Tuesday 31 December 2019

Happy New Year?

Well, there's no way to sugarcoat it, this year has been just terrible. But that may be just me. Ignoring all country politics of course.

Looking back over last year's end of year post, I never would have guessed that THIS was the year following it. Half full of hope but alas, this has been a bad year and to be honest, it could all come down to just one thing. I didn't post about it, or if I did it was minimal because I'm just not the kind of person who can. I know other find comfort sharing personal stories in depth, especially if they lost someone dear to them. Anything I say about the rest of this year doesn't come close to the loss of my Nana. We lost her back in May and I still haven't come to terms with it. I miss her very much and there are days I forget she's not here anymore and think, I need to call her or even, I'll walk down the road to see her and then catch myself in that thought. She used to love watching films and as she got older, she liked the scary ones best. We used to go to the cinema together, take one of the special taxis she had vouchers for and share popcorn. I remember I saw 'Castaway' with her as well as 'Bean:The Movie' a couple of times and I think 'March of the Penguins'. Aside from these movie moments, the one thing I'll always remember her for and my sister and talked about this, was her stories. She was a master storyteller. I only hope I could ever be half as good as her.

Loosing my Nana left a huge hole in my heart but taking a leaf from her book, there have been a few positives this year. I made it back to Cinema Rediscovered and Edinburgh Film Festival this year, saw 24 films at BFI LFF (most yet for me), had some of my zines displayed at a zine festival, got to have beach holiday in Tropea with my sister which we hadn't really done before, I was quoted on a film poster (not by name but it was my words - goal for next year), I rediscovered my love and connection for Tarot as well as taking part in workshops, I have been doing reading for friends and family (if interested, let me know!), I've put myself 'out there' with new experiences to learn from as well as be amused by and I turned 30, celebrating with my amazing friends. What a way to end the decade starting a new one.

With the end of the decade, closing on all the job hunting hell, slow film festivals and all round off-ness, I really hope that I can make my Nana proud in the next one decade.

Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday 24 December 2019

The Rise of Skywalker Was a Huge Mistake



THIS IS NOT A REVIEW this is just a discussion peice. 

For any poor soul who follows me on Instagram or Twitter you have unfortunately been dragged into my Star War breakdown. Also apologies for Twitter especially as I tried to not to post about it but everyone else had and there were a few choice tweets that were just too good to not share, obviously I mentioned there would be spoilers on there so now I say there are spoilers galore in this post and the next so read on only if you’ve seen the film(s) or you like spoilers.

Long have I waited to see the final Star Wars film in the saga. And its rushed production issues, reshoots, script changes were its undoing.

To start with, I wanted to state that I have always been a huge fan of Star Wars. It is my childhood, my teenage years and now my adulthood. I grew up watching the originals on VHS tapes that we used to record of the TV. I even went to the cinema to watch The Phantom Menace and of course I watched the new trilogy films multiple times in the cinema. Star Wars is close to my heart and as much as I love the originals (prequels I do not like) I really liked the new characters and the story of the newer films. I was devastated by TROS. My immediate opinion was that the film was entertaining (mostly) and apart from the abomination of an ending, it could be saved but after a second watch, I have decided that, for me, the film is clearly a mess.

The film has been plagued by reshoots, last minute script changes and rumoured test screenings with Disney folk, this has all been confirmed by cast members, crew and yes in the media. This was a production that was cowering under the weight of its own gravitas. Heavy is the head that wears the crown. There was also a rumour that there were several different endings which gives me hope that the better ending is somewhere and at the same time makes me nauseous as this explains why the film, especially the end is a complete mess.

Some people out there have praised the film and JJ Abrams for his efforts saying that it wasn’t too bad after what he was left with after Rian Johnson. This infuriates as not only because The Last Jedi is the superior film and actually followed on from the previous, The Force Awakens, but also, JJ Abrams was also involved in making TLJ. He was executive producer as well as Johnson confirming that he and JJ discussed plot but as there was no end, yet, he worked from TFA. So, idiots of the galaxy, stop blaming Johnson for something that your precious JJ was involved with too. Johnson has been the voice of reason throughout this whole saga since his involvement. He has rightly said Catering to Fans, Rather Than Challenging Them, Is a ‘Mistake’ and has been nothing but a true filmmaker and gentleman throughout TLJ discourse that still rages across the internet. Someone on twitter even wrote a letter to Johnson asking for help and getting involved with Star Wars again and while its amusing there is so much truth in it. You can read it HERE.



