Chasing Happiness (2019) – I’m A Sucker For This

Released: 4th June
Seen: 10th June

I first became aware of the Jonas Brothers at the same time that the world became aware of them, Camp Rock in 2008. While I never watched that movie, the image of a trio of dark-haired teens trying to be a band was instantly engrained in my head along with the phrase “Corporate Created Crap”. What can I say; even when I was 20, I was a cynical bastard. They just were not my kind of band, they were a band that seemed manufactured to get the attention of 13-year-old girls, they had dorky songs about a Lovebug that wasn’t named Herbie and had a stupid Disney sitcom and were one step below High School Musical… again, I WAS (and still am) A CYNICAL BASTARD. I just didn’t get their popularity, they came up out of nowhere and I could swear they were another band like The Monkees. You know, created by a label to make a stupid sitcom where a new song would be attached to every episode and the idea was to basically force them into a market that probably didn’t want them. Give me a C. Give me a Y. Give me a –NICAL BASTARD. So anyway, when they released a documentary onto Amazon Prime about their life I, now being a 30 something cynical you-know-what, decided to see if maybe there was more to them. It may have taken me a decade, but now I finally get it.

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The Secret Life Of Pets 2 (2019) – Woof

Released: 20th June (Advance Screening)
Seen: 8th June

The animation company Illumination has something of an interesting reputation when it comes to critical acclaim. Their Despicable Me series, for example, was a breath of fresh air that everyone seemed to love… until they unleashed Minions on the world and people began contemplating an open revolt against the company. Their film Sing also scored a lot of praise, but then they would unleash a couple of Dr Seuss adaptations that were pretty abysmal (one of them so bad that it made me go through a period of uncontrollable rhyming). They’re very hit and miss so going into The Secret Life of Pets 2, I had some trepidation While I hadn’t seen the original I have heard enough about it to know that it was a hit and if we follow Illuminations pattern, this one had a good chance of being a miss… but turns out, it was closer to a light tap of the bat. Still technically a hit, but nothing to write home about.

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Tolkien (2019) – Everybody’s Tolkien At Me

Released: 13th June (Advance Screening)
Seen:7th June

To say that the 1937 book The Hobbit was a game changer would be an understatement. When it comes to the fantasy genre, one could say that The Hobbit and its follow up novels are the reason the fantasy genre still continues to have a life. It’s a work that inspired countless authors and, of course, eventually, lead to three of the most beloved movies of the last 20 years with the iconic Lord of the Rings trilogy. They also made movies based on The Hobbit but we don’t talk about those. Those films were huge though, truly massive moments that are landmarks of cinema and when they ran out of Hobbit movies, someone had to find something to fill the void and since the rights for the stories are with Amazon for that upcoming prequel series, the only way to fill the void would be to do a story about the author himself. You can almost hear the executive squealing with delight when they came up with that idea, even more joyful when they realised that Tolkien was in the First World War so they could do a huge battle scene. Basically, this was a way to get another Lord of the Rings movie out on a smaller budget and it would’ve worked so wonderfully… if, ya know, it was engaging.

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Dark Phoenix (2019) – X-Men? More Like ZZZ-Men

Released: 6th June
Seen: 6th June

It would be a lie for me to say that I’ve kept up with the X-Men saga over the years. I saw the first three movies in the original series, I might’ve been one of the few to actually kind of enjoy X-Men: The Last Stand, and then I didn’t really come back until Deadpool, Logan and Deadpool 2. This new group of young X-Men never interested me so I never really went to go see them and felt no real need to have this franchise be a part of my cinematic diet… and then, ya know, stupid me decided he wanted to try and be a critic and therefore would need to see every film when it came out. I, of course, was extra stupid and decided to do this right around the time that the series apparently decided to stop being interesting… because I’m clearly a bad person who doesn’t deserve nice things. I certainly don’t think I was bad enough to deserve the kind of boredom that was being offered to me by Dark Phoenix but hey, apparently I’ve just been that much of a bad boy.

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Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) – Yes Gawd-Zilla

Released: 30th May
Seen:31st May

Since 1954 the world has had a repeated fascination with the Japanese movie monster Godzilla, a gigantic sea creature that was spawned by the nuclear radiation that would also regularly spit fire like it was nobody’s business. Godzilla is possibly one of the most iconic film characters of all time and for years he was a metaphor for nuclear war, natural disasters, basically anything that could best be embodied by a giant nuclear sea creature. Appearing in 35 films that span the gamut from iconically bad to some of the most fun you’ll have watching men in dinosaur suits slap each other, it’s a series that everyone has at least heard of and that Hollywood has tried to make on multiple occasions. The first time Hollywood got their slimy hands on Godzilla was in 1998 with Roland Emmerich decided he was going to make a Godzilla film even though, turns out, he didn’t even really make a Godzilla movie since he basically just made a movie with a weird dinosaur. It was a movie that was so bad that Toho, the company behind Godzilla, trademarked the new design as “Zilla” because there was nothing godly about that mess (except, perhaps, a godly amount of fish). Then in 2014, we got another Godzilla film and while that one was a step up from what came before, it also had maybe 10 minutes of Godzilla in it and spent a ton of time with the humans that no one cares about. So now, here we are, the third time that Hollywood would take on the king of the monsters and… god damn it, they finally got the damn point.

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Loqueesha (2019) – NO! No, you go in the corner and think about what you did!

Released: 21st May
Seen: 29th May

Earlier this month a trailer was brought to the attention of the internet for a movie titled Loqueesha, a film by alleged comedian Jeremy Saville that was about a white man pretending to be a black woman in order to try and get a job. This trailer blew the hell up on social media because everyone had to know just who the hell would release such a film. It got such sweeping negative attention that the original uploader of the YouTube video ended up deleting the video from their account. There was controversy galore, not only because the trailer was obviously racist and unfunny as all hell but because it came out that a claim in the trailer that the film played at the San Luis Obispo Film Festival turned out to be a lie because the film was actually pulled before the festival and therefore never screened once. So, you’d think with all this obscene negative reaction to the trailer that the smart thing to do would be to lie low, never release the film or maybe dump it out on VOD in a year or so when the heat died down but no one involved in this film ever claimed to do the smart thing so here we are, not even a month later and the film was put on Amazon Prime. I will now talk about it for a large amount of time in order to protect you from what is in this film… I’m watching it, so you literally never have to.

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Rocketman (2019) – Hello Yellow Brick Road

Released: 30th May
Seen: 25th May (Advance Screening)

Last year I reviewed a little indie film called Bohemian Rhapsody, you might have heard of it. At the end of that review, I gave the film a 3 and a half rating, a good score for a good film but the more I’ve ruminated on it, the more I realise how the film just isn’t that good. If I were to review it today it’d probably get a 2 and a half star rating. That’s kind of the fun thing about reviewing, as you watch more films you build up a bigger library of references and can spot flaws easier. So when I saw the trailer for Rocketman, I was ready to be a lot more critical about the film. I was ready to not be won over by whimsy but to actually do this properly, and when I found out that the director of Rocketman was the same man who was brought in to replace Bryan Singer on Bohemian Rhapsody after everyone finally realised that Bryan Singer is a bit of an asshole (to put it lightly) I was excited. This is it, a do-over, a chance to try again and make sure that this time I spot a gaudy mess for what it is… and then they just had to screw up my plans by actually producing a fun enchanting film that put the biggest smile on my face. I swear, it’s almost unfair.

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