Saturday, 30 December 2017

The 2017 Figment Reviews Awards

Each year I try and do something a little different. An alternative award list with some awards that probably aren't politically correct, but hey-ho. Who gives a shit. A lot of these awards are named after in-jokes and references, but they should mostly make sense. Also, all these awards are based on UK release dates. I know a lot of these films are technically 2016 releases for some people. Huge spoilers too.

The "I Now Know Why You Cry" Award
AKA: Saddest Moment

Nominations:
Logan - Wolverine's Death
War for the Planet of the Apes - Caesar's Death
La La Land - Fools Who Dream
Okja - Every Scene of Animal Cruelty
The Florida Project - Child Protective Services


Winner:


Logan

Was it going to be anything else? Huge Jacked Man's 17 year run as Wolverine come to an end in the most violent and emotional way possible. He's mortally wounded while fighting a raged clone of himself then dies holding his daughter's hand and says "So that's what it feels like". Perfect. Bonus points for the use of the cross turning into an X.



The "Gravy to My Ears" Award
AKA: Best Soundtrack

Nominations:
T2 Trainspotting
Baby Driver
Atomic Blonde
La La Land
Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2


Winner:


Baby Driver

I was torn between this and T2 Trainspotting, but Edgar Wright's action, musical comedy just about wins it out with its varied use of music new and old. Plus, I've listened to the soundtrack near enough every day since the first day I saw it.


The "That Also Sounds Like Gravy" Award
AKA: Best Score

Nominations:
Logan
Dunkirk
Raw
John Wick: Chapter 2
It
Blade Runner 2049
The Foreigner



Winner:


Dunkirk

My main man Hans Zimmer at it again with Christopher Nolan. Could listen to that ticking clock all day. 


The "Feast for Thine Eyes" Award
AKA: Best Looking Film

Nominations: 
Logan 
T2 Trainspotting
Atomic Blonde
War for the Planet of the Apes
Blade Runner 2049
Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
John Wick: Chapter 2
Ghost in the Shell
The Florida Project
Star Wars: The Last Jedi



Winner:

Blade Runner 2049

There's no question Blade Runner would win this. Every frame of this masterpiece is a goddamn work of art. There were some good looking films this year, but nothing came close to the beauty of Blade Runner 2049.


The "Just How I Like my Bacon" Award
AKA: Hottest Woman

Nominations:
Charlize Theron - Atomic Blonde
Lily James - Baby Driver
Garance Marillier - Raw
Cara Delevingne - Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Elle Fanning - 20th Century Women
Daisy Ridley - Star Wars: The Last Jedi




Winner:

Elle Fanning - 20th Century Women

I'd be lying if I said Elle Fanning smoking cigarettes and making orgasm noises wasn't one of my favourite things of the year.



The "Waste of Money" Award
AKA: We Put Too Much Money Into Trying to Jump-start a Franchise and Failed Miserably

Nominations:
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Assassin's Creed
Power Rangers
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets



Winner:

Power Rangers

I never expected to enjoy Power Rangers in all honesty, but I at least expected something fun out of it, instead what I got was something more in line with the abysmal Fantastic 4 film from 2015, rather than the recent G.I. Joe films. A complete misfire on every level, including an embarrassing performance from Elizabeth Banks.


The "That's a Damn Good Action Scene" Award
AKA: Best Action Scene

Nominations:
Logan - Attack on the Compound
Atomic Blonde - Stairway Fight
John Wick: Chapter 2 - Art Gallery Showdown
Baby Driver - Hocus Pocus Chase
Kingsman: The Golden Circle - Finale



Winner:


Baby Driver - Hocus Pocus Chase

Baby Driver is filled with memorable action scenes, but the foot chase set to Hocus Pocus by Focus is by far the highlight. A perfect scene of kinetic energy and genius sound editing. Never stop, Edgar Wright.

The "Just Fucking End Already" Award
AKA: The Film that Was Way Too Long

Nominations:
Transformers: The Last Knight
Baywatch
Power Rangers
Kingsman: The Golden Circle



Winner:


Transformers: The Last Knight

Despite being shorter than Michael Bay's last monstrosity of a Transformers film, The Last Knight still clocks in at an absurd 150 minutes of mind-numbing stupidity that made me want to die.