From Disney’s point of view, they won’t take risks so when half the Star Wars loved TLJ and the other half hated it, they took no notice of the former. For them the whole point of TROS was to squash any greedy needy fanboys/girls out there who wanted nothing but fan service and no consistent story and just give them what they wanted. This film was to appeal to the masses AND the TLJ haters. But in doing so, they created an even greater divide, they didn’t get the peaceful end. They instead got more discourse and an uproar. They didn’t just end the film so terribly, but several characters were not given what they deserved. They also acknowledged quite a few fan fuelled ideas that came out of characters’ chemistry but didn’t act on it. Some of these naturally evolved with the story others were just ignored. Disney seemed to flat out refuse FinnPoe, even though this was known and loved by the actors and wasn’t just a passing comment, the fans wanted this. But Disney doesn’t take chances. Instead they make a huge deal about 2 second kiss between two women that can easily be cut out and sold to various territories. Ridiculous. Reylo was the other huge shipping but this, as I said, evolved from the story as well as the great chemistry between the actors. This actual pairing was a huge part of the story BUT JJ Abrams stammered to say that its platonic while in the script Rey and Ben Solo are named soulmates. JJ really doesn’t know what he’s talking about.



The way the trilogy was set up was that three different directors would take the reins of each film. JJ Abrams gave us TFA which was about introducing new characters, story and still paying homage the originals, fan service basically but it worked here. Rian Johnson gave us what we needed for the story to continue and to show that new ideas fuel new stories but in order to do so, you need to let the past go. What was then needed was a director who could give us a fulfilling ending while continuing the story and themes. BUT instead Disney and Lucas Films made the mistake of getting JJ back and then collectively ruin one of the greatest sagas in film history. How will they ever recover? 



The fact that this is the last film in the Skywalker saga doesn’t mean no more Star Wars films not by a long shot as Disney wants money above all things. But with how the film ended, I’m worries no will get closure on the glaring plot holes of TROS. The idea scenario would be new characters, new stories BUT Rey without Ben alone on Tatooine needs to be fixed or an alternative ending needs to resurface. With the amount of backlash over the film, this terrible end needs to be addressed. Through all the videos, posts, features, reviews and tweets the most consistent opinions I’ve seen about the film is that it’s a mess (not even kidding) that the ending was terrible and most of all, Ben Solo should have lived, he deserved so much better. This is a cry for resurrection or he’s trapped in the worlds between worlds or something. But THAT needs to be answered. And not by JJ who didn’t even know how the film was going to end until October this year. 



All this and I haven’t really got into the film yet.

If you can stand to read my writing any longer, I’ll be writing just about TROS next.

Monday 23 December 2019

Watch List 2019


This year, I keep saying it, has been an odd one for films, especially at the festivals. There has been notable ends to massive franchises, Avengers and now Star Wars, as well as some fantastic stories with women front and centre as well as films by women getting the praise they deserve. These are my films of the year, usually picked from what I've written about each month, but we all know I lapsed towards the end. I have included films from festivals as they were brilliant and I think count as a release in the UK. If you're wondering where Jojo Rabbit and Portrait of a Woman on Fire is, they come out next year so I'm afraid won't be included in this year.

This one crept up and made a huge impact on all comic book fans. Its the best comic book film I've seen, maybe even better than my beloved Guardians of the Galaxy. This Spider-Man film not only manages to side step some of the terrible films that came out, it even pokes fun at them. The fact that there are multiple universes and each one there is a Spider-Person must mean that there are multiple versions of all the Marvel characters. In this film, this is Miles' time to shine. The film introduces a new Spider-Man, passes the baton, gives him a worthy story to work with, gives him THE best mentor a would be hero could ask (Peter B. Parker perfectly cast/voiced by Jake Johnson) for AND even has time to introduce 4 other great Spider characters from multiple universes AND bring villain King Pin back to his original place, fighting Spidey as well make Dr Oct a woman voiced by the amazing Kathryn Hahn, literally all my dreams came true with this film. Story and characters aside, the film is brilliantly animated, making it look like a comic literally came to life, with the voiceover, speech bubbles, the black lines of the panels. This film is so brilliantly constructed, it shows up all the previous efforts, this film is pure comic book heart.
 
I first saw the trailer late at night while clicking through various posts and immediately regretted and was excited by it. Using a classic hip hop song to lure you in to the hellscape that await you - genius. A simple story at the core of the film, a family goes on vacation to the beach and are then terrorised by their distorted doubles, leaves so much room for the bigger issues being explored. Appreciating every aspect of the film and how much actual detail in the film is actually enjoyable, inbetween stuffing my mouth with my jacket to stop me yelling out in fear of course. The fact that Jordan Peele's horror film(s) are grounded in the horrific nature of human beings mkaes the horror feel much closer to home, even if a little bit of sci-fi is used to enhance the premise. With creepy twists and turns throughout as well as forehsadowing galore, its much more than I expected.

