Onward (2020) – Spellbinding

Released: 26th March
Seen: 21st March (Advance Screening Weekend)

Onward might go down as one of the unluckiest movies in recent Disney history since its release just happened to fall when the coronavirus pandemic basically shut down everything, including most theatres. Normally a Pixar film is basically guaranteed to make 100 million in the first week, get its budget covered in the second week and be on the way to one of the highest grossing films of the year. That’s now not happening, thanks to corona. If you want to be in genuine shock at just how suddenly this hit, go look at the box office of Onward. Onward is still technically the top grossing film in America and yet it’s barely cracking a thousand bucks a theatre. I bring this up because it explains why they made a pivot and released this one straight to VOD in the states and why it’ll be on Disney+ soon. So now the question becomes “Is this film worth a slightly higher than normal rental price to stream at home” and honestly? Yeah, because it’s a pretty great film.

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I Still Believe (2020) – You’re Unbelievable

Released: 12th March
Seen: 16th March

About 2 years ago I talked about a film called God’s Not Dead 3: A Light in the Darkness, a biblical sermon disguised as a film made by people who don’t know how films work. In that review, I made the point that a film is going to need more than just religion to work for me. Sure, religion can be an element, but if the entire thing is basically a sermon then I’m not going to be kind to it no matter what the religion is. Enter I Still Believe, a biopic (of sorts) about a contemporary Christian musician named Jeremy Camp and how he met his first wife while making his rise to fame. In theory, this film does what I’m talking about. Faith is a huge factor in the story but there is a story outside of the faith. In theory, I’m OK with this. In practice, it’s a hard pass from me.

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Bloodshot (2020) – More Like BloodMisfire

Released: 12th March
Seen: 12th March

In November 1992, Valiant Comics introduced the world to the character of Bloodshot. A super-soldier gifted with the ability to regenerate damaged tissue due to the nanotechnology that has been injected into his veins, Bloodshot was a huge seller with praise coming out of every orifice, strong enough that it’s still in print today with new issues of the comic coming out within the last year. The character has been rebooted a few times, appeared in other media but had yet to be turned into a movie and since now is the golden age of the comic book movie this would be the best time to make a go of it and… well, they almost have something here. Almost.

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In Search Of Darkness (2019) – Finding The Light

Released: 13th October 2019
Seen: 10th March

In Search Of Darkness Horror Doc Info

I may have mentioned it once or twice (or as many times as I am legally permitted) but I love a good horror documentary. Give me a documentary on how a horror film came to be and I’m a happy boy. The Crystal Lake Memories documentary, all 6+ hours of it, remains my favourite film documentary of all time and a recent film Memory: The Origins of Alien was a great look at one of the greatest horror films of all time. The problem with this kind of documentary though is that it only ever seems to talk about just one film and some days you just want to talk about an entire genre of film… enter In Search Of Darkness, a crowdfunded documentary celebrating one of the greatest decades for horror. 

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The Big Trip (2020) – Fall Over, Play Dead

Released: 5th March
Seen: 8th March

The Big Trip Info

So there seems to be this weird new trend going on at my local cinema and I don’t like it at all. For some reason over the last year, every few months an animated film is put on a big screen that clearly was meant to go direct to DVD. I’ve now seen so many awful animated films in a cinema that I thought I was numb to them. We’re not talking your generally bad animated films either, nothing that’s just bland or boring. No, we’re talking crap like Arctic Justice, Cats (not that one), Here Comes The Grump and Flying the Nest. Films that look like they were made in a month for the express purpose of being sold in bulk to video retailers to help them have filler on their shelves. These movies are not meant to turn up in actual cinemas, they’re not built to be presented there… but they keep on coming, and today we have the first animated abortion of 2020 and oh my god, I hope this is the worst one of this year because I can’t handle any more of this.

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Downhill (2020) – It’s A Disaster Alright

Released: 5th March
Seen: 8th March

Downhill Info

In 2014, the Swedish comedy-drama film Force Majeure told the story of a marriage going through a rough patch caused when an almost avalanche makes the wife and children fear for their lives while the patriarch of the family does a runner. Naturally, this leads to a feeling of “you left us to die, you colossal asshole” to go throughout the remaining family members and they must learn to deal with the knowledge that one of them is a giant hunk of shit. This film got rapturous praise, including a Golden Globe nomination for best foreign film so naturally would go through the same thing a lot of beloved foreign films does and receive a substandard American remake that removes any charm or wit and just makes it into one of the most painful things I’ve ever had the misfortune of sitting through. 

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Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears

Miss Fisher & the Crypt of Tears (2020) – Sadly Not Great

Released: 27th February
Seen: 3rd March

Miss Fisher & the Crypt of Tears Poster Info

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries was an Australian drama series based on the novels by author Kerry Greenwood. It ran for 3 years, airing 32 episodes on the ABC and getting a spin-off, Ms. Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries, in 2019. The show itself was a decent hit by Australian standards and got average reviews throughout its run. The series fans did what a lot of fans do when a series they love ends, begged for them to go again one more time and thus we have been blessed with Miss Fisher & the Crypt of Tears, a film that knows it needs to be more impressive than the TV series was but somehow fails to find its footing.

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The Call Of The Wild Promo Image

The Call of the Wild (2020) – I Hear You Calling

Released: 20th February
Seen: 2nd March

The Call Of The Wild Info

When it comes to movies featuring animals, you could say that I haven’t exactly had the best luck. In fact you could say that any time I see a dog on the poster of a film I break out in a rash and start rocking in place because I’m fairly confident that whatever I’m about to see is going to either bore, infuriate or confuse me. There was the eternally hated A Dog’s Purpose, a film I will never stop complaining about because it’s bad and deserves nothing but ridicule, along with its sequel A Dog’s Journey. There was the spinoff to those two movies that was so boring that I can’t be bothered to type the title even though typing the title would take up less space than this comedic riff about how I won’t type the title, Show Dogs literally had a scene that resembled child grooming pulled out while it was in cinemas, Dolittle was a trash fire of epic proportions. The only film of the last few years that prominently featured a member of the canine family that didn’t want to make me start setting fires was Pick of the Litter, that adorable documentary about how they train guide dogs. It’s now become a rule around here, if a film is fictional and heavily features a CGI dog then it’s going to be awful… and just as soon as I make that rule, something comes along to prove it wrong because that’s how my life works.

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