The "Thank God it's Not a Remake, Sequel or Reboot" Award
AKA: Best Original Film

Nominations:
Baby Driver
Raw
La La Land
Get Out
Colossal
A Cure for Wellness
The Florida Project



Winner:

The Florida Project


The Florida Project is unlike anything you'll see this year. A quiet, funny and heartbreaking look at the backdrop of Disneyland Florida. I really can't stress enough that you should seek this out and see. It's one of the most wonderful things I've seen in a while.

The "Netflix Films are Mostly Garbage" Award
AKA: Worst Netflix Original Film

Nominations:
Iboy
Sandy Wexler
Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie
Naked
Little Evil


Winner:

Iboy

Iboy really was as stupid as its title and premise was. A boy's phone explodes in his head and he gets Watch Dogs like powers. God help us all.


The "What the Fuck? Netflix Finally Made a Good Original Film since Beasts of No Nation" Award
AKA: Best Netflix Original Film

Nominations:
Okja
To the Bone
I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
Small Crimes
Death Note
Wheelman


Winner:

Okja

I never saw Okja coming. The trailers looked weird, but I was intrigued, an extremely effective and sweet pro-vegetarian film that actually feels like a cinematic film from Netflix. My biggest regret was not being able to see this in a cinema.

The "I Want to Die" Award
AKA: The Film That Emotionally Drained Me (for the wrong reasons) the Most and Made me Want to Die

Nominations:
Transformers: The Last Knight
Fifty Shades Darker
Iboy
The Belko Experiment 
The Emoji Movie


Winner:

Transformers: The Last Knight

It wasn't going to be anything else. For all the reasons I listed before, The Last Knight is another putrid piece of "Entertainment" from the man-baby mind of Michael Bay. Fuck everyone involved with this garbage.

The "What the Fuck Did I Just Watch?" Award
AKA: The Most Batshit Insane Film I've Seen All Year

Nominations:
Unforgettable
The Boss Baby
The Book of Henry
mother!

Winner:

The Book of Henry

Words cannot describe The Book of Henry, a film so terrible, misguided and tonally wrong it has to be seen to be believed. Whether you're in shock or just laughing at it, you will have a good time with it.


The "Oh, Jeez. I Wanted to Love That" Award
AKA: Biggest Disappointment

Nominations:
Free Fire
It Comes at Night
Alien: Covenant
The Snowman


Winner:

The Snowman

The Snowman should have been excellent, a brutal and compelling crime-thriller with an always fantastic Michael Fassbender. Instead we got one of the weirdest messes of the year, a barely above TV film quality film with strange editing choices and one of the razziest performances of the year from Val Kilmer. Shame.


The "Oh, Jeez. I Didn't See That Coming" Award
AKA: Biggest Surprise

Nominations:
The Lego Batman Movie
Split
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Okja
Gifted
Miss Sloane
Ghost in the Shell
Life
A Cure for Wellness
Detroit
The Florida Project
The Disaster Artist


Winner:

The Disaster Artist
I never expected The Disaster Artist to be an genuinely good as it ended up being. A film about the making of the worst film of all-time focused around one of the strangest enigmas to ever come to Hollywood. Somehow it all works, a funny and heartfelt tribute to the creative process with a career best performance from James Franco.


The "Comeback" Award
AKA: Something Good From Someone Who Went Through a Period of Shitness

Nominations:
M. Night Shyamalan - Split
Arnold Schwarzenegger - Aftermath
Spider-Man - Spider-Man: Homecoming
DC - Wonder Woman


Winner:

DC - Wonder Woman


Wonder Woman was a very short lived victory for DC and Warner Brothers, despite looking to finally be on track with the first proper female led superhero film, they managed to completely fuck it a few months later with the release of Justice League. I'll give them this though, Wonder Woman is a hopeful and vibrant film and possibly the best film DC has released in their new universe. 


The "Choose Nostalgia" Award
AKA: The Most Nostalgia Put in One Film

Nominations:
T2 Trainspotting
La La Land
The Lego Batman Movie
Beauty and the Beast
The Disaster Artist


Winner:


T2 Trainspotting
Trainspotting 2 had a lot going against it before it was released, it could have been a blatant rehash of the original, but instead what we got was a heartfelt tribute to nostalgia. Despite these characters going in new directions, they look into the past and nearly every iconic moment from the first is referenced. It's something that shouldn't have worked, but it somehow did. Making it one of my favourite films of the year and I honestly wouldn't mind seeing these characters again in the future.


