17 August 2017

A Ghost Story, 2017 - ★★★★

I went to see A Ghost Story intrigued by the trailer but worried that it wouldn't be possible to play out the haunting imagery over a feature length film. I also went in tired which, I hope, is why I struggled with the slow pace of the opening 10-15 minutes. Once *not a spoiler alert* the ghost appears I found the rest of the film completely mesmerising and quite unlike anything else. I still had some issues, one moment seems out of character and doesn't add anything (although the depth of the film in other places may mean I missed something). I also found myself trying to second guess what was going on but came nowhere near what actually happens and wished I'd just gone with the flow more.

It's also a shame that the trailer gives away the scope of the film and I'd urge you to avoid or forget it before you watch the film.

Great performance from the sheet and an even better soundtrack.

August 16, 2017 at 11:12PM

14 August 2017

Clue, 1985 - ★★★

This appeared on Amazon Prime coincidentally as I got to the director's commentary episode of Smodcast so it seemed rude not to watch. It's a film I have fond memories of from my childhood, most notably for watching the singing telegram section on repeat (what was surprising is that moment was only a few seconds long). I may have enjoyed the film more without the commentary because my attention was split,I missed lots of the dialogue but the talk-track was fairly interesting. It made me keen to listen to other commentaries, something I haven't done for a long time and once my sole reason for buying anything of DVD.

August 14, 2017 at 12:53PM

06 August 2017

Dunkirk, 2017 - ★★★★½

Second viewing, this time the 35mm version. I don't think my opinion has really changed. The stories flowed better fully understanding the timey-wimey stuff but lacked the spectacle of the initial viewing. The beaches still looked sparse and I feel the film doesn't convey the magnitude as well as it should, but perhaps it's not trying to. Caine's cameo is bloody obvious that it seems remarkable I didn't realise on the first viewing.

The smaller screen did lose some of the framing, there's one moment when a boat is only visible for a second before it is cropped out of shot. Some parts, such as the sun on the water looked great on 35mm, others looked worse but (sacrilege warning) I'm not a huge fan of film on modern movies and prefer the digital crispness.

Soundtrack is still the most impressive part especially when the ticking stops at the end.

August 06, 2017 at 09:59PM

The Big Sick, 2017 - ★★★★

It's heartfelt and sincere in a way so few things are. It's a shame that like so many of Apatow's films it's too long and spends too much time focussing on the least interesting part, back stage of the comedy club.

August 06, 2017 at 09:30PM

01 August 2017

Back to the Future, 1985 - ★★★★★

Back to the Future: In Concert with the Orchestra of Opera North

I'm still surprised just how well written Back To The Future is. Hardly a moment is wasted, everything that happens is setting up something else and it does it so effortlessly it's easier to overlook.

The soundtrack is also fantastic so it was great to have it performed live.

August 01, 2017 at 09:46PM

24 July 2017

Dunkirk, 2017 - ★★★★½

It grabs you from the opening moments and never lets go, building tension throughout to create a powerful and visceral experience quite unlike anything else. I'd argue that it perhaps lacks the heart, mystery or intelligence of Nolan's other films but there is something else there that more than substitutes for this. With most of Nolan's other films I've immediately wanted to see them again but didn't feel this way about Dunkirk. I do wonder if there is more to appreciate by fully understanding the time structure of the film (which I was slow to work out and hadn't understood the captions), although that didn't stop me from being amazed at the way they all come together with the drowning scene.

I may go and see the 35mm version but more because I'm lucky enough to be able to do so than from wanting to see it again.

July 24, 2017 at 03:24PM

War for the Planet of the Apes, 2017 - ★★★

Perhaps the biggest problem here is that less than a week later I'm struggling to remember much about the film including how much I liked it. There's not much war, but the titles of the rest of the series didn't make much sense either. Caesar is a wonderful creation but does all the time spent marvelling at the animation mean the story isn't that engaging? The non human performances are all great but I thought Bad Ape was one of many tonal shifts that often felt out of place. The ending is ridiculous and unbelievable and really brings everything down to a disappointing climax.

July 24, 2017 at 03:02PM

18 July 2017

What We Do in the Shadows, 2014 - ★★★★½

Fourth viewing, first on the small screen and some of the familiarity meant it didn't seem quite as special but it's still an incredible enjoyable film and it was good to introduce it to new people.

July 18, 2017 at 10:28PM

Despicable Me 3, 2017 - ★★★

The Minions remain the highlight (so it's weird I still haven't seen their solo outing) but they're also absent for a lot of this. The main story is better than the 2nd film so it all works out about right.

