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Films watched in 2021


Raylenth
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Eddie The Eagle.  That was a lovely film.  I have a vague memory if that olympics but obviously didn't appreciate what he had done at the time.  I know the film is essentially a fictionalised version of what really happened but it's a good reminder of how courageous he was to stick with it in the face of everything and to fulfil his dream.  He knew he wasn't going to win, but that didn't matter.  Taron did very well in the role and really embodied Eddie's mannerisms.  

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#ALIVE (2020)

4/5 (No spoilers)

Now showing on Netflix is this Korean zombie-thriller which can only be described as 'CASTAWAY (2000) with zombies'. It tells the story of Oh-Joon (Yoo Ah-In), a young man trapped alone at home while hordes of undead surround his apartment complex. With telephone lines down and no internet, isolation starts to kick in along with lonliness and hunger making this film especially relevant in Covid times. 

With its intelligent themes this is not your basic zombie action movie like TRAIN TO BUSAN (2016). Although there IS a lot of action in #ALIVE its more than that and includes an exploration of one's mental state. While watching the film you may feel that "Alone" would have been a better title but that was actually the name given to the American version of the film (also from 2020) which had the same writer, Tom Naylor. This Korean version #ALIVE, originated from the same screenplay as the American version but was further developed and adapted (and improved upon) by the Korean film's director, Cho Il-hyung. 

This film is thankfully devoid of the usual cliche of emotional sub-plots seen all too often in survival horror films; Oh-Joon isn't 'coincidentally' suffering from some personal past trauma or an old argument with his family or some other unnecessary nonsense in a bid to flesh-out the character. He's just a dude trying to survive zombies, nothing more.

If TRAIN TO BUSAN: PENINSULA (2020) disappointed you then #ALIVE may restore your faith in K-zombies. Its fun, exciting and taut with enough action and scares to keep genre fans happy topped-off with a spark of originality in an over-saturated arena. #ALIVE is the best horror film of 2020. As ever, with these foreign language films the English dubbing is awful so watch it with English subs.

Edited by nicky
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WONDER WOMAN 1984 (2020)

2.5 (No spoilers)

WW84 was 2020's last hope for a big Hollywood hit but being the only big 'summer' event movie we'd get Warner Bros basically kicked us in the balls and told us to suck it up . It's a joke of film with a shoddy, dumb, goofy script that takes it audience for IDIOTS! 

Firstly, it's too damn long. Why does it take 2.5 hrs to tell such a simple story? Even the first two AVENGERS films were shorter. The pacing here is really off with some unnecessarily-long sequences and redundant scenes including the pointless prologue followed by an action scene in a mall staged very 'self-aware' much like a musical. From there things go a bit quiet as WW's alter-ego Diana (Gal Gadot) turns detective as she trots around the globe in her civvies with her old boyfriend who's sudden ability to return in the sequel could make a whole other movie on its own. 

There wasn't much to make this a story unique to Wonder Woman either, it almost could've been ANY generic superhero in her place apart from the lasso. Her action scenes were also very lackluster as she spends too much time in the air swinging around on said lasoo - the VERY obvious wire-work here makes her look like she's floating. That gold suit she wears does NOTHING but remind you of Brian Blessed in FLASH GORDON (1980) and now she can do things she never did before in BvS (2016) and THE JUSTICE LEAGUE (2017) despite WW84 being set before those films.

An important ingredient that made the first film enjoyable was the strong-female/anti-violence theme...but that message the first film carried seems to be forgotten here and instead replaced with a crappy adventure story with a gajillion unanswered questions. There is however one feminist scene which seemed to play out every man-hater's fantasy which made me feel quite uncomfortable.  

A lot of the film doesn't make sense and you will be asked to suspend your disbelief like never before - that's a big ask and unforgivable of 'professional' screenwriters (these are the clowns amateur writers are up against?!). Its hard to see how director Patty Jenkins claims to have made a "masterpiece" or even how anyone could like this film. Maybe they're in denial and desperate to like it after how s***e 2020 has been. The cameo at the end was dumb too.

Edited by nicky
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Finally got round to watching Knives Out at the weekend. Really enjoyed it! I wasn't sure about Daniel Craig at first, but he grew on me throughout the film. I thought the twist ending worked really well too. Overall, a really strong film! Bring on the sequel!

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Bad Boys For Life.  An OK film, about what you would expect from this franchise really.

All I can say about the opening is that if the LAPD can spare that amount of resources just to escort an officer on a non police related matter, their excess budget should be given to a needier station ;)  Also anyone who's a fan of a certain cannibal could see what was coming a mile off with that opening prison scene.

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ARCHIVE (2020)

3/5 (No spoilers)

This could have been a great cyber-punk thriller if it wasn't for the poor and often confusing editing. ARCHIVE tells the story of an isolated widower (Theo James) secretly working on resurrecting his dead wife's conscience (Stacy Martin) in an android-body.  Basically its BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935) fused with a whole bunch of other A.I. thrillers. 

DON'T go into this film knowing nothing, watch the trailer first, because the set-up is not clear; you need to understand the wife IS dead from the start.  But the biggest hurdle I had in this film was getting over the idea that a deceased's person's conscience could be temporarily stored in an "archive" after death. This concept was previously explored in CHAPPIE (2015) except in that film they actually spent time trying to rationalize the idea and get us used to it instead of just dumping it into our laps.
 