The "The Fuck Just Happened?" Award
AKA: Worst Editing

Nominations:
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
Transformers: The Last Knight
The Bye-Bye Man
Kidnap


Winner:

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
The misleadingly titled final entry into the Resident Evil film series had potential to be dumb fun at the very least, but instead it's one of the most broken and confused films in the series. The action is incomprehensible and impossible to follow. Characters die and we don't even know who it was. I spent the whole run-time scratching my head wondering what was happening. 

The "We Don't Have Kick-Ass 3, but we Got This Shit Instead" Award
AKA: Worst Sequel

Nominations:
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
Transformers: The Last Knight
xXx: Return of Xander Cage
Fifty Shades Darker


Winner:

Transformers: The Last Knight
I have nothing left to say about this garbage film.


The "Fucking Oscar-Bait Bullshit" Award
AKA: Most Blatant and Offensive Oscar-Bait

Nominations:
Hidden Figures
Detroit
Patriot's Day
Fences
Miss Sloane

Winner:

Hidden Figures
This feels like a weird film to pick on, but nothing about Hidden Figures worked for me. I found it to be a lame and cringe-worthy biopic that was more interested in trying to win awards than tell its interesting story. Safe, crowd-pleasing bullshit.


The "They're Not Friends, They're Family" Award
AKA: Most Absurd use of the word "Family"

Fate of the Furious
Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2
Baywatch
Power Rangers

Winner:

Fate of the Furious
Fact: If you spend more than 40 minutes with Dominic Toretto, he will consider you "Family", if even you murder his friends.

The "Pure Cinema" Award
AKA: Good or Bad, This is Cinema in its purest form

mother!
Dunkirk
Moonlight
Baby Driver
The Florida Project
A Ghost Story
The Disaster Artist


Winner:

mother!
mother! is one of the riskiest studio horror films ever made. A film made to divide audiences, a film that the stupid mainstream would hate purely for not letting them understand it. For better or worse, mother! is pure expressionistic vision put on screen with no compromise. It's pure cinema. 


The "That's Entertainment" Award
AKA: The Film That was Most Fun to Watch

Baby Driver
Fate of the Furious
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2
American Made
John Wick: Chapter 2
The Disaster Artist


Winner:


Baby Driver
Baby Driver is pure entertainment, an endlessly re-watchable ride that gets more fun with each watch. I know I'll be watching this on repeat till the day I die. 



That is all. Thanks for reading. I'm open to more suggestions for stupid awards. God bless and happy new year.

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Thursday, 21 December 2017

Die Hard (1988) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written December 20th, 2016*

"Merry motherfucking Christmas"

What is there to say about Die Hard that hasn't already been said? It's the perfect action, it's the perfect Christmas film. It's quite possibly the best film of the '80s. Which is an astonishing achievement considering it's the same decade that had Lethal Weapon and Commando to compete with, but Die Hard comes in at the top. It's a sharp, tight and fast-paced action film that changed action cinema forever.

John McClane is the every man. A normal cop coming to LA to reconcile with his estranged wife and see his kids at Christmas. What works so well is that John McClane is a human. He's a vulnerable person who gets hurt. He's not an '80s bullet-shield of sociopathic tendencies (We have to wait 4 sequels for that).


Willis brings the charisma and marks himself as a definitive action star, giving us a lead who's charismatic and cocky, yet vulnerable and has heart. It's amazing to see how far this character has come in 28 years. With the last 2 films in the Die Hard series, he's a shadow of his former self and more in line with a superhero than a New York City cop.

Alan Rickman is also amazing as Hans Gruber, one of the best villains in cinema history. A slimy and ruthless, yet lovable terrorist who is actually nothing more than a thief. This is all helped by a sharp script that is insanely well written. Every character is rounded and has some depth. The chemistry with Willis and Bonnie Bedelia works and feels real, bring a heart to the film that gives the ending a heartwarming feel that very few Christmas films manage to give me.