July 18, 2017 at 10:25PM

14 July 2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming, 2017 - ★★★★

I think this may be the best written Marvel film, certainly for the first two thirds anyway. It seems inevitable now that there will be final third problems with things falling/crashing into cities and CGI characters hitting each other. At least here it's done fairly well and kept brief. The rest of the film is just fun, relaxed and refreshing and ultimately very enjoyable.

July 14, 2017 at 09:22AM

08 July 2017

Okja, 2017 - ★★★★

The biggest problem remains that this is a cinematic film and hardly anybody can see it in a cinema. It's a worrying precedent and I hope somebody (Scorsese?) will fight it before it's too late.

I expected I'd like Okja and I wasn't really disappointed. It's beautiful, charming, slightly crazy and manages to get a message across. I enjoyed the chases much more than those in Baby Driver. The later New York section is a bit disappointing and it's strange that there is so much out of place and unnecessary swearing.

July 08, 2017 at 11:37PM

03 July 2017

Baby Driver, 2017 - ★★★½

Mixed feelings going into this one; a new Edgar Wright film with an awful trailer but lots of positive feedback. Were my expectations too high, too low or just right? Probably slightly too high. I didn't think it was great and kept waiting for it to become the film everybody had been raving about. It has lots of great moments: the opening chase, getting coffee and every rhythmic shootout but it never came together as a whole for me. Perhaps it was the songs, largely unfamiliar to me, would it have worked better if I'd known more of the music?

Still it's great to have another mainstream musical in cinemas.

July 03, 2017 at 10:09PM

01 July 2017

Withnail & I, 1987 - ★★★★½

I was only going to stay and watch Johnny Depp, Bruce Robinson and Julien Temple introduce the film but it seemed foolish not to stay and I'm glad I did. Sat in a field with a bottle of wine, surrounded by like-minded people (and vintage cars) is a pretty great way to see the film which is just as good as I remember even if I can't remember when that was.

July 01, 2017 at 10:37AM

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, 2016 - ★★★★

Enjoyed this more on a second viewing even though I had a massive pillar obstructing part of my view. The obstructed view was less distracting than the 3D I'd originally seen but still think I need to see this again properly to fully appreciate it.

July 01, 2017 at 10:28AM

The Libertine, 2004 - ★★★

This seemed like a strange film to show but it seems that both Julien Temple and Johnny Depp think it is massively under appreciated. Perhaps it is, I certainly didn't have any fond memories (or even a certainty that I saw it), it starts like so many period pieces and very much a vehicle for Depp's proper acting but deteriorates into something much more interesting.

Disclaimer: I was slightly drunk, not paying full attention and drifted in and out for food.

July 01, 2017 at 10:08AM

La Strada, 1954 - ★★★

A strange film really, made only stranger by seeing it in the middle of the day at Glastonbury.

Nice venue though, wish I'd gone back to see more.

July 01, 2017 at 10:00AM

15 June 2017

Raw, 2016 - ★★★½

Just noticed I hadn't logged this and 4 months later I can't quite remember what I thought. I liked it but was also disappointed and didn't think it lived up to the hype.

June 15, 2017 at 09:29AM

06 June 2017

Wonder Woman, 2017 - ★★★★

I hadn't realised how important it was to have a such a strong female lead film. It shouldn't make a difference but it absolutely does. For most of the film it's outperforms other superhero films and is in a whole other universe from the rest of the DC films. It's a shame that it resorts to the old Iron Man endings of two (mostly CG) characters throwing things at each other because everybody deserved a more satisfying conclusion. There are other places where things are pretty unbelievable (even for a godly superhero) but those moments are forgivable because everything else is done so well.

June 06, 2017 at 09:03PM

04 June 2017

Get Out, 2017 - ★★★★

So much of Get Out is so good; everything is set up just perfectly, horror is combined with comedy and there's intelligence and bite to the satire and social commentary. For much of the film things the mystery is far-fetched but works in context and it's only when things start to get explained that it unfortunately steps over the believability line. The ending is still executed well but it does feel like a disappointment after everything else was so carefully considered.

June 04, 2017 at 02:02PM

31 May 2017

The Hollow Crown: Henry VI - part 2, 2016 - ★★★★

Watched on Wednesday May 31, 2017.

May 31, 2017 at 09:57PM

The Dark Crystal, 1982 - ★★★

Surprised to find out that I had never seen this before (or don't remember any of it if I had). Technically it's impressive (although I find the Gelflings a bit odd looking) but the story is quite basic and a bit too hobbit-y for me.

