The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, has ample opportunity to fill you with a bevy of emotions. It could delight you, it could unnerve you, it could fill you with sadness or leave you feeling full of joy… but unfortunately my time spent with the film left me mostly feeling bored and full of sighs of tedium. Despite a varied and talented cast, and six individual short stories, there’s a constant flat emptiness to the proceedings of the film, and only in two of the stories did I ever find myself caring about the little tales I was experiencing. There’s certainly much to unpack with this film, so let’s not dilly-dally with the introduction anymore and instead get on with the review. Read more
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
So 2016 has been a mixed year in terms of films; the summer blockbuster season was… well a bust, and there have been a lot of films that haven’t fully hit the mark (for me). But, there have also been some real treasures – some films that have been absolutely exceptional; ones that I didn’t see coming. Now of course this is all about the films that for me, just couldn’t escape my head. The ones that burrowed themselves into my memory banks, set up shop, and politely – or sometimes quite forcefully – told me that they planned on being there for the long-haul. This was something I was completely okay with.
I suppose I should lay what you can expect from this piece, as I’m not intending for it to be the usual ‘Top 10’ lists that you’re going to be seeing around this time of year. What I want to do with this is not necessarily focus on what might be considered the absolute best-of-the best from 2016; the films that were perfect in their every effort and deserve to be recognised as the next masterpieces. This is more about me shining a light on some films that, for one reason or another (those reasons will be laid out in detail when I talk about each film) just had an effect on me, made it so that they stuck around and kept me thinking about them. The films are in no particular order, but my favourite film of 2016 will be in there somewhere. But don’t worry, you’ll know when that comes up.
I also want to point out that this list only contains films released in the UK in 2016. So films like, La La Land, Midnight, Manchester by the Sea, etc. films which everyone is singing the praises of, will not be contenders for this list. I want to keep it contained to only films released in UK cinemas in 2016. That way I can give everything a fair shot from this year.
So yeah, that’s what I intend to do with this piece. You’ll definitely recognise a lot of these films, and many other people will assuredly be talking about them, but I’m also hoping there will be 1-or-2 that slipped under your radar, and reading about them here gives you that little nudge to go watch them. So without further-a-due, let’s get into the films that stood out to me, and made their presence known, in 2016. Read more
The Witch, directed by Robert Eggers, is a film with a distressing atmosphere. Under the fearful and unbending love of God, this is a film that unsettles with its simpler times; sounds that unease you, scenes that disturb you, and a seemingly inevitable downfall of all, makes this a film that controls your every moment of watching it. I’m looking forward to breaking down the many complicated facets of, The Witch so let’s get that underway. Read more