31 December 2017

International Releases for 2018

My most anticipated films already released elsewhere but coming to the UK in 2018.

December 31, 2017 at 09:06PM

Soundtracks 2017

...plus 5 more. View the full list on Letterboxd.

December 31, 2017 at 06:50PM

Elf, 2003 - ★★★

Watched on Saturday December 23, 2017.

December 31, 2017 at 02:32PM

Disappointments of 2017

The new films that disappointmented me the most, I did actually enjoy the majority of these but perhaps not as much as I thought I would.

  • Alien: Covenant

    I did enjoy this but it came dangerously close to ruining the entire franchise.

  • Baby Driver

    Another film I liked but failed to live up to my own high expectations. I think part of the problem was I didn't really 'get' the music and the music is a big part of it. Would like to watch it again and probably like it more but now we have to deal with Spacey so who knows.

  • The Death of Stalin

    I wished I'd liked this more.

  • The Fits

    I was really looking forward to this but it didn't live up to the hype.

  • Justice League

    So disappointingly reviewed I didn't even bother to go and see it.

  • The Killing of a Sacred Deer

    I thought I'd like this one more than I did as well.

  • Okja

    Not the film itself but the fact I couldn't get to see it in a cinema because it was released by Netflix. Some films like Mudbound and The Meyerowitz Stories are fine for TV but this and perhaps things like Bright feel like they should be shown in theatres.

  • The Salesman

    Didn't work for me.

  • Silence

    A disappointing start to the year.

  • The Square

    Great moments but too long. May enjoy it more on a second viewing but is it too long to sit down to watch again?

December 31, 2017 at 02:47PM

29 December 2017

I Am Not Your Negro, 2016 - ★★★★

Another film that should be historic but ends up being horribly relevant.

December 29, 2017 at 01:10PM

The Ghoul, 2016 - ★★★

Great debut that's likely to become a cult favourite. It's a little rough around the edges and perhaps more like a long short-film or TV episode but it ends in a way that makes you want to watch it all again and feels like it will stand up to multiple viewings.

December 29, 2017 at 01:05PM

Cameraperson, 2016 - ★★★★

The most moving collections of outtakes you're likely to see. I know it's more than that but it is surprising just how wonderfully this all comes together to provide a fascinating look at the world today

December 29, 2017 at 01:00PM

28 December 2017

Supersonic, 2016 - ★★★

Well made but goes on for a bit too long without revealing anything I didn’t already know (Noel and Liam don’t always get on).

December 28, 2017 at 06:18PM

Best films not yet released in the UK in 2017

The best films I saw in 2017 that have not yet been released in the UK

  1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

    12 January 2018

  2. Journeyman

    16 Feb 2018

  3. Bad Genius


  4. You Were Never Really Here
  5. The Breadwinner
  6. The Rider
  7. Wonderstruck
  8. The Cakemaker
  9. Western
  10. My Friend Dahmer

...plus 5 more. View the full list on Letterboxd.

December 28, 2017 at 05:09PM

The best films I'd already seen before their 2017 UK release

The best films that came out in the UK during 2017 that I had already seen before their UK release.

Unless I saw them again I have not included these films in my main 2017 list.

December 28, 2017 at 05:03PM

The Christmas Tree, 1966 - ★★★

Charming enough.

December 28, 2017 at 09:00AM

The Red Shoes, 1948 - ★★

Watched on Wednesday December 27, 2017.

December 28, 2017 at 08:55AM

Shaun the Sheep Movie, 2015 - ★★★½

Beautifully shot with wonderful attention to detail (as it the usual case with Aardman) but I found it to be lacking something to make it great.

December 28, 2017 at 08:54AM

24 December 2017

Elle, 2016 - ★★★★

Trying to catch up with some films before the end of the year and an unexpected bonus that this is a not-very-festive Christmas film. I really enjoyed the dark humour, performances and character interactions but though the plot got a bit lost along the way.

It failed to keep my full attention but that might just be because I'm too easily distracted at home and yet I would have happily liked to have spent more time with these characters.

December 24, 2017 at 12:02AM

21 December 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, 2017 - ★★★★½

Magnificent seems like the best word to describe The Last Jedi. As the film ended I was left thinking it was a 5-star experience. The film had it's flaws but everything came together to form a whole greater than the sum of its parts. I genuinely can't understand how anyone other than J.J. Abrams (who not only has to follow this but whose characters and stories probably haven't ended up where he wanted them) can have a problem. The moments that jar are mostly down to character flaws rather than any missteps in the film making. It's the same things with the story points that feel like they don't work - they are a result of characters making mistakes.