May 31, 2017 at 09:50PM

30 May 2017

The Mechanical Cow, 1927

Watched on Sunday May 28, 2017.

May 30, 2017 at 05:43PM

Scents and Nonsense, 1926

Watched on Sunday May 28, 2017.

May 30, 2017 at 05:43PM

The Ocean Hop, 1927

Watched on Sunday May 28, 2017.

May 30, 2017 at 05:42PM

Felix Comes Back, 1922

Watched on Sunday May 28, 2017.

May 30, 2017 at 05:42PM

The Tantalizing Fly, 1919

Watched on Sunday May 28, 2017.

May 30, 2017 at 05:41PM

The '?' Motorist, 1906

Watched on Sunday May 28, 2017.

May 30, 2017 at 05:40PM

24 May 2017

The Edge of the World, 1937 - ★★½

Despite appearing to be a well made film this didn't really do much for me.

May 24, 2017 at 09:48PM

King Charles III, 2017 - ★★★★

I liked this a lot even though I hoped the second half wouldn't play out as it did.

May 24, 2017 at 08:08AM

19 May 2017

Alien: Covenant, 2017 - ★★★

It's all good until the aliens turn up and surely that's a huge problem for a film in the Alien series. Things aren't helped by the crew bouncing between idiotic and cliched decisions and even Waterson's mostly sensible Daniels becomes annoying by the end of the film. Those cliched moments feel like ticking off a checklist of things an alien film needs and at best add little, but often feel closer to parody. One shot of the Alien looks like it's part of the Hollyoaks title sequence and in another moment (or was it the same) it was a surprise/relief it didn't turn into a Spaceballs song and dance. All of the aliens look awful; badly animated and out of place, later CG humans are thrown around and you just have to wonder why. The final plot developments are so obvious I actually groaned when they began to be played out. People always say that a sequel or remake doesn't detract from the original film and I usually agree but this comes dangerously close to undermining the original films.

And yet having complained about nearly every aspect of the film (and I haven't really gone into the problematic plot) I did enjoy myself far more than I should have

May 19, 2017 at 11:16PM

The Hollow Crown: Henry VI - part 1, 2016 - ★★★★

Watched on Wednesday May 17, 2017.

May 19, 2017 at 10:48PM

10 May 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, 2017 - ★★★★

It's all over the place but in a way which works far more often than it fails. For two hours it provided enough entertainment to distract me from the real world and that feels like an achievement. I'm also pleased I saw this in 3D because it did actually add something to what is already a visually impressive film.

May 10, 2017 at 09:39PM

07 May 2017

A Conspiracy of Faith, 2016 - ★★★½

More cinematic than the other films in the series but still suffers many of the same problems. The biggest issue is that once again the characters do something reckless and/or ridiculous that would seriously undermine the case. It's a shame because the characters and their relationships are great and it successfully manages to be both dark and humourous.

May 07, 2017 at 06:28PM

01 May 2017

Swallows and Amazons, 2016 - ★★★

There's something quite charming about how all of this looks but there's not really much of a story. As harsh as it may be the child performances are distracting and not strong enough to carry the film.

May 01, 2017 at 05:18PM

The Absent One, 2014

Withholding a rating because even though I only watched this in the last week I can't remember enough about it (which is a sign of my failing memory and mixing it up with Follow The Money, rather than the quality). Like the previous film, It still feels like a feature length TV episode but a good one. There was something about this I was going to say but it completely escapes me now.

May 01, 2017 at 04:35PM

25 April 2017

The Love Witch, 2016 - ★★★½

There's so much to appreciate and enjoy in Anna Biller's film (her name is most of the credits). Unfortunately there's not quite enough to sustain a 2 hour running time. This would have been so much better if it was less than 90 minutes and also a lot easier to rewatch.

April 24, 2017 at 10:49PM

18 April 2017

Easter Parade, 1948 - ★★★★

It may just be a collection of song and dance sequences, with very little story, but what songs and dances.

It was also great to see Judy Garland in something other that The Wizard of Oz and "why didn't you tell me I was in love with you?"

April 18, 2017 at 10:49AM

Moana, 2016 - ★★★½

I was expecting more from this and found that the moments that didn't work stood out much more than those that did, which doesn't make it a bad film. There's something odd about the human animation, it has a rotoscoped/motion-capture that didn't feel like "Disney" to me. Only two of the songs stood out (You're Welcome and Shiny) so I still need to be converted to Lin-Manuel Miranda. That chicken made me laugh far too much though.

