The Mercy, directed by James Marsh, is inspiring, heart-breaking, tragic, and yet completely full of elements that make the journey of emotions worth it. I went in expecting a reasonably simple film that at its core was unabashedly British and came out having experienced a story that surprised me and left me in a mournful mindset. The engaging story held my attention throughout, and despite how emotionally turbulent it was; found its way into me heart and my mind. But enough of this rambling. Let’s get to the review and see if this is a film that you might be interested in checking out. Read more
The Cloverfield Paradox, directed by Julius Onah, is very clearly a sci-fi script that has been repurposed and then shoehorned into the Cloverfield franchise. However, unlike the previous film in the franchise (10 Cloverfield Lane), this one hasn’t worked. With a generic, predictable plot, characters who seemingly go out of their way to defy logic, and an overall experience that feels cliché and unoriginal. The Cloverfield Paradox is the first definite misstep in what has been a really interesting franchise to follow and look forward too. So let’s breakdown all that the film attempts and see if there’s anything that makes it worth checking out. Read more
Phantom Thread, written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, is utterly exquisite. Each and every aspect of the film is delicate and full of subtext. I loved being given characters who spoke in both direct and indirect ways; I loved a constant atmosphere that had me wanting to relax into the slow, inviting surroundings. This was an experience that I felt I got lost in – that I loved being a part of. I hope I can talk competently about Phantom Thread and how it goes about exploring its characters. So let’s get to the review and see if I have the skill to explore this film adequately. Read more
The Shape of Water, co-written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, is completely charming, beyond beautiful, and perhaps one of the most unconventionally wonderful love stories to come to the big screen. Del Toro’s love for cinema and his expertise of the craft are in full effect, as he brings a varied assortment of themes and tones to life in a film that had me captivated throughout. I adore his work (Pan’s Labyrinth being a truly special film) and I’m really excited to talk about his new film. So let’s dispense with the intro and make our way into my review of, The Shape of Water. Read more
The Foreigner, directed by Martin Campbell, offers one of the most interesting and meaningful performances from Jackie Chan in quite some time… perhaps ever. So it’s then a real shame that the film puts the majority of its focus on other characters and a plot that get’s more bloated, the longer it goes on. Jackie’s performance and his character had me hooked almost instantly, so it leaves me confused as to the decision behind not making him more of the film’s focus. Let’s explore what Jackie Chan achieves in this film and if it’s one worth checking out. Read more
The Post, directed by Steven Spielberg, offers a compelling, well told story; filled with a brilliant cast of actors who all expertly perform their roles. I don’t mean this in a negative way: but if you’ve ever seen a Spielberg film (particularly his more recent films) then you know what you’re going to get with this one. It’s a consistent, well shot film that shows how efficient at making an enthralling piece of cinema, Spielberg is. So let’s jump into the meat of the review and break down all that, The Post has to offer. Read more
Blade of the Immortal, directed by Takashi Miike, is a delightfully creative film that takes full advantage of being able to pull from the manga/anime that it’s based upon. With overly theatrical villains and non-stop dismemberment of anyone who gets in the way of the protagonist, the film is one that will have you smiling. Never taking itself too seriously and generally having fun with its concept, I found the film to be an effortlessly enjoyable time, but my concern is that the seeming lack of depth, might not make Blade of the Immortal a film that sticks in my mind for long. Let’s explore all that this crazy film has to offer and see if it’s worth your time and if I’m wrong in my feelings towards some of its less explored elements (which I’m pretty sure I am). Read more
Darkest Hour, directed by Joe Wright, offers a delicately handled, impeccably acted, stunningly shot piece of cinema, that shines a revealing, powerful light upon one of Britain’s greatest Prime Ministers, during one of the most impossibly difficult times in the country’s history. But it is also more than just one man’s resolve during a challenging time politically and personally; it is also a beautifully shot film, that takes the time to shine a spotlight on aspects that were affecting a time in British politics that was filled with fear and doubt. I was positive walking into this film that I would see something great and I was not mistaken, so let’s explore all that Darkest Hour achieves and how it went about doing it. Read more
Molly’s Game, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, feels like a film that continually jingling a set of shiny keys directly in front of your face; sure, it grabs your attention, but it soon becomes irritating, and then insufferable. The film’s premise is interesting, at first, and it offers the usual characteristics that you’ve come accustom to, when it comes to Sorkin-esque characters, but as it went on and it continued to be exactly what I expected it to be, the more tedious and uninteresting I found it to be. There were certainly elements to this film that I enjoyed, and I am a fan of Sorkin’s style and his previous work, but there was something about this film (his directorial debut) that I found myself unable to like. Let’s explore what Molly’s Game has to offer and see if it’s something you might enjoy. Read more
All the Money in the World, directed by Ridley Scott, delivers a fairly expansive story, with well explored, fascinating characters at its core. Despite the unforeseen complications that Ridley Scott ran into prior to the release of the film (the distressing revelations concerning Kevin Spacey) it seems nothing was going to get in the way of the highly experienced director from telling what is an unbelievable true story that has you gripped throughout. So let’s explore all that the film has to offer and just how well Ridley Scott was able to rework what could have possibly been a disastrous outcome for all involved. To the review. Read more
Hostiles, written and directed by Scott Cooper, offers a solemn, introspective look at a transitional point in American history. Not only was America changing; shifting towards a new way of life, but the people who had been moulded by the old ways, also had to change, or be left behind. Taking on damaged, seemingly irredeemable individuals, the film takes us on a journey that is meaningful and full of hardships – all in the hopes of finding a way to heal. This might be Scott Cooper’s best work to date and I’m eager to talk in detail about this incredible film he’s created. On with the review. Read more
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, written and directed by Martin McDonagh, almost feels as if it’s towering over you, like a monument to the unfiltered failings of humanity – a monument that demands that you pay it the attention it deserves. You’ll find yourself happily willing to do this, because of how impressively balanced the film is; being both unforgivingly honest and also genuinely funny. Also because of its characters, who challenge you (on a multitude of levels), the performances that astound you, and multiple plot strands that have you hooked from the beginning and throughout. The film is one that you want to engage with, but also slightly fear. The levels of quality on show in this turbulent, challenging film, make it one I’m excited to write about, so come along as I review it, won’t you? Read more
Bright, directed by David Ayer, is a film riddled with elements that continually clash with one another; creating a disjointed, muddled feeling experience. A director and a writer whose styles don’t mix, a tone that is all over the place, a world that’s rules felt more like punch-lines, rather than interesting world-building, and poor attempts at social commentary; all collide with one another to create a film with no clear direction. There are parts to Ayer’s ability as a director that make the film enjoyable (at times) but this is a film that really struggles to find a balance at any point. So let’s explore those imbalances, and see where this film goes wrong. Read more
It’s one of my favourite times of the year for films and one of my favourite pieces to write for my blog; this is all about remembering and praising some of the films that made some sort of impact on me throughout the year. It’s one of my favourite things to do: talk about films, and more importantly, talk about the aspects I loved about those films.
