Released: 2nd March Seen: 6th December (Catch-Up Screening)
During the ’70s and 80’s, there was a series of films called Death Wish where Charles Bronson played a father whose wife and child were attacked in a home invasion and ended up becoming a vigilante to try and put an end to the injustice in the town. While the series was never a hit with critics, audiences ate it up because it was a revenge story that acted as a little bit of escapism, the idea that any man could pick up a gun and save the town was enticing and managed to endure long enough for a run of sequels that became Charles Bronson’s most famous role. So, what if someone took that cult series of films and polished it up to look mostly acceptable and then threw in an actor with no charm, charisma or ability to move at a speed above a lethargic snail with back problems? Yeah… this is not going to be fun.
Released: 19th January Seen: 4th December (Catch-Up Screening)
This year might be the best year Nicolas Cage has had in a very long time, this year he’s put his names on such amazing films as Teen Titans Go! To The Movies, Mandy and Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse, films where he’s been allowed to have a lot of fun and either deliver a really clever vocal performance or just be the pure maniacal insane man we kind of love. Mom and Dad combines both of those performance styles for what is arguably his best role of the year, and one of the most delightfully dark films in recent memory.
Released: 6th December Seen: 3rd December (Advanced Screening)
One of the great joys of doing this is getting to really see some intense hard-hitting films. As I slowly start to finish out 2018 I look back and think about the hard intense thrillers, the powerful dramas, the deep explorations of the human psyche that I have sat through for the last 12 months and after all that it’s about time that I got to have a nice simple movie that I could switch my brain off during and just enjoy for its visceral delight in being over the top… and Overlord provided me exactly that.
Released: 13th December Seen: 2nd December (Advanced Screening)
This year has been particularly good for superhero movies, possibly the best that we’ve had since Marvel decided they wanted to take over the cinematic landscape. From truly important cultural milestones like Black Panther, to displays of just what the genre is capable of like The Avengers, to silly little parody films that I still can’t even begin to get enough of like Teen Titan’s Go To The Movies, it’s safe to say this year has been an absolute boon time for the Superhero movie… and now we get to throw Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse into that pantheon of truly great superhero movies.
One of the standard genre’s that is almost always guaranteed to be a really good time is the heist film. For some reason, we all just enjoy a movie where a bunch of criminals stick it to someone higher in the social food chain while also making a ton of money. Widows is certainly going to fit that standard mould, a bunch of people plan to steal a large amount of money that will stick it to the people above them in the social food chain and that would be good enough. It would be enough if Widows was just a standard heist film but it also happened to star a group of amazing women, that would be good enough… but this is a Steve McQueen film, good enough doesn’t cut it here.
For most of my life, I’ve been a huge fan of the Harry Potter franchise. I got the first two books from my grandmother for Christmas long ago, just before the third one came out in 1999 (FEEL OLD YET!?) and since then I was that person who had to get the new one on the day it went on sale. I was such a fan that I preordered a copy of the final book and still was in line outside the store before 6am on the day that it went out (Because Australia didn’t do a midnight release) just so that I could get my hands on it. I devoured the last book in 2 days. Every movie I went to see with another one of my grandparent’s, the same one who I mentioned taking to see Christopher Robin a while ago, and we always would go on opening day to see it with a packed theatre and enjoy the absolute glee that came with seeing these books that we loved being brought to life. I was there watching as these major elements of my childhood became reality but when they announced they were doing Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, I wasn’t interested. By the time that movie came out I was in my late 20s and was cynical about so much, I believed it to be nothing but a cheap cash grab created by Warner Brothers because they were desperate to have a steady income since their superhero movies kept turning out to be giant steaming piles of excrement littering the cinematic pavement. Since I knew I would be reviewing the sequel today, last night I decided to finally watch the original Fantastic Beasts movie and I found it to be genuinely delightful. Sure, I was right about it being a cash grab designed to rake in obscene amounts of money from a reputable brand name but at least it tried to be entertaining. It had a charm to it, a warmth that emanated throughout the film that was infectious. It was basically Pokemon but with wizards in it and I was excited to see where they were going to take this story, maybe it was going to be more than just a cheap excuse to slip a hand into my wallet and extract a few bucks.
So today we lost one of the greatest creators who ever lived. The incomparable Stan Lee passed away, leaving behind him a universe of characters that have spent the last decade changing the film landscape. If you’ve been to a cinema to see a film in the last 10 years, chances are that Marvel’s logo popped up and so did Stan in one of his iconic cameo’s. The most recent in the tidal wave of films to come out is Venom, the last theatrically released Marvel film during Stan’s lifetime and it seemed appropriate for me to see it the day the news broke… for the record, he has a cameo in this one, and I won’t pretend I didn’t tear up a little. While I was doing that though, I was also thinking “Damn… I wish this was a better film right now”