It probably is too long but I didn't mind and I nearly always have a problem with long films. I really enjoyed the Canto Bight scenes and they feel like an important addition to the universe (and perhaps Johnson's new trilogy) although the set up about getting there was entirely unnecessary. The humour does sometimes feels out of place but it's also very funny and as Taika Waititi said in defence of Thor: Ragnarok there really isn't enough laughter in the world at the moment.

I nearly didn't see this in 3D but I thought there might be some Imax scenes (I didn't notice if there were). The 3D is quite effective in a lot of places but the ghosting and lack of focus in other parts was an unnecessary distraction.

December 21, 2017 at 12:51PM

19 December 2017

Showdown: Bad Santas

For the final Showdown of the year, list your top holiday movies… with a twist! We’re talking non-traditional seasonal films: bad Santas, Hanukkah horrors, festive freak-shows, Krampus kitsch, Yuletide action. If it’s on your naughty list, or simply a very merry indie alternative to cheesy holiday blockbusters, we want to know about it. P.S. We want this to be professional, efficient, adult, cooperative. Not a lot to ask.

December 19, 2017 at 02:13PM

18 December 2017

The Child in Time, 2017 - ★★★

It's fine, didn't really do too much for me though.

December 18, 2017 at 08:33PM

The Disaster Artist, 2017 - ★★★★

A week later than planned but really glad I didn't give up trying to see this hugely entertaining and amazingly bizarre story. I've not seen The Room (this did make me want to but only a little) and whilst some moments obviously have more significance if you are already familiar it didn't really matter for me.

December 18, 2017 at 08:32PM

Mudbound, 2017 - ★★★

A different look at lives in Jim Crow era America, The story seems does seem to meander around different characters and times without saying much before it gets to an impactful climax.

It's also depressing how very relevant the film still feels in 2017.

December 18, 2017 at 08:27PM

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, 2015 - ★★★★

Third viewing and the smaller screen and prior knowledge do lessen the impact somewhat. It's still a great experience which I think is really made by all of the fantastic smaller moments.

December 18, 2017 at 08:18PM

Fargo, 1996 - ★★★★★

Still great and interesting to watch it again now after the TV series.

December 18, 2017 at 08:13PM

16 December 2017

Home Alone, 1990 - ★★★★

Watched on Sunday December 10, 2017.

December 16, 2017 at 07:04PM

07 December 2017

Gremlins, 1984 - ★★★★

Plus Q&A with Zach Galligan

Probably more than any of the other Spielberg produced 80s films it's Gremlins that I remember the most fondly. I don't actually know when I first saw the film but I had the toys and audio books and perhaps most memorably the text adventure game (take sword, behead gremlin).

Largely because of fantastic animatronics the film still stands up today and their are only a few moments that feel their age. As Galligan mentioned after the film it's the constant battle between Spielberg's wholesomeness and Dante's mischievousness that makes the film so effective. That both sides of the film work as well as they do is quite remarkable. It's a slight shame that it never quite reaches a truly magically place but it's still a great piece of entertainment.

December 07, 2017 at 09:05PM

04 December 2017

Blood Simple, 1984 - ★★★★

Amazingly I hadn't seen Blood Simple before this, I always assumed I had. It still works 30+ years later and seems like a typical Coen Brothers film (if there can be such a thing). Impressively put together by a group of first time filmmakers it's a wonderfully enjoyable tale of mistaken revenge.

December 04, 2017 at 09:48PM

Aquarius, 2016 - ★★★

As much as I liked Clara and was intrigued to find out what would happen I found the pacing and excessive running time hard work. A great ending made it worthwhile. Despite complaining about the length I did keep thinking how I may have preferred to see more of this family in a TV series.

The introduction and Q&A with the director made several references to the Brazilian politics and Cannes protest of which I knew nothing so perhaps a lot of the film was wasted on me. The rest of the audience certainly seemed to appreciate it more.

December 04, 2017 at 09:40PM

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), 2017 - ★★★½

Unlike Okja this feels like it is better suited to home viewing although I can't help wonder if I had seen it in the cinema if I would have found it more engaging (I still struggle to not be distracted at home). Despite liking all the characters, performances, stories and filmmaking (the editing is particularly fun) it somehow never quite came together for me.

December 04, 2017 at 09:28PM

26 November 2017

Curmudgeons, 2016 - ★★★★

Watched on Sunday November 26, 2017.