April 18, 2017 at 10:44AM

The Great Muppet Caper, 1981 - ★★★★

Second part of a Muppet double bill and another I don't remember seeing before. I think I preferred this slightly over the first movie because it has more of a story. It feels like a film from a different time and would work just as well without any Muppets but would be nowhere near as much fun.

I'm in amazement at the cycling sequence, even after finding how (vaguely) how it was done. I genuinely can't remember the last time I wondered how something was possible.

April 18, 2017 at 10:35AM

The Muppet Movie, 1979 - ★★★★

I was surprised to find that I'd never seen this before (at least not as an adult that I remember). It's enjoyable and has aged really well, with only the cameos placing it as a (nearly) 40 year old film. The practical full body effects are so much more fascinating and magical than their modern CGI counterparts. It's only a slight story which now feels overly familiar but it's told and performed with such love it's hard not to be impressed.

April 18, 2017 at 10:31AM

11 April 2017

My Life as a Zucchini, 2016 - ★★★★

Ron Swanson! I'm convinced Nick Offerman make anything worth watching and this is no exception. Even without Offerman this would still be fantastic. Beautifully animated, lovingly told, it feels so honest and true to life despite being animated but that's no surprise when it's from the writer of Girlhood and Tomboy.

It's best not to think about the ending too much or you start to realise how messy things may become which is a slightly disappointing conclusion.

April 11, 2017 at 10:55PM

04 April 2017

A Good Day to Die Hard, 2013 - ★★½

It's not that bad, it's not that good but it certainly isn't a Die Hard film

April 04, 2017 at 10:10PM

Listen to Me Marlon, 2015 - ★★★

Interesting enough but didn't do much to completely capture my attention.

April 04, 2017 at 10:04PM

29 March 2017

The Fits, 2015 - ★★★

A film I'd been looking forward to seeing since it's US release last September. Unfortunately it didn't really work for me, I found it too slow and lacking something and even though it's only 71 minutes long it felt much longer.

I had a sense of what this was trying to achieve so perhaps seeing it another time or in another frame of mind I'd appreciate it differently. Or perhaps it just suffers in the UK from coming after The Falling which I loved and is hard not to think about.

March 29, 2017 at 08:28PM

23 March 2017

Beauty and the Beast, 2017 - ★★★½

I'm unsure if there's anything particularly wrong with this remake; it seems faithful, looks great and I enjoyed it but it's lacking any real magic. It feels like an imitation, a pantomime using Disney costumes and I was just left wondering why you'd choose to watch this over the animated version. The moment with the ballgown reveal was quite special though.

March 23, 2017 at 05:24PM

19 March 2017

Our Little Sister, 2015 - ★★★★

Koreeda is becoming one of my favourite directors with each film I see. This is a film where you just enjoy spending time with all the characters. Others have compared it to Ozu but I was mostly reminded of the non-fantasy Ghibli films.

March 19, 2017 at 10:14AM

Warcraft, 2016 - ★★

I really hoped that I'd like this and it wouldn't be as bad as most people were making out. Unfortunately there isn't much to recommend and for me it just came across as fantasy nonsense. Everytime it switched to an animated sequence or back to the humans it threw me out of what little engagement I had. One positive this was the way different languages were portrayed on screen, although I think this was only in one scene early in the film.

March 19, 2017 at 10:07AM

Demolition, 2015 - ★★★★

I had a feeling I'd like this but didn't think I'd like it as much as this. I'm not entirely sure why, it perhaps isn't a great film but something about it just connected with me.

March 19, 2017 at 10:03AM

14 March 2017

Florence Foster Jenkins, 2016 - ★★★

A fairly unremarkable film about a really remarkable character. It's entertaining and amusing with really strong performances from all. However, it's hard to know how to feel about the manipulation and overall tragicness, which is portrayed sympathetically but lacks any real depth.

March 14, 2017 at 06:52PM

11 March 2017

The Greasy Strangler, 2016 - ★★★½

What.
The.
Actual.
Brilliant.
Fuck.

Starts off brilliantly but struggles to keep the momentum for the whole 90 minutes.

March 11, 2017 at 03:55PM

09 March 2017

O.J.: Made in America, 2016 - ★★★★★

Completely fascinating

5 episode TV version on iplayer (although they paired up the first four episodes)

March 09, 2017 at 08:48PM

05 March 2017

The Man from U.N.C.L.E., 2015 - ★★★★

A nice reminder of why people once got excited about Guy Ritchie films. This is slickly put together, stylish, funny and much better than the often overblown nonsense of Bond. I guess a sequel is unlikely which is a shame because I'd like to see more.

March 05, 2017 at 06:19PM