Marriage Story (2019) – Love And Divorce

Released: 6th December
Seen: 7th December

This year I don’t think I’ve been that kind to Netflix original movies. As I look back, most of the year I’ve called them anywhere between average to awful with very few bright spots on the way. It almost feels like I was picking on them but I probably wasn’t any meaner to them than any other production company, they just happen to be the one where I have to visit a site labelled with their name so it’s easier to associate them with the bad product. I can’t forget that I saw Sextuplets on Netflix, it started with their logo and the only way to see it is to go to their site. Meanwhile A Dog’s Purpose, my worst film of 2017, has associations with Universal, Amblin, DreamWorks and Walden Media and I don’t even think of it as being a movie by any of those companies, I just see a bad movie.

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21 Bridges (2019) – Bridge Over Tepid Water

Released: 27th November
Seen: 4th December

So, fun story, I’ve had several opportunities now to go and see Terminator Dark Fate. I’ve had the time, the screenings have been local and I’ve even planned on it… I just can’t be bothered. A week ago when I saw Arctic Justice and Countdown on the same day, I planned on seeing Terminator that day too but ended up not bothering with it because it just didn’t seem like it was worth my time… but Arctic Justice and Countdown? Oh, those I had to go see. Same with Addams Family and Knives Out, I planned on the day I saw those to end with me seeing Terminator but after Knives Out, I just didn’t have the interest to stick around to see it because my day was already officially perfect and I didn’t want anything to ruin that (seriously, if you haven’t seen Knives Out then go see Knives Out and thank me later on). 

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Last Christmas (2019) Give It Away

Released: 7th November
Seen: 2nd December

2016, as a year, is generally remembered as a total dumpster fire where all forms of joy and happiness went to die. Entire nations turned on themselves and decided to do objectively stupid things like leave a certain European union or elect a pumpkin man that was assembled in 2013, had already begun to rot and somehow gained racist sentience (with that one sentence, I do believe I’ve gotten rid of the exact kind of reader one would hope to get rid of) and on top of that it seemed like every other day a celebrity that we loved died, culminating in the shocking death of George Michael on Christmas Day. Yes, there were more shocking deaths after him, but I need to save those for when the time comes to talk about the next Star Wars film. Anyway, naturally with a legend like George Michael there was a whole back catalogue of music that someone was inevitably going to take and turn into a tribute to the late performer. You would hope that they would make a film that was as joyful and cheeky as he was, something to celebrate his life… instead, they made a film that is the definition of saccharine and looted George’s pockets for discarded songs.

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The Irishman (2019) – The Luck Of The Irish

Released: 27th November
Seen: 1st December

So… the discussion around Marin Scorsese lately has been kind of interesting. I’ve avoided bringing up his feelings regarding the Marvel movies on this blog because it never seemed relevant but now I’m going to have to talk about the movie that he was promoting while making those comments so let’s get that out of the way. While I think Martin was wrong, he’s also one of the greatest directors of all time and can, therefore, say any goddamn thing he wants to say about cinema. Plus, he’s still turning out high quality films so as long as he keeps proving why he’s one of the best of all time, I’m good with just about anything he wants to say… even if I strenuously disagree with him and think that his latest film has a few problems, it’s still great and worthy of letting the man say any damn thing he likes.

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Frozen 2 (2019) – Do You Wanna Make A Sequel?

Released: 28th November
Seen: 29th November

In 2013, Frozen came out and destroyed the lives of parents everywhere. While a charming movie, it had the power to make every child under the age of five unable to listen to anything other than the song Let It Go, an earworm so powerful that even typing that simple phrase has popped that song right back into the heads of anyone who saw the movie. It was also one of Disney’s best films, a simple story about two sisters that won the hearts of everyone who saw it. With charming songs sung by Broadway legends and some of the best animation ever seen it was a smashing success, grossing over 400 million at the box office and becoming the third highest-grossing film of the year. Naturally, they were going to end up making a sequel eventually and here we are, 6 years later finally getting a sequel to one of the greatest films of the 2010s. With such a high bar to reach it shouldn’t be a shock that it doesn’t quite make it, but it’s still pretty great.