 So much has been said about Claire Denis' science fiction slightly horror toned drama where Robert Pattinson looks after a baby, at least that's putting it lightly. Death row inmates are given the chance to serve science by journeying into space to extract energy from a black hole. Aboard this particular ship is Dr Dibs, who is obsessed with making babies. She collectes sperm from the willing male inmates and tries to impregnate the female inmates. There is also the terrifyingly shot 'fuck box' which the crew uses to masturbate, all except Monte, nicknamed, the monk. Existence on the ship shifts from sedative induced nights to bleak days, some of the crew finds solace in the ship's garden, others stare into the vast space around them. The mystery unfolds of how Monte comes to be the only crew member left, plus a baby to care for but the true myteries are left unanswered. Such as why were they sent there, what crimes brought them to the ship (only two inmates' backgrounds are revealed) and are there more ships apart from the one with stray dogs? It's a science fiction peice of art that you can dwell on for days. Horror, is other people and the feeling that you're not in control seeps into the cracks of the ship and story and never really leaves you, as well as that damn 'fuck box'.

 An ode to being in the 8th Grade or in the UK, I think this is first year of secondary school. Captures exactly how it feels to be this age. I wrote all about how much I loved this film and everything its about HERE

Is it an origin story or is a slow burn thriller into the dark and dirty depressing side of comedy? Well maybe both. Its the film that caused the biggest discourse of the year. I wrote a long post on this one, so brace yourself, especially if you didn't like the film. Read it HERE

A brilliantly scripted story about two best friends and one night where they want to prove they are fun as well as smart. My post about the film is HERE.

This was my favourite film from EIFF and its about a woman who really can't be bothered to 'grow up', its superb. Really hoping this still gets a release in the UK. My review is over at VultureHound HERE.

Pedro Almodovar is back and he's back not with a vengence or comedy or thriller but a story very close to his heart, or at least it feels that way. Full review is over at Vulturehound HERE.



Jean Dujardin is Georges. He is obessesed with his deerskin jacket. What if his jacket was the only one in the world? Armed with a video camera, a plastic poncho and a ceiling fan blade, he can make that dream come true. The full review is over at Vulturehound and can be read HERE.


Two best friends, one writer, one party connoisseur, live in Dublin drinking their way through life, until one starts to look at their live without the ‘fun’ filter. I wrote more about the film HERE.

Based the novel 'The Sopranos' taking us back to the 90s, a group of friends are let loose on the streets of Edinburgh before a school choir competition, all with similar things in mind, booze, boys and having fun. My full review can be read HERE on Zavvi.

Thursday 19 December 2019

There Is No Balance



 THIS IS NOT A REVIEW OF THE RISE OF SKYWALKER BUT THERE MAY BE SPOILERS FOR OTHER STAR WARS FILMS.

I've been keeping away from writing about Star Wars as I think it would turn into a rant or it wouldn't be a rant and end up being a series of short venting posts about Star Wars and the fanbase and the fact that TLJ was really good and there some idiots out there that are being too precious about the films so I'll just go with this. 


 Having invested many hours and devotion to SW, I’m really worried this final film, as they’re calling it, in the saga, will disappoint. There have been stirrings that it will end up going the way of Game of Thrones. An amazing television show that completely lost its way in the final series. Everyone felt cheated. This time, it’s different in how the final instalment was conceived, in the wake of the backlash of ‘The Last Jedi’. It was either loved or hated and for the latter, they moaned and whinged about everything they could. These self-serving fanboys could potentially, only potentially as I haven’t seen The Rise of Skywalker, have ruined what could have been a great finale. What would have been superb is if Disney had listened to those who praised the film because there was just as many of those fans as there were doubters. As Rian Johnson said ‘catering to fans rather than challenging them, is a mistake’ and my gad, he’s right.

Bringing back Star Wars after the Prequels almost squashed and killed the memory of the originals, using CGI everything, was a very big risk. There may be a fanbase ready-made but as all comic book films can go by, these fans are demanding and if you disappoint them, they will try to take the system down. ‘The Force Awakens’ was a brilliant thrill ride that introduced new characters as well as providing nostalgic moments and paying homage to the originals all over the place. The story, the characters, the premise is set up and gets you ready for the adventure complete with a cliff-hanger, this is the perfect first film in a trilogy.  ‘The Last Jedi’ is a perfect second film. Looking back at trilogies, planned or otherwise, they serve as a turning point in the story or as a filler with the tagline ‘the journey/adventure continues’. ‘The Last Jedi’ is the turning point which fanboys should have seen coming. The story continues but along the way, there are casualties, there are revelations and again there are new developments and new characters because that’s what happened in the previous Star Wars films at this stage. If we had let the saga run the way it was meant to we could have a fantastic end but with the negative fanboy petty reactions I fear we are heading for a fan service trap. Early reaction also have me thinking this. As soon as the title of the final film was announced my heart sank to the bottom of the Sarlacc pit, ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ aka, what the ‘fans’ demanded. But true Star Wars fans don’t want fan service, they want to a story. The descriptions for the TROS have just had, Rey and friends continue their fight or something along those lines. THAT is not a final film plot, that’s a filler! TLJ set up the final film so well it’s ridiculous that this has happened. At this point I’m just hoping for decent enough.