The delayed use of flashbacks really didn't help the narrative either; it would have been much simpler if those plot-points were shown at the start so we're not constantly asking "WTF?" and then thinking, "Oh, I get it now" later on. The film evidently could have been made much more straight-forward and some scenes could have been cut out but as it is the film feels like a feature-length version of THE OUTER LIMITS only with added "symbolism". The running theme of robots getting jealous over newer models was a nice touch but it got quite laughable at one point until I remembered they're VERY highly-advanced A.I. 

Its a very cold, somber and isolated film much like Alex Garland's EX-MACHINA (2014) matching even the Kubrickian-style cinematography. ARCHIVE's script, similar to Garland's film, plods along equally as slow but thankfully feels much less pretentious - the script does however feel like it's one gigantic set-up for the final plot-twist. It's a great twist though and almost worth the 90 mins before it but getting there was a bit of a chore. 

Better than EX-MACHINA but not as fun as UPGRADE (2018).

Edited by nicky
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Enola Holmes.  I quite enjoyed this.  Though I've never read any of the Enola Holmes books so I have no idea if they are any good or not I thought the film worked quite well for the most part. I wasn't sure about the Mummy leaving plot, the reasoning seemed a little weak to me but meh.

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The Old guard

I quite enjoyed it, I have to say Sharlize Theron doesn't age at all... Also nice to see one of my countrymen; Matthias Schoennaerts in the movie :D didn't even know he was in it. Action sequences are well done, impressive visual effects. Only the villain was not really credible. 

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The House At The End Of The Street.  It's a mediocre film and not a brilliant plot, alright for a watch but nothing to recommend it to others really

The BFG.  It's OK for a kids film and I admit I did laugh at the farting rocket corgies.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The only film I've watched this year is 'Soul'. It's certainly not up there with the best of Pixar (but that's a very, very high bar) but it was good. I was a tiny bit disappointed by the end. No spoilers, but I was hoping they would go one way, but they went the other way. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Riders Of Justice.  It's classed as a comedy but I'd not really say it is, there were some moments that made me laugh but given there's some pretty hefty themes in the film it's a bit to hard hitting to be an outright comedy.  It's an interesting film, not one I think I will probably be rushing to rewatch, but it's decent enough.

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Greenland.  I really enjoyed this.  I think the very end was a bit too optimistic for a couple of reasons but meh, they did it well for the most part.

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WRONG TURN (2021)

4/5 (No spoilers)

Following 5 schlocky straight-to-DVD sequels I was expecting this reboot to be s*** but was very surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I don't remember much about the original 2003 film except it was only OK but this entry was a vast improvement and tried new things.  

There's a shift in tone as the reboot seems to take itself more seriously and is less slick but it also seems to borrow quite heavily from films like HOSTEL (2006) and GET OUT (2017). And although it's an engaging film there are quite a few plot-points that seem either wasted or don't really make much sense but the thrills and kills were enough for me to look beyond them. 

It's a fairly drawn-out film and in places seems quite rushed particularly the 3rd act. Its also quite choppy and probably could have benefited from better editing and tighter writing but for some reason it still remains intriguing. I did think it was unrealistic though that a gay couple would be going on holiday with two straight couples...even in a dumb horror film.

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4 hours ago, nicky said:

I did think it was unrealistic though that a gay couple would be going on holiday with two straight couples...even in a dumb horror film.

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COMING 2 AMERICA (2021)

2.5/5 (No spoilers)

The 1988 original is a classic so this new sequel was always gonna be a tough act follow and even more so without John Landis directing. But what was missed even more was the adult tone and F-bombs which made up most of the jokes previously.

COMING 2 AMERICA is ultimately an unashamed retread and one big homage to the previous film with not-so-subtle winks at every turn. PREDATORS (2010) was like that too but C2A takes it much further. If C2A spent more time trying to be its own film and less effort constantly reminding us there was another (better) film before it, it may have been more tolerable. Even the romance in the story feels more like a sub-plot and feels very rushed and unconvincing.

The jokes were NOT funny, they were cringey and so too are the musical sequences ('Gett Off') which border on fantasy/surrealism. Leslie Jones was quite funny a couple of times but Murphy just doesn't feel like the same charming Akeem we once knew, even his accent has changed and he's more of a supporting character. And Wesley Snipes was just irritating especially with that stupid walk. They tried to cram in as many of the old characters back in as they could too, making this more of a fan-service event rather than a sequel/story worth telling.

Eddie's done worse but C2A is only watchable thanks to nostalgia. Its a missed opportunity and both lazy and arrogant of writers to think they could get away with just using fan-service and repetition (making it predictable) to carry the film. It's "Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull" all over again but at least its better than that other recent 30 year sequel, BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC (2020).

 

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I watched Guy Ritchie's 'The Gentlemen'. Not by choice, it was a watch-along thing, with people I don't know. All I can say about the film is that there were lots of very naughty words and twisty-turny nonsense. Also, Hugh Grant was great - obviously.

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36 minutes ago, natedammit said:

I watched Guy Ritchie's 'The Gentlemen'. Not by choice, it was a watch-along thing, with people I don't know. All I can say about the film is that there were lots of very naughty words and twisty-turny nonsense. Also, Hugh Grant was great - obviously.

Were you forced to watch at gun point?

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54 minutes ago, Raylenth said:

Were you forced to watch at gun point?

I did the watch-along by choice, but the film was not my choice. I just didn't want anybody to think I had watched 'The Gentlemen' because I was like "ooh, this looks like the film for me". Especially as it's only the second film I've watched this year.

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