Sunshine Blogger Award

Introduction

 

Sometimes you wake up and find out that, as you slept, you got nominated for something big and important like a Nobel Peace Prize… othertimes you wake up to see you’ve been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger award, which is actually latin for “Fun silly listicle where half the work was done for you by the person who nominated you” which in this case was by the amazing The Blog Complainer who is just generally a great reviewer who you probably already follow, or at least you should. Go on, go over there and click the Follow button, I’ll wait.

 

So basically this is one of those “Do a thing and then get 11 others to do a thing” lists which in general I have avoided in life but… well, it’s free content, this one looked like enough fun that I could enjoy it and I get to come up with a bunch of questions at the end so let’s see how this goes.

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Hellboy (2019) – Aww, Hell!

Released: 11th April
Seen: 11th April

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In 1993 the comic book artist Mike Mignola created the character of Hellboy for Dark Horse comics. A demon-human hybrid, the character became a big enough hit with readers to get an adaptation in 2004 with the movie Hellboy that was written and directed by Guillermo del Toro who managed to turn it into a minor box office hit, pulling in almost 100 million worldwide on a 66 million budget. It got enough critical praise and a cult following to get Universal to shell out for a sequel with the same cast and same creative team, 4 years later letting out Hellboy 2: The Golden Army which fared even better, netting almost 160 million on an 85 million budget and (at least as far as I’m concerned) was just a better movie all around. Now it’s a decade later and rebooting old franchises is all the rage, and Guillermo Del Toro is coming off of two Oscar wins for his beloved film The Shape of Water so now would be the perfect time to get him to come back, drag Ron Perlman with him to don the red latex again and knock everyone out with an amazing Hellboy movie… or you could just get a bunch of completely different people to try and make money off the name alone and hope to god no one actually cares about being entertained, that’s a valid option.

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DC Did What Marvel Didn’t

For the last decade, Marvel has basically owned the cinema landscape. Since the release of Iron Man, they have never left the top 10 highest grossing films list of each year, the only exception being in 2009 when they didn’t release a film (remember when there was a year that didn’t have a Marvel film? Memories). In all that time they have proven to dominate the cultural conversation around movies, and recently they even added an Oscar to the collection of things they pulled off. But there is one thing that they didn’t pull off yet, that their competitor DC just pulled off with Shazam! and I’m in the mood to talk about that. The catch is, in order to talk about it I have to spoil a few things so if you haven’t seen Shazam! then be warned, I’m spoiling a lot of major moments that you’re going to want to see so this is where you abandon this editorial discussion and go see the film, then come back because I require validation.

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SHAZAM! (2019) – Hot Damn!

Released: 4th April
Seen: 4th April

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I’ve previously talked on this blog about how nervous I get walking into DC films. After their attempt at an expanded universe netted exactly one good film (Wonder Woman, for the record) and got them a resounding box office failure with their massive team-up film… let’s just say that I get nervous when I walk into these things. Then Aquaman happened and it was above any expectation. I dare say that I should’ve probably given it an even 4 out of 5 now that I look back on it because it was a genuinely fun playful movie that understood that the material was not meant to be dark and so it didn’t bother being pointlessly grim. With the advertisements for Shazam! I was admittedly a little more excited, there was a brighter tone that excited me and made me hopeful that they were going to get this right… oh my god, oh my god you guys!

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Pet Sematary (2019) – Sometimes Dead Isn’t Better

Released: 4th April
Seen: 3rd April (Advanced Screening)

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Picture it. Hollywood, 1989. The film Pet Sematary, based on the 1983 Stephen King novel of the same name, was released to cinemas to some serious aplomb. Getting really great critical reviews and slamming the box office, it’s currently the 5th highest earning Stephen King adaptation before you account for inflation (after inflation it gets to 6th). It’s a genuine masterpiece of horror that leans more on the concepts than actual scares and lets the situation itself be where the horror comes from. With genuinely great performances by most of the cast (let’s just pretend the lead actor isn’t in this discussion), it’s a film that you absolutely need to see because it’s a genuine heart stopper… and because knowing about what happens in the original actually makes this movie have a much more powerful effect on you as an audience member.

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Wonder Park (2019) – Wonder Meh

Released: 4th April
Seen: 31st March (Advance Screening)

Wonder Park Info

So, I’m not exactly a theme park enthusiast. I’ve tried to go to them before and never really enjoyed them. Maybe it’s the people, maybe it’s the food, maybe it’s the weight restrictions that basically tether my feet to the ground that I don’t want to walk on for four hours for three rides, I’ve just never been big on them. However, films about theme park rides? I… don’t care for those either, but only because they’ve never actually been good. With the notable exception of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie, a film based on a theme park never seems to work and only seems to irritate the audience that goes to see it. When a film was announced to be about a girl who builds a magical theme park, I was ready to be annoyed and irritated by it. I was prepared for it to be Emoji Movie level trash. I was ready to sit down and write almost 2000 words about why it was an abhorrent piece of cinematic sludge that will poison your children’s minds and render them mute with its awfulness… but that implies that what I saw had something in it that was interesting enough to elicit that reaction from me and the only reaction I really have is “Oh, that exists”.

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Five Feet Apart (2019) – Stay Away

Released: 28th March
Seen: 30th March

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The Teen Romance genre is not a genre made for critics. They’re never really meant for anyone other than a very specific demographic, never have loftier goals besides giving people the feels and usually are variations on a trope with some mild set dressing. Nicholas Sparks literally put his kids through college writing books that played specifically to this audience and there is a large fanbase for this kind of film. I, meanwhile, am a 31-year-old gay man who has become cynical about these films due to overexposure so the question becomes, can I put aside my biases against this genre and be fair? Well, I tried but it doesn’t help that the movie sucks.

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