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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Honest Thief (2020) – Honestly? Not Great

Released: 22nd October
Seen: 11th November

Honest Thief 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 Honest Thief is just another one for the pile.

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Cats & Dogs 3: Paws Unite (2020) – Mass Hysteria!

Released: 24th September
Seen: 18th October

Cats & Dogs 3 Info

In 2001, a silly little film called Cats & Dogs came out. No one would dare suggest it was anything more than a cinematic oddity with ninja cats that kept kids entertained for a few hours. It made a lot of money, almost tripling its budget and therefore was pretty much guaranteed a sequel which would happen in 2010 with Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. It wasn’t quite as popular and the joke was wearing thin… so, naturally, due to the ten year cycle that the series appears to have built up that means that in 2020 we needed to get a sequel because God has abandoned us and we are doomed to walk the earth in never ending torment and pain.

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Becky (2020) – Oh My God

Released: 10th September
Seen: 15th September

Home invasion movies are a staple of many genres, have been for years but I think we can all agree that they really hit their pinnacle with a little comedy film called Home Alone (sidebar, you know there’s 4 sequels to that movie? AND a reboot that was filming until *gestures at the apocalypse*) that showed us the fun side of what would happen if a pair of criminals broke into the house of a kid who just discovered who Rube Goldberg was. Of course this idea is a big staple of the Horror genre, films like Hush and You’re Next pit a home invader against an intelligent home owner who will defend themselves to the death… and now someone has gone “OK, let’s take the young kid from Home Alone and blend him with the badass women from Hush and You’re Next” and turns out you can get something kind of interesting out of that.

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The Sleepover (2020) – I’m So Extremely Tired

Released: 21st August
Seen: 9th September

The Sleepover Info

In 2001 the movie Spy Kids was released to an unsuspecting public. The story of the Cortez family became something of a major hit, in part because it had such a fun and simplistic story. A pair of kids found out that their uncool parents were actually spies and when those parents were kidnapped it was up to the children to learn how to be spies themselves and rescue their parents. When I say it was a hit, I mean it, the film raked in over $140 million worldwide and was one of the 20 highest grossing films of the year. It led to a bunch of sequels and, naturally, some rip offs… including The Sleepover which is clearly copying so many ideas that Spy Kids had roughly 2 decades later which means it isn’t dated in the slightest.

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The New Mutants (2020) – Old and Boring

Released: 3rd September
Seen: 6th September

The New Mutants Info

The story behind the making of The New Mutants would make for a fascinating documentary, because this film is actually goddamn cursed and has had the wildest ride. It started with a pitch way back in 2015 (back in the days when we had hope) for a potential trilogy of films in this New Mutants universe. The film actually finished its first round of filming in September of 2017 and planned for a release in April of 2018… in case you haven’t noticed, they missed that deadline. 

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The Rhythm Section Promo Image

The Rhythm Section (2020) – Out Of Sync

Released: 31st January
Seen: 30th August

The Rhythm Section Info

The revenge film is a very popular and versatile film to make with one of the simpler basic plots to work with. Start with a cruel act that ends in someone dead, give that dead person a loved one who is traumatised by the cruel act, that loved one trains themselves to fight in some way and then goes after the person who hurt them. This very basic structure has led to classics like the John Wick trilogy or most of Liam Neeson’s career since the Taken movies. When done right they can be exciting thrillers that make the audience sit on the edge of their seat in genuine terror, when done wrong you get films like Peppermint or today’s selection The Rhythm Section.

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Tenet (2020) – Discount Inception

Released: 26th August
Seen: 22th August (Advance screening)

Tenet Info

2020 is the year that the act of going to a cinema became a distant memory. Something we did in the before times when the world wasn’t battling against one of the worst plagues we’ve ever had with the worst leadership imaginable helping to make it considerably worse. Throughout this year we’ve seen film after film push back to next year when, hopefully, we’ll be able to go outside without any fear again. One film that refused to push back till next year, or bite the bullet and go to VOD, was Tenet. Christopher Nolan absolutely insisted that his film be seen in a cinema no matter what, adamant that this film be the one to get people back to the cinema. Now that it’s come out, I can honestly say that while it’s good it probably didn’t NEED to be the first thing in cinemas.

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