I’m seeing the film on Friday with my best friend who loves Star Wars probably more than me, so hopefully we have something ‘decent enough’ to review. If not… may the force be with us all at this rate.

Dangerous Young Woman?


I just wanted to take a short moment to show some appreciate for an upcoming film that is exactly what I want to see at the cinema.

When the trailer dropped for ‘Promising Young Woman’ my first thought was; the book ‘Promising Young Women’ had been adapted already? But the slight difference of one letter made all the difference. This was not what I thought it was, it was something far more delicious.

A woman (Carey Mulligan) goes out every week, pretends to be drunk, completely out of it, waits for a ‘nice guy’ to come to her rescue and call him out on his s**t, basically. There is obviously a bit more to the story with how she was meant to become a doctor and past trauma hinted at which will all be revealed when the film is released in April but I for one, cannot wait for this film. Penned and directed by British filmmaker Emerald Fennell (you may know that name from ‘Killing Eve’ credits). She isn’t exactly an up and coming creative, as she has a fair few credits to her name but this is her feature film debut and I think I’m going to love her very much.

The story and film have been described as simple as ‘a ‘dangerous woman’ revenge thriller’ and this stuck with me. The subject is a woman ‘calling out’ men for their wrongful actions which apparently makes her dangerous? The rest of the story could legitimately be a revenge story but to call a woman dangerous because she catches so called nice guys who would assault drunken or vulnerable women is irritating. This might just be me who is annoyed by this irksome description but I wouldn’t say she was dangerous. We don’t see in the trailer after she reveals she’s not drunk what actually happens, just that she tallies them up in a notebook with either red or blue ink. The revenge thriller is usually saved for a woman who wronged and she seeks, well, revenge but this might have a different origin or slightly skewed one at least.

It premieres at Sundance Film Festival in January and released in April so who the hell knows if that means in the UK as well or if we have to wait a billion months to see it, we’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, we can enjoy this fantastic poster.




Wednesday 11 December 2019

Good Cat Bad Cat



 As with most things, when you take a second look at something, you notice more about it. Of course, I’m talking about films more often than not, so when I re-watch a film I pick up on certain things that I missed the first, second, third, twelfth time I’ve seen it, especially if I only watch the film once a year. Getting through all my Christmas favourites, ‘Batman Returns’ was next on the list and as much as I love this film, watching it now, there were a few things that didn’t sit well with me and others that just baffled me.

‘Batman Returns’ is one of those rare ‘comic book’ films that doesn’t suffer from too many villains. Being a sequel to Tim Burton’s ‘Batman’ (yes I am phrasing it like that), there was pressure to have a great new villain to follow the Joker, what better way than with the Penguin. And Catwoman. And Max Shrek. The latter is obviously not one of the ‘big’ villains of the comic but he is a perfect non costumed villain to add into the mix as they are all connected in some way with a similar goal(s). After the Joker and before The Riddler and Poison Ivy, Penguin and Catwoman are great choices and cast to perfection. They each have their own story, their own agenda and never over crowd a scene. As I said, this is rare to have such a villain heavy film actually be any good.

The Penguin and Max Shrek are the true evil do-ers in the story and each get the end they deserve but Catwoman is the ambiguous almost anti-hero who switches from revenge seeker to damaged damsel not in distress. Her story is very clear, she’s the underestimated downtrodden career woman who doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere. But throw her out of a window and revive her with cats, she’s a whole new person, right? Catwoman is hinted at having 9 lives, like a cat supposedly does, but beyond that, all her skills she reveals when she’s in her costume. But from re-watching this film with a friend who kept saying ‘she’s crazy’ every time Catwoman did something, got me thinking.

Firstly, Selina Kyle was thrown out of a window of high building, luckily her fall was broken by a canvas shutter and so it didn’t kill her, so if she acts a little ‘crazy’ its understandable. The cats reviving her was just to add to the persona or to help her with a persona. Her somewhat manic behaviour when she keeps questioning herself throughout the rest of the film is because, she was always ‘Catwoman’ and it took a traumatic experience to reveal it. Those crazy skills she gets, back flips, whip moves, she always knew how to do all of this. Catwoman is who Selina really is but she’s not a malicious villain. She really only wants Batman out of the way because she wants to be her own hero. Selina only wants revenge on Shrek which again is understandable, he pushed her out of a window. Her constant mind games with herself aren’t really expanded to make room for Penguin on the campaign trail and driving Batman’s car around the city from his caravan. Its an amusing scene but more Catwoman would have been appreciated. Catwoman’s main crime was destroying Shrek’s store before she teamed up with Penguin to frame Batman. She didn’t want to hurt the Ice Princess and seems genuinely upset by her death, showing that she is not really a true villain.