That's another thing. Die Hard is a Christmas film. I don't give a shit what you say. Not only is Die Hard a Christmas film, it's also the greatest Christmas film of all time. It's entirely subjective as to what counts as a Christmas film for you, but I think it can be best summed up as "A film that feels weird to watch outside of Christmas". And for me, Die Hard does. Watching it any other time of year just feels... wrong.


As an action film Die Hard is pure perfection. I really, really miss films like this. No bullshit CGI nonsense, just practical effects and beautiful blood squibs. I love every death in this film. The way Takagi's head explodes with brain matter splatting on the window? Gorggggeeeeousssss. Today's directors should really take note of what Die Hard did, there have been some fun, but pale imitations of Die Hard. Hell, "Die Hard" is a term used a sub-genre of action anyway, but people are really missing the point.


So that's Die Hard. One of the best action films of all-time, the best Christmas films of all-time and one of the best films of all-time. Pure perfection in every way. Goddamn, motherfucking art.

10/10 Dans (Rewatch)

Die Hard is out now on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK
Watch the trailer below:

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Thursday, 14 December 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written December 14th, 2017*

*Spoiler Free*

"This is not going to go the way you think"

It feels weird that we're already at the end of 2017 and all the biggest films of the year already out (In the UK at least, some December Oscar contenders we don't get till January/February). At least Star Wars is a huge note to end it on, the continuation of the new trilogy J.J. Abrams started back in 2015. It's been a long wait for answers raised by this new set of films in the saga, and they mostly get answered, but not how you'd expect.

For all my criticisms about The Last Jedi (Which I'll get to), you can't call the film predictable or formulaic. This is unlike any Star Wars film before it, while still fitting nicely into the overall series. All the complaints that Force Awakens was simply a rehash of A New Hope are completely thrown under the bus here. There are some allusions to Empire Strikes Back (The tone is darker and the stakes are the highest they've ever been), but the film has its own unique take for the series. I wouldn't say Rian Johnson did a better job than J.J., but he comes damn close at times.

I'll get to my favourite stuff first. Daisy Ridley as Rey is still an infinitely likeable an strong character who goes through an excellently compelling arc as she's trained in the ways of the force by Luke Skywalker. Mark Hamill has a much more expanded role here as he reluctantly trains Rey. He's a broken, hallow shell of the Luke Skywalker we remember, he's also given the heartbreaking and emotional core of Last Jedi. Every scene focusing on Rey, Luke and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) are by far the best parts of Last Jedi. Not that the rest is bad, it's just every scene without them, I'd just wish it would go back to their story.


Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Isaac) and series newcomer Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) go on a separate adventure trying to find a hacker to disable a tracking device on the Imperial fleet. Nothing at all was bad, there was some great moments, but it just dragged things out. A long stretch in a sci-fi version of Vegas brings thing to a halt and just seemed to stretch out an already very long film. Boyega and Isaac are still excellent in their roles, Isaac is just effortlessly cool as the hotshot pilot, while Boyega's Finn still struggles with finding his place in the Resistance. Carrie Fisher delivers a very different Leia filled with hope and anchors some very emotional scenes, aside from one bizarre moment that feels like a fake-out and leads way to one of the weirdest looking scenes I've scene all year. Not weird in a good way, in a way where I didn't know whether to laugh or just be confused. I'm amazed anyone thought that was a good idea.

While Last Jedi takes a lot of risks to create something new, some moments really suffer from the lack of willingness to commit. They were a few highly built-up scenes where you think they actually had the balls to do something, but sadly, they fail to commit to it and the characters make it out safe. I'd be fine if it was just the one one, but they do it a few times. I was sadly reminded of The Walking Dead's annoying fake-out deaths, which is not a good sign.

Adam Driver continues to be the MVP of this new trilogy, a deeply disturbed and pure evil character that seems to be capable of good, but continues his path to the Dark Side while showing shades of the prequel trilogies Anakin (I mean that in a good way). Thank God Driver was in this to provide a good villain, as all the hype and build-up to Snoke amounted to a giant wet-noodle. Andy Serkis is completely wasted as a generic and uninspired throw-away bad guy that ultimately amounted to nothing. He could have fitted perfectly as a Marvel villain.