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Countdown (2019) – Please Be The Final

Released: 24th October
Seen: 27th November

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, Horror is a very silly genre. Almost by design, it’s a genre that will look at something in everyday life and say “What if we did that, but made it deadly”. Stephen King is the master of this, he took cars and cell phones and long grass and found a way to make them terrifying. Sometimes horror also takes something, makes it deadly, and then acknowledges how silly that is. Jack Frost, for example, is about a killer snowman… there is no way on earth to make that scary, so you lean into the comic absurdity of it. So naturally when you hear a plot idea like “It’s an app that kills you”, I kind of expected something a little tongue in cheek… I also expected something fun and I really need to stop doing that because it tends to not happen when I want it to.

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Arctic Justice (2019) – There Is No Justice

No Turning Back (2019) – No, Turn Back!

Released: 7th November
Seen: 27th November

So, this year has been kind of bad for animated films, at least in my experience it has. Maybe I’m unique because I’m the idiot who went to see Flying the Nest, Cats, Here Comes The Grump and Wonder Park all in the same year but it feels like there just aren’t really that many great kids films this year. Sure, Toy Story 4 was really good, Missing Link was amazing (though seriously slept on by most audiences) and there were some bright spots but most of the animated films I’ve seen this year have been on the bad side. It’s almost a respite from the badness that Arctic Justice (AKA Arctic Dogs, AKA Polar Squad AKA “Look, if we keep changing the name then eventually people might think we’re actually worthy of getting their ticket money”) is just stupid and boring instead of just outright hateful towards its audience.

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Widows Walk (2019) – Walk On

Released: 16th December
Seen: 18th November (Lift-Off Film Festival)

When it comes to ghost stories, it’s very hard to get a truly great one. Ghosts are the kind of horror movie creature that can either be genuinely terrifying or goofy as hell with very little in between. I tend to like ghost movies more when the ghosts are used as some kind of metaphor, either for repressed emotions or for grief, because that lets these apparitions be used for something interesting instead of just “an excuse to make a closing door scary”. This movie used ghosts as a metaphor for grief, but it also needed to work a bit on its structure.

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Pooh: The Derrick Rose Story (2019) – Play Ball!

Released: 11th April
Seen: 22nd November (Lift Off Film Festival)

So, I’m not anything close to a sports guy. I don’t get them, I don’t understand them and I have just never enjoyed them. I don’t watch or play them, they do nothing for me. You ask me about Pooh, I’ll start talking about a little yellow bear who is all stuffed with fluff but if you ask a basketball fan about Pooh, they’ll start talking about a man named Derrick Rose who was a rising basketball star that signed on to the Chicago Bulls in 2008 where he was destined for greatness, being the youngest person to win the MVP award and a whole bunch of other sports titles that I do not understand… and then he tore his ACL (Anterior cruciate ligament) and all hell broke loose. Pooh: The Derrick Rose Story charts all of it, from Derrick’s days in Chicago learning to play through to today and it is a shocking tale, to say the least.

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No Turning Back (2019) – No, Turn Back!

Released: 12th April
Seen: 21st November (Lift Off Film Festival)

You know, I get no real joy out of writing a negative review. Sure, it can be cathartic to lay into a film that I felt was offensive or particularly bad but sometimes it feels like I’m kicking a puppy. Sometimes a first-time feature filmmaker makes a genuinely bad film and part of me wants to just ignore it, move on and pretend I didn’t see it… but I did see it and it would feel dishonest not to write about it especially when I have thoughts on it. Just know that this is not exactly fun for me right now, this one I feel bad because I was in the room when the director was asked “Is this a comedy?” and that question should tell you everything about how bad this drama film is.

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