Selina Kyle/Catwoman literally stands alone against all the male characters and is ‘killed’ by Batman, Penguin and Shrek. She even helps Batman in her way at the end. But her mysterious disappearing act at the end of the film isn’t just about her wanting to be left alone, she doesn’t want attention. I know she’s wearing a tight plastic onesie but that in no way means she wants attention. I think she just likes dressing up.

Michelle Pfeiffer is masterful in the role. She steals a scene by eating a bird and licking her costume and smudging her lipstick all over her chin and walks that line between dramatic and cartoonish, much like the other characters but she does it with a style you can’t take away from her. I do want to mention, at any opportunity, that having Christopher Walken in the film automatically makes this Batman film the best. He plays a terrible character but still makes me full of charisma and even upstages Micheal Keaton. I really want to find a gif of him saying ‘yawn’ at Bruce Wayne as its just brilliant. But this film really belongs to Catwoman and Pfeiffer, no matter how much Batman sits in the dark waiting for the signal to pop up.

Another thought I had was that now the world has seen ‘Joker’ and loved or hated it, I think Catwoman would be an excellent candidate for a character study. I also think Michelle Pfeiffer should play her again. I’d like to see what an older Catwoman is doing right now. Just a thought.


Thursday 5 December 2019

Returning to the Afternoon Movies


 On the 16th December 2013 I posted about 'The Amazing Mr Blunden' a classic British film from 1972. With itsd  own charm and weirdness about it, it used to be a film that my sister and I used to watch when we were very young. In fact this was one of the films that we had on a list, a list of films we thought no one else had heard of, at least people our age. There are several on there which we discovered to be films that everyone had seen and there still a few that remain unheard of.

The only connection to this festive season is that the opening scenes take place Christmas Eve but from there we are in glorious Spring time. For a brief summary, its all about the ghosts, the mansion and of course the mysterious man himself, Mr Blunden. 

With the release of a very special edition from Second Sight Films who have recently brough us the delightful 'Flight of the Navigator' back into our homes through its own special release, I have reviewed the film, in full, over at Vulturehoud which you can read HERE.

I also wanted to revisit my post from 2013 as I was still in the very early stages of finding my way writing wise and how I had pictured the blog to be. Honestly, its not my best, but its always good to look back and see how far you've come. But also, just for fun, HERE is the post. And if you want a real throwback, HERE it is from before I changed my blog name.




Monday 2 December 2019

Watch List: September/October/November


This Autumn has been a strange one, what with the job hunting, doing the whole of LFF and then dealing with the come down which happens every year. I see so many films crammed into a few weeks I need a break. However, there are still a few more reviews from that festival I want to post BUT these might have to wait until cinema release dates. Other than festival films, I haven't ventured out to the cinema much. Missed lots of films too. But these are the ones I've seen over the last 3 months outside of festivals.

SEPTEMBER

 After champion swimmer Matthias insults a reporter using a homophobic slur, he is suspended from competing again unless he apologies and coaches the male water polo team for the Gay Olympics. A highly unusual premise and with a host of great characters, this is more than just a feel-good sports film with an LGBTQA+ focus. This is a story about friendship and about supporting your team no matter what. A rather personal story from writer directors Maxime Govare and C├ędric Le Gallo, as the latter, who after he came out joined a water polo team just like in the film and felt a part of a community. Not sure if the team did or will get a wide release or whether it’ll get a DVD release at least. 4/5

Greta
Missed this one at the cinema and so glad I caught this on DVD release. I wrote about it in depth for Halloween which can be read HERE. 3/5

OCTOBER

Joker
I don't want to make you read any more than what I wrote HERE so there it is. 4/5

Shirkers
This was a documentary that had been in my Netflix queue since it was released. The mystery behind the disappearance of the feature film Sandi Tan and her friends made when they were teenagers and the man who had helped them but also disappeared was a mystery that had haunted director Tan. But as the story unfolds, home truths are told as well as how Georges Cardona had behaved with other people who he had ‘helped’. Comprising of a mixture of footage from the original film and interviews conducted decades later. The fact that everyone knows each other quite well, there is no holding back which gives the film and the story overall an extra added layer of truth despite the main mystery never being told, only speculation is left. 3/5

Brittany Runs a Marathon
 I wrote two posts for this, one from the Birds Eye View screening which can be read HERE and one review for Vulturehound. 4/5

