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
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
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
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
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
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