Review – Brigsby Bear

Brigsby Bear, directed by Dave McCary, traverses a number of tones that end up causing a confusing feeling experience that at times is difficult to find a connection with. There is sincerity in the creativity within this film and there are moments that fill your heart with uplifting feelings. But there are also times where I sat with a furrowed brow, trying to understand what the intention of the scenes were and what type of film Brigsby Bear was trying to be. I shifted between liking this film and struggling to understand it, which made for a watching experience in which I never felt settled. I think (hope) breaking down how this film operates will help me figure out how I truly felt about it. So let’s get to it. Read more

Review – Thoroughbreds

Thoroughbreds, written and directed by Cory Finley, offers two main characters who continually fascinate you and have you forever questioning their motives and what they are really thinking. This was a film that at times felt rudderless. It knew where it wanted to be and knew the general direction for getting there, but there seemed to be a lack of a driving force to get them there in a stable, concicive way. But, there is still something to this film that pulls you and intrigues you. Something that resulted in me being at all times interested in seeing where it was going. This is one of those films that sticks around in your head long after it’s done. So let’s explore what Thoroughbreds gets right and what it doesn’t, and see if this is a film you should check out. Read more

Review – A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place, co-written and directed by John Krasinski, holds you in the palm of its hand and toys with you whenever it feels like it. Sound – or the lack of it – plays a crucial role in this film and it is used to great effect. I can’t remember the last time I sat in a cinema that was so consumed by silence. The film is certainly light on story and characters, but what it does with them is effective in creating an atmosphere that is unrelenting, and an experience that grips you completely. Krasinski has certainly shown to me that he has a future in the horror genre, but before that becomes the case, let’s breakdown and explore, A Quiet Place. Read more

Review – Journeyman

Journeyman, written and directed by Paddy Considine, is not an easy watch. Not because it’s bad. Far from it. It’s because of Considine’s ability as both a writer and a director to tap into the real hardships that people face and then focus fully in on it. He writes stories that are tough and have no easy solution. He creates characters that can be challenging and not always the people you want them to be. Like I said, Journeyman is not easy watch – and it will certainly not be a film that everyone has the fortitude for – but there’s a powerful experience in Journeyman, and one I’m interested to talk about. So, let’s find out if this is a film for you. Read more

Review – Ready Player One

Ready Player One, directed by Steven Spielberg, is pretty much what I was expecting. At times it was entertaining and full of that Spielberg blockbuster magic. And other times it was quite irritating; with intrusive, lazy exposition, and a lack of competent character development. It’s a film that never lets up. It is full-on with everything. From the infamous amount of references, we were all expecting, to the visual magnitude of all those pop-culture references. It seemed the only thing it didn’t feel the need to go full-on with, where characters or the development of them. I was never bored when watching this film, but I also wasn’t ever invested or had any care for who or what I was watching. I’m mixed on how I want to review this film, as on one hand there’s a lot I could say against it, but on the other, it doesn’t ever stop being what it ultimately is: a fun, mindless blockbuster. I suppose I’ll figure out in my review how I truly feel about this film, so let’s go find out. Read more

Review – Isle of Dogs

Isle of Dogs, written and directed by Wes Anderson, is infinitely charming and forever witty (as you’d probably expect). There’s such a wonderful feeling that your filled with when watching a Wes Anderson film; the man knows how to put together an experience that invites you in, makes you feel totally comfortable and then guides you along on a journey full of smiles, laughter and fulfilment – Isle of Dogs is all those qualities and more. Now if you’ll allow me, I’d like to invite you on into my review of what is a beautifully crafted film. Read more

Review – Unsane

Unsane, directed by Steven Soderbergh, will unnerve you; it will have you questioning everything, and it will keep you on edge; toying with your assumptions and your comfort levels. It’s in director, Steven Soderbergh’s decision on how to shoot this film, that Unsane becomes a film that from its very first scene has you feeling off-balance. It looks different; it feels different and you’re in a situation that feels… uncomfortable. This film immediately pulled me in with all of these elements and much more. I’m eager to talk about them; particularly Soderbergh’s interesting decision on how to shoot the film and if it works. So, let’s get to it. Read more

Review – The Outsider

The Outsider, directed by Martin Zandvliet, had plenty of elements that could have made it a compelling, thrilling film. But due the film failing to pay any meaningful attention to its main character (plus a stony performance from Jared Leto) it quickly results in a film and an experience that feels hollow and without anything worthy to grapple with mentally. It isn’t a badly made film from a technical standpoint, but The Outsider leaves much to be desired from a narrative standpoint. Let’s make our way into the review and see if there’s anything that makes this film worth your time. Read more

Review – Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider, directed by Roar Uthaug, is a serviceable action-adventure film. However, if you have ever seen a film (or even played a video game) that is similar in structure, then you will more-or-less have experienced this film already. There is nothing particularly remarkable or memorable about it; only that it is entertaining enough in its offerings that you won’t be bored. So, is Tomb Raider a video game movie adaption you should make the time to see? Well, let’s find out in my review, shall we. Read more

