The Marksman (2021) – You’re Taken The Piss

Released: 21st January
Seen: 4th February

The Marksman Info

Can we, as a society, just admit that Liam Neeson action films have become repetitive and stale? Is that a thing that we can collectively do? Hell, let’s be honest, they were getting stale roughly around the third time he played a character who had a member of his family taken. It’s now to the point where you could write a Liam Neeson action film using a madlib form, they all have the same basic plot and only change the minor superficial details. It’s always the same and every time it gets a little bit less interesting and The Marksman is just another one for the pile.

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Hunted (2021) – Little Blood-Red Riding Hood

Released: 14th January
Seen: 19th January

If you were to make a list of locations that horror movies take place in, The Woods would probably be somewhere near the top of that list. Something about being in the great outdoors, surrounded by trees and being far away from modern civilisation lends itself well to a horror scenario. Films like Cabin in the Woods, Evil Dead and Friday the 13th have all shown that surrounding a bunch of young people by a seemingly endless amount of trees and leaving them to deal with some form of serial killer can create a terrifying ordeal… you can also have films like Hunted, that work on some level but not as many as it should.

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Outside the Wire (2021) – Wireless

Released: 15th January
Seen: 17th January

Outside the Wire Info

This year Netflix announced that it plans on releasing one brand new narrative film every single week, a proposal clearly borne out of a need to build up a catalogue of films that can’t be taken away when another movie studio decides to try and make its own streaming service. On the one hand, this is a smart idea, with enough of a catalogue of its own Netflix can justify continuing as a service even if every studio pulls their film.

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We Can Be Heroes (2020) – Just For One Day

Released: 25th December
Seen: 31st December

Robert Rodriguez is one of the most fascinating filmmakers of our time. Known as the one-man film crew, he’s got a reputation for doing everything on set. Not only directing and writing, we’re talking handling the editing and cinematography and score of his films, he’ll even carry the damn Steadicam if that’s what he has to do to get the job done. He’s also very well known for working with a limited budget, preferring to come up with creative solutions to his problems rather than just throw money at it. He’s the kind of director who you always look out for because no matter what he makes, you can guarantee that it’ll be interesting in some way. Well, now Netflix has decided to get this filmmaker on their payroll and let him have some fun and god I hope this is the first of many Netflix funded Rodriguez films to come because the man knows how to make a fun family film, which is the quick description of We Can Be Heroes.

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Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) – A Blast From The Past

Released: 26th December
Seen: 26th December

Last year we were all treated to the most elaborate superhero movie ever made with Avengers: Endgame. For all intents and purposes, that movie was a landmark moment, proof that a cinematic universe could not only be a joy to watch being built but actually climax to something. Now the way things were meant to go was that the Spider-Man movie would act as a coda, then 2020 would come along and basically remove all superheroes from the roster. 

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Mulan (2020) – I’ll Make A Film Out Of You

Released: 4th September
Seen: 23rd December

Mulan Info

I’ve made it no secret how I feel about Disney remakes, I hate them, I hate them on a fundamental “These have no reason to exist beyond capitalism gone amuck” level. Sure, in a very real sense every remake is kind of pointless in some way, but the recent batch of Disney remakes seem to be extra pointless since they’ve taken to remaking some of their absolute classics. They don’t bother remaking things like The Black Cauldron or Oliver and Company, films that didn’t exactly do well. No, instead let’s remake classics like Dumbo, Aladdin and The Lion King… you know, that trilogy of remakes was so awful that I gave them all a joint place on my worst of 2019 list. Well, this year we add another film to the list of remakes… Mulan.

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Fatman (2020) – Slenderman’s Crappy Cousin

Released: 18th November
Seen: 26th November

When it comes to iconography that must be handled with care, I can’t think of an image more precious than that of Santa Claus. A universal symbol of love and joy, it’s something you have to be careful with especially if you decide to use that imagery in a transgressive manner. If, for example, you plan on making an over the top slasher film like Silent Night, Deadly Night then you had better go all out and make good use of what you’re playing with.

You could also use the image of Santa for comedic value, the evil robot Santa of Futurama is a prime example of a hilarious evil Santa that plays with the iconography in fun interesting ways. One big thing with this is you probably shouldn’t go half assed when you use that kind of imagery because otherwise you just seem like an edgelord instead of being actually edgy in an interesting manner… and that, right there, is the problem with Fatman.

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The Comeback Trail (2020) – Stop, Don’t Comeback

Released: 12th November
Seen: 23rd November

The Comeback Trail Info

Some films follow familiar tropes in order to tell their story, look at the slasher films of the 80s who all leapt on the basic structure that Halloween laid out and kept twisting it in various ways. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it, story structures exist for a reason… they work. They’re a good foundation to work with and can often lead to great films when handled properly. Then there’s the kind of film that feels like it took a really popular films story and filed off the serial numbers… this is that kind of film.

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