This isn’t a ‘Top 10 list’ (especially because I’m talking about more than 10 films this year – a first for me), nor am I saying these are the best films of the year. I’m simply pointing out the film that in one way or another, mattered to me and made some sort of impact. Whether it was in the moment of watching them or it was the effect they had on the old memory box, this is all about films that stood out to me and mattered to me.
Before I start, I’ll lay out some of the conditions: These are all films released in the UK, between January 1st and December 31st. They are also in no particular order, so one isn’t superior to another. This is all about talking about good films and perhaps making you aware of little gems you may have missed, or simply praising a film that despite being well-known is still deserving of being talked about. I will also be talking about my personal ‘Film of the Year’ in this piece as well, so look out for that.
But let’s bring this waffling to an end – enough of the ramblings – let’s get to the reason why you clicked onto this in the first place: ‘The Films That Stood Out to Me in 2017’: Read more
* This review does contain MINOR SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Last Jedi *
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, written and directed by Rian Johnson, is a film that feels burdened by much that it tries to do. There are many moments to this film that I absolutely loved! Moments that reinforced and reshaped my love for Star Wars as a franchise, but to get to those moments, there were particular storylines, certain characters, and clear merchandising influences, that hampered the overall experience. However… some of the most impactful decisions this film creates, and the effect they will go onto have; I think evolves the franchise beyond the seemingly rehashed path it was going down. It will divide fans, but I hope it will move the trilogy into uncharted territory. Personally, I’m going to find this to be a challenging review to write, because I did have a genuine love-hate relationship with Star Wars: The Last Jedi. This will almost be like a therapy session, as I try to come terms with all that this film is… so let’s get to it. Read more
The Disaster Artist, directed by James Franco, is wonderfully funny and also wonderfully sincere. Putting the spotlight on an endearing friendship and letting it guide us through an unbelievably touching, challenging story, results in a film that had me smiling throughout. I think many people will be surprised at the heart-warming little story that James Franco and his usual collaborators have put together and how they, in the most genuine way, tell the story of some inspiring, fascinating individuals – it could possibly even be considered the best work of Franco’s career. So let’s explore if that is the case and also what it is about The Disaster Artist that makes it such a worthwhile watch. Onto the review we go. Read more
Mudbound, directed by Dee Rees, is a film that during the early stages, spins its wheels and directs its focus in all the wrong places. The film fills time with melodrama and nothing much else, until it finally finds what should have always received its attention. I felt myself detaching from the film in the beginning; settling in for something that I would soon forget once it had finished, but the story and characters it then found and shone a light on, may have saved the film. Or did they, was this ultimately a wasted 134 minutes? Let’s explore that question and more, in my review, and see if this film is worth clicking over to Netflix for. Read more
Land of Mine, written and directed by Martin Zandvliet, was both a morally and emotionally challenging film. Throughout the entirety of Land of Mine, I was questioning myself and what I deemed right; considering the abhorrent acts of a country and its people. Those questions and the challenging thoughts it brought before me, made for a compelling, engaging film that very deservedly got nominated for ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ at the 2017 Academy Awards. I’ve wanted to see this film for some time and now I’m eager to talk about it in this review – so let’s get to that. Read more
Sweet Virginia, directed by Jamie M. Dagg, offers a small, contained, but well told story that at times is infused with an unnerving tension and undertones of something sinister, while at other times it was harmfully slow and a little too dower. It struggles to find a balance that then makes for an experience that is always engaging, but when it’s at its best there’s certainly something that pulls you in. Is it enough though? I hope to discover the answer to that question through my review, so let’s get to it. Read more
Battle of the Sexes, directed by Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton, is uplifting, full of heart, and will certainly gain a few well-earned laughs from you. The greatest achievement of this film is that it takes the time to really explore its varied characters, and because of that, it ended up feeling like a more complete experience. Coming from the perspective of the characters first and then letting the story build up around them, both benefited my connection to the people who mattered and led into me being invested in their story. And so, it’s thanks to patience and some noticeable attention to detail (of many elements) that the film has you feeling like a part of the journey, throughout. Let’s bring this introduction to a close and start exploring all that, Battle of the Sexes has to offer, shall we? Read more