At least on the visual/audio side, Johnson creates an incredible spectacle for the eyes that opens up and expands the world of Star Wars. Near enough everything looks gorgeous and cinematic, the action is some of the best seen in the series, John Williams score soars and the sound design was incredible. I love the cinematography of these new Star Wars films, they are filled with so many beautiful moments. Nothing feels like an overpriced CGI mess, the mix of practical and CGI is wonderfully balanced and leaves a lasting impression. Of all the new creatures, the only one I had a problem with was those goddamn Porgs, they have their moments, but mostly just feel like annoying, overly cute creatures made to sell toys.

I sound a bit negative about The Last Jedi, but I really did like it a lot, it has a lot of problems, but that mostly doesn't take away from the enjoyment I had from it. I know I have a soft spot for Star Wars, but if you're a fan, I'm sure you're going to have a good time. A gorgeous, emotionally rich entry that's focused on character and spectacle while proving a 40 year old series still has the ability to surprise. I'm sure this will grow on me on rewatches, but for now I'll say it was great.

8/10 Dans (First time watch)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is out now in cinemas in the UK
Watch the trailer below:

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Thursday, 7 December 2017

The Disaster Artist (2017) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written December 7th, 2017*

"In Los Angeles, everyone want to be star"

The Room is a flash of demented, once in a lifetime genius created by one of the most fascinating people to ever grace the planet. A film based around the production of the film and the friendship between its creator and co-star was a hard thing to pull off, yet, somehow, James Franco pulled it off. Delivering one of the funniest and most heartfelt films of the year.

Let's get the strongest and most anticipated part out the way. James Franco. He completely loses himself in the role of the enigma that is Tommy Wiseau, a bizarre man with a mysterious background full of contradictory stories. 

Franco nails Wiseau's unique accent and mannerisms while managing to be both hilarious and a little sad and heartbreaking. If Franco doesn't at least get an Oscar nomination for his role, I will be outraged. Dave Franco also does a great job as Greg Sestero, an actor who gets sucked into Wiseau's Planet and becomes more and more disillusioned by his behaviour.


Franco does an excellent job as a director too. Setting up the complicated relationship between Wiseau and Greg Sestero. Greg being an aspiring actor in San Francisco who becomes fascinated by Tommy after seeing how fearless he is in an acting class. They quickly become friends and move to Los Angeles on Tommy's seemingly never ending supply of money. After having trouble finding acting jobs, they decide to fund their own film 'The Room' 

Greg and Tommy's relationship is easily the core of The Disaster Artist. Two people brought together by the dream of becoming an actor. It really is an ode to creativity and friendship. Sure, The Room was a disaster, but they tried hard to create a piece of art that people would enjoy, so in a way, they succeeded. 

Their road to making the film is not an easy one though, as Tommy's behaviour becomes more and more outrageous, controlling and a little bit unstable. He's clearly a very damaged and not right in the head person, making his a relationship with Greg seem more like something from Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master than your usual comedy.


While this is based on a true story, this is most definitely a comedy at heart, which it exceeds at incredible and might just be one of my favourite comedies of recent years. No question the best comedy of 2017 at the very least. Even among the drama and genuine poignancy on display, I laughed so much. Pretty much every word that came out of Franco's mouth was pure gold. Him as Wiseau is just an endlessly watchable creation.


The Disaster Artist is much more than just a film about the making of the best worst film of all time. It's a tribute to the creative process and following your dreams, being proud of what you've created, no matter what people think. The best comedy of 2017 with a ton of heart and possibly the best performance of James Franco's career.

10/10 Dans (First time watch)

The Disaster Artist is out now in cinemas in the UK
Watch the trailer below:

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Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Battle of the Sexes (2017) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written November 28th, 2017*

"Game on"

I'm always surprised by sports dramas. I personally find sports a painful chore to watch, repetitive and boring, but I understand there's plenty of interesting people behind these sports with stories to tell. Battle of the Sexes was a surprise in the best possible way. I'd only recently watched Little Miss Sunshine for the first time (Which I LOVED), so I was interested to see what that team would do with a sports comedy drama.

Battle of the Sexes tells the story of the famous tennis match between Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs, although it's about more than just a tennis match. It's about a landmark moment in history of pushing forward with equality for women in sport and just in general. Despite the '70s setting. It's still very much relevant today.

