding the lore. It feels like there’s a lot of stuff left to say, but not in an exciting way, but in a way that the whole thing feels unfinished. The way the film is structured and the lore is revealed makes it seem like there’s a third one, but there’s not, so it’s just a bit strange. It’s also way too fucking long. If you include trailers and traffic time you were looking at almost a 4-hour commitment, and that’s just too much.

Original review here

+Bill Hader is amazeballs

-It drags like a 1-legged drunk hyena

Pokemon: Detective Pikachu

This film is weird, in a good way, mostly. The tonal shifts are a bit jarring though. It goes from incredibly serious to Ryan Reynolds in a fucking instant. The humour too is slightly inconsistent, ranging from simple slapstick and dick jokes, then suddenly you get a joke about torturing someone for information by pouring petrol on them and setting them ablaze. So strange, yet kind of wonderful.

Original review here

+The visual world-building is incredible. It all feels real.

-Some of the human characters are so flat they’re almost 2-dimensional

Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark

I expected this to be a bit lighter than it was. I basically expected something similar to Goosebumps. This feels more like the next natural progression from those films. So a kid would watch goosebumps, then this, then start killing everybody as that’s what horror films cause people to do, obviously. After watching the Nightmare On Elm Street series I went through a phase of haunting people’s dreams and killing them in increasingly outlandish ways. That stopped when I watched the Saw movies and just became awful. So, this film. It’s not original, but it is a very good watch. It has some great body horror moments in. Actually, that’s a point I haven’t mentioned, the variety of scares in this. It has a somewhat scattergun approach to them so if there’s not one fear that works there’s another which will. It’s a risky approach but it’s really effective in this.

Original review here

+The sense of dread never leaves the screen.

-A bit too restrained at times, plus I found one of the characters really annoying.

Stan And Ollie

This was the first film I saw in 2019. So the film got off on a pretty good year. Very heartwarming and emotional. Maybe my opinion of it was somewhat muted by not knowing much about the pair. As such I couldn’t really catch any references, also the film didn’t give much background about the pair, assuming we were familiar with them. Because of this I always felt slightly like I was watching two strangers, as opposed to two characters.

Original review here

+It seems very honest. Fully aware that they have flaws and made mistakes.

-Too slow at times

Stuber

This is very funny, but that’s all it is. It never goes beyond that. If I caught this on netflix I’d love it. But paying full price at the cinema sours it somewhat. This would have been the perfect film for video rental stores. It’s not quite good enough to push either of the leads into superstardom (they are huge, but not like “build a multi-million dollar franchise around them” huge yet), but it is a worthwhile addition to both of their filmographies. I really wish this was better, but it just doesn’t do enough to take it to the next level. Plus there’s one scene which just feels like padding and takes you out completely.

Original review here

+Great chemistry between the leads.

-A few moments take you out of the film and remind you that what you are watching is not real.

The Day Shall Come

It’s funny because it’s true, but it’s also super depressing for the exact same reason. I don’t mind downer endings sometimes, but in this case it just seemed odd. The film had spent 90 minutes punching you in the face and it never gave you that catharsis of a happy ending. I don’t think it was helped by the high standards I have of the creator. His stuff is some of my favourite stuff of all time, so when something is only very good, it seems worse by comparison.

Original review here

+It could inspire people to go fuck shit up.

-The satire is a little unfocused at times.

So that’s it for this one. Don’t worry, I’m finishing with 2019 soon, I realise now I’m stuck more in the past than an Empire fanatic (both British and Imperial/Galactic), and so far from 2020 the films have been good. So you’ve got that to look forward to.

2010’s In Film Part Two (2012)

January – The Iron Lady

Not a part of the MCU, sadly. Completely different. Iron Man is about a rich merchant of death who’s arrogance leads to his initial downfall, but he eventually finds redemption before dying. This is about a woman who was the same, but didn’t bother with the redemption part.

February – Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close

This film was HATED when it came out. Deemed as exploitative (it’s very 9/11-ey) and is essentially emotional blackmail, but badly done. Initially released just after the 10 year anniversary of the attacks, which just adds fuel the fire that it was done to exploit the terror. So yeah, very negatively reviewed, yet somehow got nominated for best picture at the Oscars. I’m still not entirely sure how that happened.

March – The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists

Damn this film is funny. All you need to know about this film is that it’s made by Aardman (the creators of Wallace And Gromit), has Hugh Grant in it, plus has characters called:

  • The Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate
  • The Pirate Who Likes Sunsets And Kittens
  • The Pirate With Gout

That alone tells you what type of film it is.

April – Cabin In The Woods

Sooooooo much yes. I’m not sure how good this will be to people who aren’t familiar with horror movie tropes, but as someone who is a fan of the genre I love it. It potentially explains every single horror movie, connecting all of them under one umbrella. It has one plot issue that I dislike. It shows a bird flying into an invisible wall near a cave, being electrocuted and dying. This means that when someone tries to jump over the gap later on, you know it’s not going to work and that he’s going to hit the wall. If it came as a surprise then you would be in the same position as the characters and the shock would just kill your soul slightly. I highly recommend everybody see this film.

May – American Pie: Reunion

Is it weird that these films were really successful, people love them, and yet with a few exceptions, it made almost zero long term impact on popular culture. The actors in it had brief moments of being big but now the biggest one is probably Sean William Scott. It’s just weird that if you removed these films from history, not much would change.

June – Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Still haven’t seen this, because apparently, it’s actually quite serious. That’s weird. I thought a film like this would be a comedy. I just can’t imagine taking an idea like this seriously. Thankfully the film I wanted turned out to exist and was Pride And Prejudice and Zombies.

July – The Dark Knight Rises

I actually like this movie, I think Tom Hardy was great as Bane. I’ll admit I’m still not sold on Bale as Batman, he’s an average Batman and not a great Bruce Wayne. I’m just kind of disappointed that this was the final film. There seemed to be a lot of missed opportunities and I would have liked to have seen more Batman villains in the franchise to see how he would have handled them.

August – A Few Best Men

Better films were released this month, of that I am certain. But this one needs love, it’s funny and very British. I love it.

September – Resident Evil 5

How are there this many films in the franchise? I’ve watched one of them and all I can remember is that the last line in the film, the line which is supposed to make you go “wow, that changes everything and is very important”, is also the tagline of the movie. Stupid.

October – Skyfall

The only Bond film I’ve ever seen. It’s alright. I’m just not a fan of Bond. I don’t know why, I like the video games, and the music is great. But the actual films leave me bored. I realise they’re technically great, but I just don’t actually care about them. I should probably watch more (live-blogging those would be one way for me to kill a month or two). Maybe that’s why I don’t care, because there’s so many of them already so I feel when I’m watching them I’m watching them from a point of few of someone who doesn’t know everything I should. I wouldn’t understand any references if any are made. So I feel I’d be watching it a lower level than other people.

November – Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir

2012 featured a documentary about Roman Polanksi, as well as one about Woody Allen. Fuck ’em.

December – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

This film franchise is weird. LOTR was HUGE, and so was the first Hobbit movie. Lots of people very excited about it, and the screening I was dragged to in York was packed out and full of fans. Yet this, and the next film, were so badly received that by the time the third one came out almost nobody was talking about them. The box office didn’t drop that much, so it’s almost like people went to watch them just out of completion anxiety, and they weren’t actually excited about them. It’s a shame as Martin Freeman is perfectly cast, it’s just a shame the film isn’t that great. I’m not that big a Tolkein fan so I can’t judge why, I’m guessing it’s the stretching out one small book into 3 big films that people don’t like, and the HEAVY CGI use which makes it look like a video game.

 

So yeah, that’s 2012, not the end of the world as it turned out. Actually it was soon after this that I started paying more attention to film and seeing A LOT more at cinema.