November 26, 2017 at 09:53PM

Paddington 2, 2017 - ★★★★★

An unexpected candidate for film of the year. Apart from an unnecessary opening scene this is just about perfect. Suitable for all, one of the best scripts (with thanks to Sam Bain, Alice Lowe and others in the credits) where nothing is wasted, everything is a joke, plot or setting something up for later. I wavered on a 5 star rating but only because the ending felt a bit rushed and lacked a truly emotional impact that other films (Manchester By The Sea, A Monster Calls) had this year.

November 26, 2017 at 10:36AM

24 November 2017

Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool, 2017 - ★★★★

When I saw this in the LIFF2017 programme it didn't really stand out. I got a ticket to see it but only because there wasn't anything else on at the time. In the end I didn't make the screening but I was surprised to find out that it jumped to the top of the audience favourites where it remained until the festival's closing film Three Billboards... eventually took the top spot. It went on general release during the festival and more positive reviews appeared so it seemed like this should be one to catch up with and despite all of this I still didn't feel particularly motivated to make the trip to see it. Obviously I changed my mind and I'm glad I did,.

It's easy to see why it scored so highly, from the title and setup it's obvious that this is going to be an emotional journey. One lot of heartbreak seems inevitable, it soon become apparent there's another sad story to be told and the way these two tales come together is incredibly moving. There's more sadness along the way but ultimately this is a film about love and it felt good to be reminded how strong that can be.

November 24, 2017 at 07:01PM

16 November 2017

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, 2017 - ★★★★★

#LIFF2017 Film 48: Smart, dark, funny and sad with wonderful performances and writing. A great way to end the festival.

November 16, 2017 at 11:03PM

Wonderstruck, 2017 - ★★★★

#LIFF2017 Film 47: Full of wonderous moments
but I found it struggled to hold everything together until the emotional climax which completely got me (even though I knew what was coming).

I already want to watch it again.

November 16, 2017 at 05:46PM

Dave Made a Maze, 2017 - ★★★★

#LIFF2017 Film 46: Exactly the kind of fun, inaginiative, out-there film that I've missed from this year's festival programme.

November 16, 2017 at 05:42PM

15 November 2017

You Were Never Really Here, 2017 - ★★★★½

#LIFF2017 Film 45: PTSD: The Motion Picture. Despite the brutality I can't wait to experience this again.

November 15, 2017 at 11:12PM

The Endless, 2017 - ★★★

#LIFF2017 Film 44: I really wanted to like this but just couldn't get into it. Not helped by being unable to make out most of the dialogue which I don't know was a problem with the film or the venue.

November 15, 2017 at 08:07PM

14 November 2017

Animals, 2017 - ★★★★

#LIFF2017 Film 43: I didn't understand this but I did really enjoy it. At 90 minutes there's a good chance that I'll watch it again to see if it makes any more (or less) sense.

Shame about the venue, Screen 4 of Everyman Leeds is barely fit for purpose at the best of times but for subtitled films it's just awful. Now it also seems to have speaker problems as well.

November 14, 2017 at 10:48PM

The Line, 2017 - ★★★★

#LIFF2017 Film 42: I really enjoyed this. It may not doing anything new or special but it did it well enough to keep me engaged.

November 14, 2017 at 10:41PM

Rift, 2017 - ★★★½

#LIFF2017 Film 41: Incredibly atmospheric and surprisingly creepy. It's not really a horror (or is it?) but it uses all the horror tropes to great effect. It seemed obvious to me where it was heading so I found it did drag but it also may be another film that would have benefited from seeing it earlier in the festival.

November 14, 2017 at 10:35PM

Canaries - ★★★½

#LIFF2017 Film 40: Enjoyable horror comedy which hopefully serves as a calling card for a bigger better follow up film.

November 14, 2017 at 05:29PM

13 November 2017

Stalker, 1979 - ★★★

#LIFF2017 Film 39: I thought I'd struggle with this but it's a film I've wanted to see for a while if only to see if it really is as influential as I'd hear (it is). Despite not fully understanding, I was going along with it on a superficial level until I checked the time (never a good sign). There was still the best part of an hour left and that time really seemed to drag. It's annoying because I feel that if I watched it again when it wasn't my 39th film in 13 days (what is up with that programming?) and knew more about it I'd appreciate it more but when it's nearly 3 hours long I know I'll never find the time to do that.

November 13, 2017 at 10:57PM

Brimstone & Glory, 2017 - ★★★★

#LIFF2017 Film 38: I've been disappointed by the lack of WTF films at this year's festival but wasn't expecting this to jump to the top of the list. I know I have little sense of adventure and a slight fear of fireworks but WTAF these people are just crazy. Many jaw dropping moments, and spectacular scenes and the answer to the age old question of what happens to fireworks in a lightning storm.