Emma Stone and Steve Carell shine in their roles. Carell plays such an insanely fun to watch and larger than life character as Bobby Riggs. A self proclaimed misogynist and pig on camera, but he brings a lot of depth to the role, showing him more than just a sexist asshole, but someone who is pretty damaged and just wants to be in the spotlight again.


Stone is also excellent as King, a woman fighting for equality and trying her hardest to train for this landmark match while balancing her messy private life. King really is the heart and soul of the film, her story is one that is immensely entertaining and easy to root for. I was surprised at how nearly unrecognisable Stone was in the role. It wouldn't shock me if she bagged at least another Oscar nomination out of this.

It might go through the motions a bit as a sports drama. There's the training montage, moment of doubt etc, but I can overlook that when I was so compelled by what I was seeing. Everything just clicked for me. Including some extremely funny moments, usually at the expense of Carell's stealing the show.

I was pleasantly surprised at just how little tennis there was in the film. It's mostly all about character, while the only real extended play of the tennis is the titular Battle of the Sexes at the end. That's when I really love sports film, when the sport takes a backseat and they focus on character and being a two hour film, the two leads were able to be fully explored and made us care for them, despite the inevitable outcome. 


Battle of the Sexes is one of my favourite sports films in a long time. A character focused showcase of Emma Stone and Steve Carell's acting with just enough heart and humour without being overbearing and overly sentimental. Please support films like this.

9/10 Dans (First time watch)

Battle of the Sexes is out now in cinemas in the UK
Watch the trailer below:

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Suburbicon (2017) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written November 28th, 2017*

"Suburban life"

Suburbicon is an odd film of two halves, some of it is very good when it wants to be, while the rest of a big mess of muddled ideas that rarely come together to make a great film. It's a weird mix of a crime mystery, black comedy and a drama about race. It's certainly interesting to watch and held my attention, but I just couldn't help but feel a little more work on it could have made for a truly good film.

It feels like a Coen Brothers film (It was written by them), but George Clooney is no substitute for them as a director. He has a decent visual eye to make a nice looking film, but when it comes to balancing a film of many ideas, none of it comes together massively well. He does have an attention for detail in terms of the satirical period setting of the fictional suburban haven of 'Suburbicon'. 

I really liked some of the ideas here. A perfect suburban family in the 1950's are put on the radar of two loan sharks for the mob after Gardner (Matt Damon) gets in trouble and things spiral out of control for him. In the background of all this, a black family move into Suburbicon and the entire town is in an uproar.


If that sounds out of nowhere, that's because it is. These two stories never meet up or connect with each other. It's bizarre. There was potential here for a satirical drama about a family moving into an all white, racist and backwards haven for white people, which could have been an entire film in itself. Instead it's a few random shots shoved in the background of this crime mystery. It was so weird.

I will at least say that the crime mystery at the forefront of Suburbicon is actually pretty decent. Matt Damon was such a strange character that you slowly learn to find out is a psychopath. It helped I had no idea where this was going, making for a fun ride with some surprises. Like most Coen Brothers films, it does get violent and grizzly out of nowhere towards the end. There's some really funny moments of pitch black comedy too.

Oscar Isaac steals the show in his brief scenes as a claims investigator. I was surprised to see him feature so heavily in the trailers, as his appearance amounts to nothing more that a couple of scenes. Julianne Moore was also fantastic in her duel roles, basically walking straight from her role in Kingsman: The Golden Circle. I just wish there were a few more memorable characters thrown in. The two villains were largely forgettable and not very interesting.


Suburbicon is a mess of ideas that amount to an entertaining and watchable film that's not sure what it wants to be. I feel there's a genuinely great film here after a few more edits.

6/10 Dans (First time watch)

Suburbicon is out now in cinemas in the UK
Watch the trailer below:

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Sunday, 26 November 2017

Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) - Film Review


Review:

*Originally written November 26th, 2017*

"I was wrong"

If I have anything to be proud of, it's my ability to admit when I'm wrong. I've seen Bram Stoker's Dracula a few times now and I hated it with each watch. I'd even considered it one of my most hated films of all time. Then I rewatched it today, and I loved it? I'm not sure what happened, but everything clicked for me. This a gorgeous looking, terrifying and creative Gothic horror. 