The Laundromat
 I was surprised to see Steven Soderbergh ‘s latest suddenly arrive on Netflix and was eager to watch it BUT it comes across as less intellectual ‘The Big Short’ even with the natural charisma from Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas the film lacks a direction and instead feels like several different stories that don’t quite knit together and because of the subject just left me very angry and dissatisfied.  2/5

Apostle
As someone who tries to avoid horror films, I’m usually drawn in if it’s about cults, ghosts or is actually a psychological thriller. As ‘Apostle’ is a period piece set on an island and involves a cult that has kidnapped a wealthy woman and holding her to ransom, I’m going to be intrigued enough to watch it. Finding out that there is something far more disturbing in the barn and that there is a supernatural being, the guardian of the island, who is behind the cult like mannerisms, is horrifying and again, much better than I could have hoped for. A mixture of ‘hell is other people’ and ‘there’s something nasty in the woodshed’ vibe, I was surprised and honestly, scared. 3/5

I Do....Until I Don't
 I love Lake Bell. I loved her first feature BUT I couldn’t get into this story about an arrogant British filmmaker who wants to prove that marriage should be a 7-year contract which is open for renewal from both parties. She essentially wants to prove that marriage is dead. Then there are three couples, who have their own issues but overall love triumphs. The plot is all over the place and soon loses any connection, with everything being neatly tied up at the end and not really making much sense. I’m really hoping that her next film gets a proper release and is more like ‘In a World…’. 2/5

NOVEMBER

Doctor Sleep
 ‘The Shining’ is a film that rightly holds its status as one of the greatest horror films and a story I didn’t think needed a sequel but clearly creator Stephen King thought otherwise by writing about what grown up Danny would be like. Apart from being traumatised by events at The Overlook Hotel, he descends into drink and drugs and violence. His turn around and how he harnesses his ‘gift’ to help others feels genuine and it comes as no surprise that there are other kids just like him and that there is a beyond sinister group of people who hunt them. Rose the Hat is terrifying and is one of the best villains cinema has seen in a long time. Praying on children and torturing them, makes this a horror film but it also plays out like a thriller when Danny meets Abra, a young girl with great power. They work together to try and stop Rose the Hat as well as trying to find where they buried their last victim. With nods to Kubrick’s film, this is no nostalgia trip, but more like a last stand. 4/5

Support the Girls
 Set over one day, Lisa is the manager of one those sexist sports bars where they only hire girls and make them wear skimpy uniforms. I am not a fan of these kind of bars. However, this film not only humanises the staff, not to say that they aren’t but this is a flipside to how the staff work day to day along with all the bs they put up with. This is also another excellent example of Regina Hall just being brilliant. The more films I see with her in, the better. 4/5

Ideal Home
 This had been in my Netflix queue a long time. I had originally wanted to see this in the cinema BUT I don't think it got a proper cinema release which is criminal. Paul Rudd and Steve Coogan are a constantly bickering couple who work on a cooking show, Paul and Erasmus. Paul produces, Erasmus is the host. Their somewhat perfect life but by no means not perfect marriage is thrown a curve ball when Erasmus' grandson arrives and has to stay with them. The premise is not new but the characters and how they bond is brilliant. I enjoyed this far more than I thought I would. Very funny and equally frustrating, mostly because of Coogan's character. 4/5

Let it Snow
 My thoughts on this particular Christmas film can be found HERE.  3/5

One for the Money
 In all honesty, this film did not have my attention. I was bored after 10 minutes and I really didn't care what was happening. I thought the voiceover was completely out of place until I found out the film is based a popular book series. There was no chance this film would spawn a franchise. It gets the bare minimum because Sherri Shepherd is great and deserves better. 1/5


Sunday 24 November 2019

Obligatory Christmas Netflix Film


This was meant to start off as a quick round review of films from the past month but seeing as I haven't written a 'watch list' post since August, I'll save that for another time. I just wanted to write something new this week. My Star Wars writing flow hasn't begun yet.

This post also goes against my rule about 'no Christmas films until December 1st' but in my defence, for some reason, I didn't know the film was set on Christmas Eve. From the trailer it just looked like it took place over a few days during the Christmas break.

The Christmas (not holiday season, it’s the Christmas season) season usually kicks off late November BUT this year, all round everywhere was getting into the Christmas spirit or at least trying to force people into it in October. The blood, guts and ghosts had barely even been taken out for Halloween before everywhere had started with Christmas, it felt like Halloween was being shoved under the stairs this year, barely making a mark. My guess is that everyone is eager (like me) for this year to be over, so bring on Christmas. And that wouldn't be complete without the obligatory Christmas Netflix film, this year, its 'Let it Snow'.