Review – Annihilation

Annihilation, written and directed by Alex Garland, had a hypnotic effect on me. I was pulled into this film and enveloped by everything it was giving to me. The experience only deepened as it went on and I became more and more consumed by the film and its questions, its main character, it’s… everything. I haven’t had an experience like it in some time. It’s difficult to explain. I may struggle to talk coherently about, Annihilation but I’m going to try. Let’s get to the review. Read more

Review – You Were Never Really Here

You Were Never Really Here, written and directed by Lynne Ramsay, is at times a quietly tense, brutal film, and other times an explosively intense experience. I was held in place by this film, which totally consumed by attention and my intrigue. It’s dark look at the world was both alluring and distressing, and at its core was a character who was expertly developed through the visual medium of film. I know it won’t be for everyone – there are hurdles that some audience goers won’t want to vault over – but for those that are interested, this is a film that will stay with you. Let’s jump into my review and explore what this film has to offer. Read more

Review – Game Night

Game Night, directed by John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein, has an infectiously entertaining premise that only gets more enjoyable as it goes on. Now, was this a film that had me won over all of the time? No. There were certainly points to this film that didn’t work for me. But I entered this film with a particular frame of mind and it ended up serving both me and the film well. But will it be the same situation for you? Is Game Night worth seeing? Well, let’s find out by jumping into my review and seeing what it has to offer. Read more

Review – Mute

Mute, co-written and directed by Duncan Jones, is a horrendously unpleasant mess. There seemed to be an onslaught of ideas that Jones had for this film and rather than choose the best ones, he just forced them all in and hoped they’d gel with one another. Instead what you get is a film that feels off-balance and directionless from the beginning and throughout. This now marks the third major Netflix film (the other two being, Bright and The Cloverfield Paradox) where I have found myself desperately wanting it to end. Much like watching Mute, reviewing it is going to be a chore, as I will struggle to find anything positive to say about it. Let’s get to the public execution… uh I mean, review. Read more

Review – I, Tonya

I, Tonya, directed by Craig Gillespie, offers a brutal window into the life of Tonya Harding and will undoubtedly shock you. But it’s also a film that feels very rough around the edges. Things feel slapped together in a haphazard, sloppy way, and there is a lack of consistency to much of the presentation. In that mess though, are some truly outstanding performances. Performances that wowed me and are certainly career bests for a fair few of the actors. So, does the messy delivery of the film result in an experience that I would not recommend having, or is there still enough incredible talent on show that you should make the effort to see, I, Tonya? Well, let’s explore those questions and more in my review, shall we? Read more

The 2018 Oscars – Best Picture Nominations: Watched, Reviewed and Ranked

This year’s best picture category has some incredible films – seriously, this is such a strong year. I’ve been doing this for a long time; seeing every film nominated for best picture, reviewing them and then ranking them, and 2018 is the year in which I have had the most difficulty trying to rank the films (I’ve reordered my list over a dozen times; never feeling fully confident in my ranking of them). I could easily and happily give six of the films on this list the top spot. They all in different ways and for different reasons deserve the number 1 spot. So, it has been really challenging for me to try to figure out an order that saw nearly every film landing in the right spot on the list.

I think I’ve finally done it… I think I’m now comfortable with where each film has landed on the list. But I know that because of how good so many of these films are, that many people will ultimately disagree with my ranking. I want you to know that it pains me to have to give some of these films lower rankings – but what would be the point in listing them if I was just going to give most of them the top spot. So, let’s get past this rambling section where I try to justify my ranking, and get on with the reason you clicked on this piece in the first place. Here is my ranking of the best picture nominations. Read more

Review – Lady Bird

Lady Bird, written and directed by Greta Gerwig, is wonderful and moving in its simplicity. There’s something so real and so magnetic about this film. It’s eclectic and charming selection of characters pull you in; it’s simple, yet engaging little story charms you, and everything has an air of purity to it that makes it utterly enjoyable. It offered a host of emotions to dance between and it left me with a smile on my face by the end. This is a review I’m going to enjoy writing, because there’s nothing better than getting to gush about a film that sidles its way into your heart. So, let’s get to it. Read more

Review – Black Panther

Black Panther, co-written and directed by Ryan Coogler, achieves something pretty special (especially when you consider that it’s another Marvel movie); Coogler has created a really personal feeling film; one with an identity and message that sees it standing separate from the usual MCU confines. It wasn’t a film I was immediately enamoured with and it is still plagued with some of the irritating issues that plague all Marvel films (issues that I do think hold it back from being something truly game-changing for the genre), but for the first time in a while, I’m actually looking forward to writing and talking about a new Marvel release. So let’s get into the meat of the review and see what it is that makes this film standout in a cluttered universe of films. Read more

Review – The Mercy

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

Review – The Cloverfield Paradox

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

Review – Phantom Thread

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