Honestly, the set-production and visual effects are awesome. LOVED everything with the shadows, the way blood sprayed, the lighting, it looked awesome. I don't know what I smoking the other times I watched this. I'm sure I'll grow to love it more with each watch though.

If there's one problem, it's easily the casting of Keanu Reeves. Reeves is a guy who can act well when he wants to, especially within the realm of action films. Here, he is completely out of his depth. Delivering some of the worst line deliveries I've seen and sporting an outrageous accent. I love Reeves, but he's severely miscast here.


Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins fare much better here. Oldman is terrifying as Dracula, helped by some really disturbing makeup and design (His hair still looks like a pair of boobies or Will Ferrell in Zoolander though). Hopkins delivers a surprisingly fun performance filled with charm and a dry sense of humour. A far cry from whatever that Hugh Jackman film was (Must revisit that at some point). 


Bram Stoker's Dracula is just proof that some films need to be revisited frequently until you finally love it. A gorgeous Gothic horror that I cannot wait to revisit and/or hopefully see in a cinema one day. Looks like there's hope for 2001 and a few other classics I hated yet.


8/10 Dans (Rewatch)

Bram Stoker's Dracula is out now on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD in the UK
Watch the trailer below:

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Monday, 20 November 2017

Justice League (2017) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written November 20th, 2017*

"Assemble"

My expectations for Justice League were never that high to begin with. The road for the DCEU has been rocky at best with a few bright spots like Wonder Woman, but then lows like Suicide Squad (It gets worse with every watch). It's a shame that all of DC's heroes have come together in such a messy fashion in a film that's as boringly simple as it is incoherent at times. If that makes sense.

It seems Snyder has not learned from his criticisms of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Tonally, the film is all over the place. Murky, ugly coloured cinematography then some quips shoved in place to try and balance it. It has no idea what it wants to be. I can only imagine the worst quips come from the talentless hack Joss Whedon, a man who seems to only know how to write in quips. Seriously, Avengers: Age of Ultron is basically Big Bang Theory: The Movie.

At the very least, Justice League does have some very funny moments, mostly at the expense of The Flash, who is played with a sort of awkward charm and sense of childlike wonderment from Ezra Miller. There's the odd lame line that doesn't work, which adds to the tonal mess of the film.


Most of the Justice League do get their moments to shine. Gal Gadot is still excellent as Wonder Woman, bring the humanity to the team. Affleck is still solid is Batman, but they sadly go a different direction with him that they established in BVS. I like Affleck as Batman, but I wish they kept the brutality they led with. The worst off from the team by far is Cyborg, such a bland and ugly character, made worse by such poor CGI. Jason Moama's Aquaman was a pleasant surprise, a functioning alcoholic rock-star who was actually quite bad-ass. 

For such an expensive film, it is outrageous how poor a lot of the special effects are. Nothing feels real or genuine. The designs are poor and the green screens are trash. Every time The Flash uses his powers are some of the worst looking things I've seen all year. The action has moments of fun throughout. Lots of that Snyder slow-motion, so much of it. It's stylish, if a little hollow.

A lot of this film feels hollow. The stakes are low and the villain is poor, a common problem of superhero films and it just lacks any real surprises in general. Everything goes exactly how you'd expect it to go. The Justice League is formed, the bad guy is defeated and everything is okay in the end. It's boring and I'm just pretty sick of it. I won't spoil it, but even Superman's return was exactly how I expected it. At least they solve that "Lois is the key line" from BVS.

Danny Elfman's score is completely forgettable. To the point not a single track stood out. There's some use of familiar themes from previous Batman and Superman films, but nothing new left anything close to a lasting impression. I wish Junkie XL or Hans Zimmer did some work on this. 


Justice League really could have used some work and been made longer, which is not a thing I usually say. Every single side character is wasted. I'm not entirely sure why J.K. Simmons Commissioner Gordon was even in this film. The same problem with Amy Adams or Amber Heard, no one was given enough screen time justify even being in the film. I can only bet there's an "Ultimate" or extended edition of this film coming out on Blu-ray, it really could have done with more.


If Wonder Woman was a step in the right direction for the DCEU, then Justice League is a step back. A bland, generic blockbuster that's watchable and has its moments, but lacks anything close to original or unique. A real disappointment.

5/10 Dans

Justice League is out now in cinemas in the UK
Watch the trailer below:

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