Beginning and ending with a voiceover from Joan Cusack, as the supposed voice of reason (?) but really, she's a tow truck driver who wears tin foil and won't explain why, she only really interacts with one character so her role, even from the start, is odd. But I like Joan, so I'll let that one go. Its Christmas eve and various teenagers are going through various stages of angst. It’s snowing and the town looks like a wonderland BUT of course with snow there are snow storms so no many cars on the road, followed by a few accidents and reasons for Joan Cusack to pop and tow a vehicle. Rather than a blanket plot, the film is separated into vignettes, which is in some ways is good as it offers the chance of sweet moments but on the other hand, there is no momentum throughout the film. Having a teen film be this relaxed is unusual, there is no sense of 'this is the be all and end all' of nights, which makes this an easy going Christmas film you could have on in the background of a party, which is amusing to say seeing as there is a party at the end of the film.

The stories within the film are centred around couples and friendship but mainly about romance which is to be expected, this is a teen film, on the verge of being a different genre. We have the best friends who are obviously in love with each other, the girl who's super obsessed with finding out where her boyfriend is and her best friend who is trying to make her see she deserves better, then that friend's secret romance with 'I've got feelings for you' for a cheerleader, the guy who just wants to throw a party and the famous singer who happens to be in town alone who meets the girl who doesn't know whether to go to college or not. Out of all of these characters, DJ K*Pow$ is the most fun even though all he wants to do is impress another DJ by having a party.

With moments of sweetness, outweighing the blandness of the overall feeling of the film, the little tiny moments of comedy are welcome and actually start to make you enjoy the film despite the very obvious ‘messages’ it is sending and the very obvious ending for all the characters. As an incredibly easy watch, it doesn’t quite have the Hallmark touch like the previous Christmas Netflix films and wouldn’t fall into the terrible Netflix film category either where ‘The Kissing Booth’, ‘Sierra Burgess is a Loser’ and ‘Tall Girl’ live. It’s a safe Christmas feel-good film. Cannot stress that enough. But if it was going for a unique selling point, there’s no other film I know where Spiderman and (teenager) Dora the explorer make out, at Christmas or otherwise.


Tuesday 19 November 2019

Adoration - BFI London Film Festival


Young lovers on the run takes a very different form in Fabrice Du Welz’s latest dark tale of obsession and loss of innocence. With two enigmatic leads pushing the boundaries of how far someone is willing to go to protect the one they think they love. 

Full review is over at Zavvi HERE.

 #LFF
@BFI

Sunday 17 November 2019

Zombi Child - BFI London Film Festival


If you could get revenge on someone, would you? Even it meant crossing the barrier of life and death? Part family history, part horror, part coming of age (sort of) this story spans decades and goes beyond four friends and their secret society.

My full review can be read over at Zavvi HERE.

 #LFF
@BFI

Friday 15 November 2019

Bombay Rose - BFI London Film Festival


Beyond beautifully animated, this tragic tale of love, loss and being stuck in the past. Weaving in fairytale, the magic of cinema and the reality that's hard to esacpe.

My full review is over at Zavvi HERE.

 #LFF

Tuesday 12 November 2019

I Lost My Body - BFI London Film Festival


Its rare to find a story with such a bizarre and unusual point of view, as well as a story that captures what it feels like to be lonely but suddenly find a connection where you wouldn't expect. This animated story is of two halves, one told in flashbacks, the other a dangerous journey. A oddity with heart and hope.

My full review can be read on Zavvi HERE.

'I Lost My Body' will be on released on Netflix later this month.

 #LFF
@BFI

Monday 4 November 2019

Joker



I think the ‘Joker’ discourse has calmed down enough for me to write this, at least until awards season comes around and the up roar may start again, which it may or may not. Although from what I’ve seen, it will but from what I’ve read, it won’t. From the very first rumblings about the ‘Joker’ film being made there was excitement. With Todd ‘The Hangover’ Phillips at the helm I did lose interest ever so slightly as I really don’t like those damn hangover films, they’re terrible. But my love for Joaquin Phoenix trumps my dislike for him. As the story started to shape up with teasers and even more rumours, it all started up again. But once the film was show at Venice Film Festival, things go way out of hand. Not only did Film twitter explode but the media in general did too. And I thought ‘The Souvenir’ was going to be the film of discourse this year.