November 13, 2017 at 07:00PM

12 November 2017

Loveless, 2017 - ★★★

#LIFF2017 Film 37: Horrible people do nothing. Slowly. For too long. Then something happens. Horrible people still act horribly and nothing really changes.

November 12, 2017 at 11:03PM

The Rider, 2017 - ★★★★

#LIFF2017 Film 36: This took me completely by surprise and not just because I hadn't planned on seeing it. For a lot of the time I was just admiring how beautiful everything looked but then it became apparent just how tender the portrayal of masculinity was on display. An emotional ending and further revelations in the credits just made this more remarkable.

November 12, 2017 at 10:57PM

Bad Genius, 2017 - ★★★★½

#LIFF2017 Film 35: Stylish and enjoyable non-heist heist film. Only let down by down by some dodgy English (Australian) acting and unecessary final lines of dialogue.

November 12, 2017 at 05:23PM

Summer Time Machine Blues, 2005 - ★★★½

#LIFF2017 Film 34: Lots of time travel fun that mostly works but one particular point nagged at me and was never resolved.

November 12, 2017 at 05:12PM

11 November 2017

The Teacher, 2016 - ★★★

#LIFF2017 Film 33: 12 Angry Parents* - some nice non-linear storytelling and a great villain in this amusing (rather than funny) satire.

* I don't know how many there were, and I know they weren't all parents.

November 11, 2017 at 11:38PM

Under The Tree, 2017 - ★★★½

#LIFF2017 Film 32: A dark comedy that's much darker than it is funny. The ending escalates quickly to a tone I was expecting much earlier in the film.

November 11, 2017 at 11:24PM

La Femme Nikita, 1990 - ★★★★

#LIFF2017 Film 31: This is how to do an action film but it's also much more than that. Unfortunately the messy third act doesn't work as well as it should.

November 11, 2017 at 05:05PM

The Mansion, 2017 - ★★★★½

#LIFF2017 Film 30: This more than made up for the disappointment of the first film and it's a shame it's not part of the main festival programme. Juvenile but very funny, this time probably helped along by a keen audience. Like a drunk version of Clue with some horror elements but mostly just silly fun and seems destined to become a cult favourite.

November 11, 2017 at 12:46PM

mon mon mon MONSTERS, 2017 - ★★

#LIFF2017 Film 29: First dud of the festival and a bad start to NOTD. Playing bullying for laughs is never a great idea, and with everything that's happening in the real world it left a particularly sour taste. Worryingly the rest of the audience didn't seem to have a problem and laughed along with all the bullies. If the message was supposed to be "we're the real monsters" it didn't work. The rest of the film suffered from cliches, tonal jumps, a nonsensical plot and a general feeling that it thought it was something special which it most definitely wasn't.

November 11, 2017 at 12:30PM

10 November 2017

Journeyman, 2017 - ★★★★★

#LIFF2017 Film 28: This may have broken me a little. Fantastic performances, emotional and physical punches, 90 minutes. The ending maybe felt a little rushed but otherwise really amazing stuff.

November 10, 2017 at 08:08PM

Battle of the Sexes, 2017 - ★★★½

#LIFF2017 Film 27: Perfectly fine but in a festival full of really great films it didn't do enough for me to stand out.

November 10, 2017 at 05:52PM

09 November 2017

Oh Lucy!, 2017 - ★★★

#LIFF2017 Film 26: There's so much to like here but it either loses it's way a bit or I've reached the point in the festival when it's harder to stay fully engaged. Finding out it's based on a short film didn't surprise me.

November 09, 2017 at 11:14PM

My Friend Dahmer, 2017 - ★★★★

#LIFF2017 Film 25: Disturbingly brilliant.

November 09, 2017 at 11:09PM

The Bar, 2017 - ★★★½

#LIFF2017 Extra Film: Mostly really great but loses it's way towards the end.

This was shown at #LIFF2017 as part of Day Of The Dead and one of the films I would've seen but I couldn't fit it in so I watched it on Netflix on one of my mornings off.

November 09, 2017 at 01:23PM

08 November 2017

Good Time, 2017 - ★★★★½

#LIFF2017 Film 24: I've always been a fan of the 'night gone wrong' sub-genre and things go really wrong here. The coda seemed unnecessary but then a couple of lines as the credits were rolling nearly floored me. Fantastic soundtrack, amazing performances and much more than just a good time.

November 08, 2017 at 11:10PM

Dark River, 2017 - ★★★★

#LIFF2017 Film 23: Great performances means it's always engaging but it lacked something and the setup of the conclusion seemed a bit far fetched.

November 08, 2017 at 11:02PM