The Films That Stood Out to Me in 2018

Not to start this celebration of films off on a glum note, but 2018 has been one of the toughest years for me, personally, and because of that my time spent in the cinema or watching films hasn’t been as extensive as previous years. Why am I telling you this? Well it means that this year’s list might have what you may consider to me omissions. That could either be because I wasn’t able to see the film, or I thought they weren’t as good as everyone else seemed to think they were (I’m talking about you, Hereditary).

Still though, this has been another great year for cinema, and when I have made it to the chapel of film, I’ve been treated to a number of special experiences – I even found myself wowed and excited by a Marvel movie this year with Avengers: Infinity War (a film that I enjoyed the first time round and then loved the second time). So, despite my limited time with films this year, there are still plenty of standout films that I’m excited to share with you in this list.

Before I get started properly, I want to as always lay out the fact that this list is not one comprised of what are perhaps the absolute best films of the year (though some definitely are in my opinion). This is more a list about exploring films that for one reason or another stuck with me and made an impact on me when I saw them. And as always, this list will contain the film that was my favourite of the year – a decision I have struggled with when looking at the list. So, enough with this rambling intro, let’s get to the list and see what were the films that stood out to me in 2018! Read more

Review – First Man

First Man, directed by Damien Chazelle, takes a bold direction with one of history’s most well-known and beloved figures. Rather than a pleasant, uplifting exploration of the life of Neil Armstrong, First Man pulls back the curtain and explores the darker, far more depressing story of a man who truly lived a life full of struggle and pain. However, with a solemn atmosphere and a hefty feeling runtime, I do think this is a film that some audience goers might struggle with. So, let’s explore all that First Man has to offer, and the methods it employs to do so, to see if it’s a film you’ll be wanting to see. Read more

The Films That Stood Out to Me in 2017

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

Review – Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049

*This review contains spoilers for Blade Runner 2049*

Blade Runner 2049, directed by Denis Villeneuve, was everything I wanted it to be and more. The original film is one that splits people; it’s not an easy watch and unless you are willing to give yourself over to how it wants to tell its story, you will struggle to engage with it. Questions do not result in answers – at least not from the film itself. This time round though, it isn’t as difficult a film to approach. There is enough, that I think a general audience can interact and comprehend what the film is trying to do. But that doesn’t mean original fans are left wanting. 2049 is a film that is full of qualities to adore and consume and I’m looking forward to talking about as many of them as I can, while also touching upon the achievements of the first film. So, come with me on this rambling journey through two brilliant films. Read more

The 2017 Oscars – Best Picture Nominations: Watched, Reviewed and Ranked

In my opinion, this is the best selection of films nominated for ‘Best Picture’ in quite a few years. That’s not to say that the previous years have been lacking, as there have been some outstanding films nominated. It’s just that this year is near enough a clean sweep in terms of the overall deservingness and quality, when all the films are considered.

But let’s stop waffling on about the quality of the overall list, and actually talk about each film individually – giving them the time and the praise they deserve. I’ll be ranking these films from my least favourite one to the one that I thought was the best. But if I’m being honest, only 1 of the films on this list is out-of-place when compared to the rest – anyway, on with the list. Read more

Review – La La Land

la-la-land

La La Land, written and directed by Damien Chazelle, is vibrant, fun and uplifting; a clear love letter to a time in cinema that’s long past. Chazelle really does construct something that’s so full of wonder and romance. Films like this don’t really exist anymore, and to see something be so unabashedly what it is, certainly makes for an enchanting film watching experience. But… the film is lacking in something, and while it isn’t a mood killer, it was something that was forever on my mind. La La Land is a film with heaps upon heaps of praise (and rightly so) but I still have one main issue with the film; an issue that I have to talk about. So let’s make our way into the review and see what it is that makes the film so loved. Read more

The Films That Stood Out to Me in 2016

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

Review – The Nice Guys

The Nice Guys

The Nice Guys, directed by Shane Black, is an absolute joy to watch. This is a film that is filled with greatly defined characters, the stylistic look of the 70’s, and a story that keeps you (for the most part) engaged. The Nice Guys is one of those films that you just settle into and enjoy; no hassle, no boredom. So what is it that works so well in the film and what is it that doesn’t? Let the review begin, and we’ll see what’s what. Read more

The Oscars 2016: Best Picture Round-Up

The Oscars

So now that I have seen all the films nominated for best picture, and reviewed them all, I wanted to go ahead and create an easy place for anyone to be able to find and read my full and in depth reviews on all of them. I also wanted to rank the films from what I felt where the best to the not so best. Now what I mean by not so best, is that while the films are certainly still good they just don’t compete on the same level as the ones higher on the list. At no point am I saying that these films are bad or shouldn’t be seen, simply that they lack the same level of quality and deserved attention as some of the others.

Before I jump into the films I want to give my thoughts on the selection itself. Personally for me this year the assortment of films was weak compared to previous years – that’s frustrating because there have been some films that have more than deserved the attention and recognition, but for some reason where overlooked or perhaps not even considered (I’m not sure).

Personally for me, four films that have certainly been overlooked and were much more deserving of a place in the best picture category were Sicario – directed by Denis Villeneuve (you can read the full review for that here), Carol – directed by Todd Haynes (full review for that here), Steve Jobs – directed by Danny Boyle (the review for that is here) and finally Creed – directed by Ryan Coogler (of which the review for that is here). In my mind all these film were astounding watches and far more deserving of the nomination. What would I have taken out in place of those films? That’s easy – Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, The Martian and most definitely The Big Short. Again all great films (except one of course) but let’s be honest nowhere near the same level as the films I’ve just mentioned.

But anyway that’s my two cents on all of that. Now I want to get onto the main purpose of this whole piece – The Best Picture Nominations. So what I’m going to do is rank the films from 1 to 8 (favourite to least favourite) and then give you a quick snippet of what I liked (or didn’t like) about the film. Also if you want to know more, you can click on any of the films and get taken to my full reviews which will let you know more fully what I thought about the film. Sound good? Great, then on with the show then. Read more

Review – The Big Short

The Big Short

The Big Short, directed by Adam McKay is a film that seems hell bent on getting in its own way and making it almost impossible to deliver a story that is tolerable to sit thorough. So much of the film is unnecessarily gaudy and intrusive. More than delivering what is an interesting point in our history – The Big Short is intent on trying to show off just how clever and different it is… it doesn’t, it just fails. Read more

Review – Lost River

Lost River

Lost River, directed by Ryan Gosling is a film with a simple story, but it is one that delivers everything (including that story) in such an unconventional, unique way. From characters that you can understand, to characters that are so unusual, Lost River is film that almost seems to reinvent itself every few scenes. Nothing is normal, yet everything is somehow understandable. This is a film that will play with your expectations, but not for the reason your thinking right now. Read more