It’s clear that from the outset Warner Bros. knew they’d have to change things up as their DC Comics films weren’t going according to plan (except Wonder Woman). They decided to go down the ‘dark’ route and take an indie filmmaking approach to how they make their comic book films, so far, not a bad plan. The unpacking of the end result has been gone over multiple times by many people who love, hate, loathe, obsess over it and all have valid and interesting takes. Maybe it’s because I’m fed up with the discourse or maybe I really do like dark as hell films once in a while, not everything can be sunshine and roses, but I really loved this film. If you’re reading this is disgust at why I love this film, please save yourself the time and stop, but don’t finish reading this just to have a go at me. Please also do not take my love for this film as reason to think I think the people who didn’t like it missed a point or are wrong. I love this film BUT I can totally understand why others don’t. Some of my fellow writers who did/didn’t like the film have taken some abuse online for their opinion. It’s not respectful and downright inhumane, don’t be THAT person. At the end of the day, it’s a film and we all are allowed to have a difference of opinion. Discussion or debate are fine, that’s part of the fun of writing/talking about film but abuse will not be tolerated.

As an origin story, it fits quietly and comfortably within the DC world. With enough open references to Batman and its characters, the story is not burdened down with making sure that it ticks boxes and able to concentrate on the hideous and brilliantly executed transformation of Arthur Fleck into what we know as the Joker. This film is a character study of a poor wretch that never fit into ‘normal’ society and never will. There are some other films of this nature that focus on someone as they go through hell and continue to go through pain and suffering and everyone just watches those films without blinking. But as this film is technically within the comic book universe and therefore a comic book film it is elevated and given a higher platform for people to see it. But people don’t like depressing films, at least not at this high level. They don’t want to see a grown man dressed as a clown being kicked on the floor leaving him crying and bleeding, and definitely not in IMAX cinemas they don’t.

As we all know, ‘The Joker’ is a supervillain, so an origin story would either evoke sympathy and we’d understand the character better as well as his intentions and motives however, as ‘The Joker’ isn’t meant to have an origin story, which is the beauty of the character itself, this film offers just one possible iteration of the character’s origin. All the previous Jokers have either just appeared or been given an origin, whether it’s been on screen or in the comics, Arthur Fleck is not the ultimate Joker, but he is a fascinating character. As well as exploration into this clown for hire, it is also a mystery as we find out where Fleck came from, who is parents are and why he is the way he is. It’s actually feels quite easy to pity the poor man but at the same time you would cross the street to avoid him as there is something not quite right about him. He gives off these dangerous vibes because he’s unnerving. But you sympathise with him, even after the turning point scene on the subway, you get swept up in the anger bubbling at the surface that turns into full blown madness by the end. But the moment you start to question whether you should be rooting for this character is when his fragile mind is questioned, when he enters his neighbour Sophie’s apartment and it’s revealed all the previous scenes with her in are in his mind. Fleck is an unreliable protagonist which means the entire story and how it plays out can be questioned. But this is truly what makes him a perfect Joker. He’s dangerous, yes but the fact you don’t really know what’s going on just makes this story even better as the Joker’s way has always been, chaos.

There are several outstanding moments, a particular favourite of mine being Fleck dressed in a red suit, full make up, dancing on the stairs to THAT song, but the scene on the Murray Franklin show, which is what half the film was leading up to. With several nods to Scorsese films through Fleck and the fact that he loves talk show host Murray, we all knew what was coming even with the misleads and if we’re all honest, we wanted this scene to happen. When I tell people I liked the film, not only because I think Phoenix is true genius actor and even after the film will be underrated, I say I liked this film for the wrong reasons. The film goes to dark hideous places and plays out things I would never do and throughout Fleck’s personal discoveries you really want to go ‘full Joker’ that’s why you came to watch the film right? Or did you watch the film just so you could say it was terrible? If Fleck had just carried on with his miserable little life and did nothing and watched someone else become the Joker, would that have been better? No. We all know Fleck becomes Joker, but we get see HOW he evolves into this human manifestation of chaos and someone who just wants to watch the world burn. He also may have a reason to want that but as we only know him has the villain, this is where you can if its nature or nurture situation, or in Fleck’s case, both. We meet him as a victim but we leave him as the villain, but what I think he was always a villain, just waiting to come out.

If ‘Joker’ had been called something else or had barely hinted that it was part of the DC Comics/film universe, I wonder if the response would have been different. If the film hadn’t been given a Hollywood marketing budget, would people have gone to see it as much as they did? I believe that half the audience who went to see the film wanted to see a ‘comic book’ film and the other half heard about the discourse and wanted to see what the fuss was about. I was excited from the minute Phoenix’s name was attached to the film and loved the trailer. This was not going to be like other films, that much was guaranteed but since the film’s rise in controversy, the film has lost a bit of its soul. If you’re wondering how that is possible and what that even means, I see it that films are sometimes treated liked the animals of Animal Farm by George Orwell. All films are released equal (as in no one has seen them) but some films are more equal than others. Thin analogy, I know. Circumstances surrounding the release and the reaction have all been orchestrated and if things had gone slightly different, I wouldn’t be writing this long-winded post.