Fantasy Island (2020) – Not My Fantasy

Released: 13th February
Seen: 16th February

There seem to be two main ways to adapt a TV series to film, as far as I can tell. The first is the straight forward continuation of the TV series into the new format, telling a story that’s just too big for the small screen. This kind of adaptation gave us El Camino, The Simpsons Movie and Charlie’s Angels, films that told stories in a similar vein to the series. Then there’s the riskier gamble, one that takes the series and comments on it by pushing it into a new genre, usually comedy. This lets us witness 21 Jump Street, Baywatch and the eternally baffling CHiPS movies in recent years. When you do this right, you can get gold… when you do it wrong you get Fantasy Island.

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Midway (2020) – Midway Of The Road

Released: 30th January
Seen: 14th February

So… the guy who directed Independence Day and that really bad American remake of Godzilla wants us to take him seriously. Roland Emmerich, a director who only has 2 films that got above average reviews from critics, would really like it if you could look at his film Midway and say “Why, Roland, you are an artist who is right up there with all the other great war filmmakers”. I would love to say that, I genuinely would. I would love to have a fun subversive twist by ending this slightly sarcastic paragraph with the shocking reveal that this film is actually great… but I’m not a liar and “it’s average” is not enough, especially when the average Roland Emmerich film is so awful.

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Sonic The Hedgehog (2020) – Gotta Go

Released: 13th February
Seen: 13th February

Remember this? Remember when this image was originally seared into the brains of people around the world? Remember the nightmares? The shakes? Do you remember the fear that at any moment this small blue demon from the depths of hell could emerge from the shadows in the corner of your room and the last thing you’d hear before you were forced to look at your own intestines was a tiny innocent-sounding “Meow”? Well, I remember, I remember it well. I still can’t listen to Gangsta’s Paradise unless I’m wearing brown pants. 

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Color Out Of Space (2020) – We're Hues Out In Space

Released: 6th February
Seen: 11th February

The Colour Out Of Space is a 1927 story by H.P. Lovecraft about the events that happen after a meteorite crashes to earth. If I were to boil the entire idea down to one sentence, it’s basically about a light of sentient evil colour from outer space that sends people crazy and then kills them. It’s an insanely weird idea for a story, so naturally we need to get this to star Nicholas Cage and get the original director of the 1996 version of The Island of Dr Moreau (yes, the weird Marlon Brando version that was such an infamous flop that there’s a documentary dedicated to explaining what the hell went wrong) to helm it. Surely this is going to go splendidly and won’t at all be a big weird mess that pales in comparison to another film involving Nicholas Cage and extreme amounts of primary colours.

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Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) – (2020) – High Flying Fun

Released: 6th February
Seen: 8th February

The 2016 Suicide Squad movie is the definition of a mixed bag. It’s currently the 4th highest-earning film in the DCEU (or whatever the hell we’re calling the batch of DC films since Man of Steel) making almost $750million worldwide which is pretty impressive… it also has a 27% on Rotten Tomatoes right now and is getting a ‘sequel’ next year that will only be bringing back 4 of the actors and has the title THE Suicide Squad which, to me, sounds like they’re masking a reboot under the cover of a sequel. One of the few things that everyone could agree on about the original Suicide Squad movie was that Margot Robbie is an absolutely amazing Harley Quinn and should probably have her own movie. The catch is, Harley Quinn is just a little too insane to be trusted to finish a story on her own and maybe she should have a little bit of backup.

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Uncut Gems (2020) – Colourful and Powerful

Released: 31st January
Seen: 5th February

Australian release schedules kind of suck… a lot. I’ve mentioned this a lot but it keeps needing to be brought up because it keeps causing me to be about 4 months out of sync with the cinematic zeitgeist and it has no reason to be this bad. Back when films were released by sending out 50 reels and having them go from cinema to cinema it made sense but now we’re in the age where a digital copy of the film can be streamed anywhere around the world instantly and the only thing that keeps certain countries waiting several months is bureaucratic bullshit by movie studios who refuse to follow the advice of Van McCoy and change with the times. Anyway, this is why I didn’t get to see Uncut Gems in December when it was THE thing everyone was talking about and why it wasn’t going to appear on my best-of list last year. I had to wait till the end of January for it to pop up on the local version of Netflix so I could watch it and go “Oh, THAT’S why everyone was talking about this film and saying Adam Sandler deserved awards nominations”

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Oscar Predictions – 2020

Well, it’s that time of year again. The time when Hollywood gives itself a loving reach around in the form of statues with asses that resemble the ass of Bette Davis’ first husband. Much like last year, they’re going hostless because they realised people liked it when they didn’t spend 25 minutes hearing jokes from the host about how we’re running 15 minutes late. It’s also just because the Oscars are desperate to seem hip and cool, why do you think Joker has so many nominations? It’s not because of quality, it’s because they’re desperate for young people to tune in so they picked the movie they could stomach nominating (because nominating the comic book movie that wasn’t ashamed to be a comic book movie would just be impossible) and hope the audience of people who proclaim Joker to be the best movie ever will tune in to improve their sagging ratings. 

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Parasite (2019) – Everything You Heard Is Not Enough Praise!!

Released: 27th June 2019
Seen: 5th February

It was worldwide news when Australia decided to turn up the heat and set itself on fire. I don’t need to go into details of it all but suffice to say that it wasn’t exactly a good time to be in the land downunder. Air was awful, the heat was intense and our prime minister decided to go on holiday in Hawaii before coming back to force people to shake his hand for a series of photo ops that went wonderfully for him. A small (we’re talking beyond trivial, but I bring it up for context) side effect was that travelling from my home to Sydney was not going to happen under any circumstances since I had no guarantee the fire wouldn’t block the way and because the air quality was roughly the same as smoking 37 cigarettes a day. Because of that, any movie that was only being shown in Sydney was impossible for me to get to because I will do a lot to go see a good movie, but I won’t walk into an inferno.

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The Two Popes (2019) – Two Popes Are Holier Than One

Released: 27th November 2019
Seen: 3rd February

In 2017, Anthony McCarten wrote The Pope as a stage play. Sadly I don’t know who was in it originally (and god damn it’s impossible to find out any details of that 2017 production even though I know it existed!) but it was apparently clear to everyone from the jump that this little biographic play about the old pope and the new pope having a lengthy conversation was destined to become a movie. It was also pretty obvious to everyone that Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce were the guys who should take the lead. In Netflix’s bid to try and get an Oscar for Best Picture, they bought the rights and produced the movie version, probably figuring that the last three things Anthony McCarten wrote (Theory of Everything, Darkest Hour and Bohemian Rhapsody) all ended up with Best Picture nods so if they had him adapt his own stage play then it might happen again… it didn’t, cos this isn’t a best picture nominee, but the film is still pretty damn good.

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