Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Ten 2019 Movies Summarised in Ten Words Each

Let’s do this again, hopefully not for the only time in 2019. Ten movies, ten words each. In general I’ve really enjoyed the movies I’ve seen this year, from the family-targeted fare to the unusually gigantic superhero action, with a Netflix debut thrown in. There’s much more to come but the year has already made quite an impression.

And get ready for some really colourful movie posters. Man, Hollywood has stepped up their saturation game recently.

Very mild spoilers may follow.
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How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Doesn’t beat Number 2 but the closing scenes are devastating.”

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Mary Poppins Returns

Somehow gets away with being both a sequel and remake.”

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Ranking All the Marvel Movies (Again)

So a long time ago on this blog I posted a ranking of my favourite Marvel Studios movies, back when there were only 10 out in the wild and the idea of a proper shared cinematic universe was fresh and exciting. Time moves so fast nowadays that we’ve already blown right past 20, and while the MCU is now a household term with more familiarity around it, the films that have released since are also more confident and the average quality level is arguably higher. With a rather clear sense of finality hanging over the upcoming Avengers: Endgame, I’ve been rewatching a bunch of Marvel films to refresh myself – with the ultimate goal of having watched each film available on Blu-ray at least twice overall – and so a list refresh is also in order. This is all expressly my opinion, of course.
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21. The Incredible Hulk

This may be the bottom of the list, but let it not be said that I didn’t enjoy re-watching The Incredible Hulk regardless. I don’t believe that any MCU movie is outright bad, after all. If you pretend Ed Norton is Mark Ruffalo it kinda still works. Once upon a time I looked at this particular story as the less exciting of the two modern Hulk movies (the other being Ang Lee’s utterly bizarre 2003 Eric Banner-led Hulk), and nowadays it still looks more unnecessarily self-serious and grim than almost every other Marvel movie. But because it does so without that colour-washed filter a lot of other Marvel movies use, the majority of the film still stands apart with a grainy-yet-saturated grime. Every scene in Brazil is a surprisingly vivid delight as a result – though the bombastic finale’s reliance on a bucketload of dated shades-of-grey CGI makes it a bit cringey to watch nowadays, not to mention hard to follow. Liv Tyler is a polarising performer at the best of times but I don’t like her in this movie, though Tim Roth makes for a fun, believable villain. There are more wider MCU connections here than you might remember – including an important final shot – but it’s still the black sheep of the Marvel Studios output.

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Best of 2018: Top 10 Movies

We’re here at the end already – 2018 is a wrap! I thank you once again for reading – This has been an exhausting but hugely rewarding fortnight of opportunistic writing and the engagement I’ve seen has helped make it all worthwhile. On to the final list.

We return to a Top 10 format for movies – the default I would usually prefer to have. I saw just over twice that amount in the cinemas this year, so fewer than in 2017 but still much more than some years I’ve made myself form a Top 10. I’m pretty happy with this list, as despite its rather heavy comic book movie flavour I feel like it effectively filters out all the so-so movies that I otherwise might have felt a bit iffy about including (most of them from the first half of the year). Not being able to see any of the Boxing Day movies in time sucks, but what can you do. Please enjoy this final list of 2018!

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VR BEST OF 2018 DISCLAIMER

This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. If you actually agree with me 100%, that’s odd, but let’s have a beer. Respectful disagreement is most welcome.

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10. Deadpool 2

Comedy movie sequels tend to have spotty track records – though comic movie sequels usually fare a bit better – so Deadpool 2 was up against it from the start. Luckily, the decision to put the vastly increased budget this time around towards a flood of fun new characters and much bigger action beats helps distract from the slight staleness of the central joke that fuels the lead character’s appeal. With a host of enthusiastic performances and at least three standout scenes (the air drop, the truck chase and the post-credits), Deadpool 2 is a worthwhile second outing for Ryan Reynolds’ fever dream.

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Best of 2018: Top 10 Movie Scenes

In stark contrast to yesterday, here’s a list where my options seemed to overflow. 2018 had some pretty neat and creative cinematic sequences worth singling out.

