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)

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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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Dumbo (2019) – Dumb

Released: 28th March
Seen: 29th March

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In 1941 Disney released its fourth animated theatrical film. Dumbo holds a special place in Disney history. Clocking in at 64 minutes, the film was made to try and cover the losses brought on by Fantasia (Which at the time hadn’t turned a profit because WW2 cut off a large part of the market) and during its production, there was a five-week strike at Disney’s studio. On a budget of under a million dollars with a mandate to keep everything as simple as possible, Disney somehow did the impossible and created one of the most beautiful animated films of all time. The film still works today, with the notable exception of the crow sequence (one of the crows is called Jim… that should probably clue you into the problem), and it’s proof of just what Disney is capable of doing and is so truly beloved that it even earned a spot in the US National Film Registry in the Library of Congress, meaning it will be preserved forever as something culturally significant… and then Tim Burton said “WAIT! I HAVEN’T RUINED ENOUGH CLASSIC MOVIES YET!” and decided to remake it.

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Us (2019) -Me And My Shadow

Released: 28th March
Seen: 28th March

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In 2017 the film Get Out was released in cinemas and it was nothing short of a phenomenon. No one expected it, Jordan Peele was a comic mostly known for his work with Key and Peele or MADtv and now he was going to direct a horror movie? His first time directing was going to be a horror film? It was a weird thought at the time and when Get Out finally hit screens, it was like an atom bomb went off. No one saw that coming, people started tearing it apart looking for all the subtle little tricks he hid in it. People literally had debates on if a shot of a woman eating fruit loops was a visual metaphor for segregation, that’s how nuts the reaction to that film got. I personally named it the best film of 2017, which is only slightly less prestigious than the Oscar that it won.  It made one hell of an impact, followed right away by the burning question “So, how will Jordan Peele follow this?” which was answered this year… and it’s such a good answer.

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Hotel Mumbai (2019) – I Have Absolutely No Funny Pun Or Subtitle To Put Here

Released: 14th March
Seen: 26th March

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In 2008, between the 26th of November and the 29th of November, 10 armed gunmen took to multiple locations in South Mumbai, including a cinema, a railway station, a cafe and a pair of hotels including the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Over four days these terrorists killed at least 166 people and wounded 300 before police were finally able to take them down, killing nine of them while one was captured and his information led to multiple other arrests before he was also executed by the state. It’s a horrific story that is referred to as 26/11 by many people and, here’s where things get weird, has been made into 5 movies in the years since then. Today we’re going to talk about the latest film about this terrifble event.

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Fighting with My Family (2019) – PURE ELECTRICITY!

Released: 21st March
Seen: 24th March

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Let’s get this out of the way right up the top; I’m not a fan of wrestling. I’ve never gotten into it, I grew up right when it was really starting to explode in popularity and can even remember kids in my class in primary school yelling “The Rock is pure electricity” and not having a single clue what they were talking about. It’s a worldwide phenomenon that a lot of people really love and I really just can’t get into. So, a film that follows a family that is madly in love with the sport is going to have to work a little harder to win me over. It can’t just rely on a lot of insider knowledge in order for me to be able to get into it, it needs to be a little more than that. It needs to somehow play a balancing act between giving the wrestling audience what it wants while also providing those of us outside that very specific fanbase with something to enjoy. Imagine my surprise when the movie starts and I not only end up enjoying it, I end up loving almost every single second.

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