In the age of the Marvel super-blockbuster, we have not just one but two post-credits scenes on here, but also two clever and unique opening scenes to go nicely with them. The overall balance this year is more in favour of uplifting, funny and/or cool over stressful or scary – I don’t know how much of that can be attributed to my taste and how much is related to the kinds of movies that came out this year with hype or interest around them. Anyway, here’s the (spoiler-filled) list.

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VR BEST OF 2018 DISCLAIMER

This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. If you actually agree with me 100%, that’s odd, but let’s have a beer. Respectful disagreement is most welcome.

Big spoilers ahead!

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10. Opening Titles – Upgrade

It’s been a while since I was genuinely struck by the opening title sequence of a movie enough to remember the sequence itself. Before even beginning to get into its own wonderful groove, Upgrade made me do just that. We see one faded, scan-line-obscured logo, followed by the Blumhouse mark, then cut to a black screen. A small blip of light widens to fill the frame, then the line splits and contorts to become a waveform matching the disembodied, cold female voice filling the speakers. With just a hint of oh-so-foreshadowing superiority to her words, the obvious AI says “OTL Releasing Presents”. Now the waveform fills the whole screen and gains a third dimension as the camera pans away slightly, in time for her to continue, “A BH Production…” It’s then that it becomes obvious – She is reading out what every other movie simply places onscreen or just avoids. As the waveform gains more and more complexity, it splits and falls away in the middle so the camera can enter the resulting chasm, just as the AI says – tauntingly – “Upgrade”.

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Best of 2018: Top 10 Movie Characters

There sure were some characters worth remembering at the cinema this year. Half of them weren’t even from superhero movies! No protagonists this time around – Well, maybe one, technically – It’s almost all supporting characters or villains, which seems to be this list’s default form if left unsupervised. Most of this list is filled by actors who aren’t big names – at least in Hollywood – which is always fun to see too.

There are some spoilers ahead. In fact this might be my spoiler-iest character list ever, simply because so many of these characters are defined by what they achieve (and don’t achieve) in their movies.

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VR BEST OF 2018 DISCLAIMER

This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. If you actually agree with me 100%, that’s odd, but let’s have a beer. Respectful disagreement is most welcome.

Some spoilers ahead.

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10. Eleanor – Crazy Rich Asians

One of the reasons that Crazy Rich Asians works so well is that it has memorable characters stuffed into every nook of its runtime. I could have gone with Awkwafina’s sweet-hearted comic relief Peik Lin, or Gemma Chan’s near-perfect protagonist-in-waiting Astrid, but I’m going to put Eleanor, matriarch of the uber-wealthy Young family, at the top of this page. In what feels like a grandstand Hollywood comeback role, Michelle Yeoh glides across the screen with measured tact and an arsenal of emotional weaponry she is not afraid to use if it means protecting her family’s legacy. From the opening scene, which well and truly exists in service of the character, to the final moment she locks eyes with our protagonist across a crowded room, Eleanor never completely drops her guard and yet it’s somehow still so easy to empathise with her plight. Yeoh’s graceful performance exhibits danger and safety in equal measure and it greatly strengthens the movie.

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Ten More 2018 Movies Summarised in Ten Words Each

Ten more movie impressions for you now! This batch is much less blockbuster-y than the last one – there are some spicy ones in here and I’m feeling pretty good about some of them making my year-end list (which is less than two months away – yikes). Enjoy skimming.

Mild spoilers may follow.
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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Disaster movie first halfhorror movie second halfAlmost works.”

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The Incredibles 2

Probably about as good as it could have been, considering.”

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Ten 2018 Movies Summarised in Ten Words Each

Hey hey, it’s that time of year again! I’ve just hit ten new-release movies seen this year and so it’s time to smash out some ultra-quick, ultra-digestible, ultra-colourful reviews and get on with the next ten. It’s been an extraordinarily dense six month period for big-name films so you won’t see any real surprises here. These ten are pretty much all blockbusters.

Very mild spoilers may follow.
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Black Panther

Welltimed, sick tech, great music, poor action, good movie.”

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Annihilation

A positively monumental mindscrewGina Rodriguez steals the show.”

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