Stuber (2019) – Stupid… I know, I KNOW

Released: 11th July
Seen: 11th July

Did you know that the only reason that Reece’s Pieces are a thing right now is that they agreed to be a part of the movie E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial? Turns out that the producers of the film actually tried to get M&M’s but the Mars Company said no. I want it noted that by this point in history, Spielberg had made Jaws, Close Encounters and Raiders of the Lost Ark so saying no to him for this kind of deal should’ve probably ended in someone being fired. Anyway, Reece’s said yes, became a part of movie history and saw their sales skyrocket. Now, why am I reciting this well-known piece of history? Because I genuinely want to know exactly who the hell signed off on the use of Uber in this movie because I’m fairly confident that person used to work for the Mars company and was desperately trying to make amends and bet that a movie from the director of Fubar would be just as good as a movie by the director of Raiders. I want to meet this person, I’m sure they regret many decisions.

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Yesterday (2019) – All My Troubles Seemed So Far Away

Released: 27th June
Seen: 8th July

The first Beatles song that I remember hearing was Octopus’s Garden. I remember it being performed in my grade school class with big pieces of cardboard cut out into various sea animals and painted with fluorescent paint that a bunch of small children would wave around randomly while singing a cover version of the fifth track from Abbey Road. I’m not sure if we were on key, but we were precious children and so everyone claimed to like it because you’d have to be some kind of monster to tell a bunch of kids that they didn’t do a good job of paying respect to one of the greatest bands of all time. I hope we can all agree that telling a bunch of children that they’re bad at doing a Beatles tribute act would be mean… however, if you want to tell a bunch of grown adults making a million dollar film that their Beatles tribute act is bad then that’s OK. I mean, I plan on spending the next few paragraphs saying exactly that, so it’d be a bit silly if I thought it was mean.

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Toy Story 4 (2019) – Gave Me A Buzz

Released: 20th June
Seen: 20th June

The world of animation in 1995 was a very different place. Hand drawn animation ruled the land, the Disney Renaissance was in full swing and the only CGI you ever saw was used to enhance 2D work. This was mostly because CGI was still early in its development and no one really knew what to do with this toy. Sure there were little short films popping up, but no one really tried to make a feature-length film with this brand new tool until a little company called Pixar told the story of a pull-string cowboy who had to deal with an astronaut coming into his space and propelling him on an adventure. Toy Story set a standard that every CGI animated film would have to try to compete with for years to come, it became the highest grossing film of 95 and spawned two sequels. The second film would be the third highest grossing of 1999 and then in 2010 the third film would come out and be top of the box office. Every film in the franchise has received overwhelming critical acclaim, part three even taking home the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. Of every franchise that Pixar has done, this is the one they’ve gotten right every time and the ending of part three felt like a nice end to the series. The toys were given to a girl named Bonnie in a sequence that was designed to make everyone watching cry like a baby and we were sure that we’d only see Woody and Buzz in the occasional cameo or TV special… and then the company realised that they really liked money so they went and made the fourth film because they wanted to make more money. Luckily, they actually put in the hard work to make sure that they would actually deserve the money they were going to be earning.

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Men in Black: International (2019) – Men In Blech

Released: 13th June
Seen: 18th June

In 1997, the earth was saved by the legendary Men in Black. It was a film that blew audiences and critics away with its elaborate effects, clever script and terrific leads. It destroyed the box office that year, only being beaten at the box office by the juggernaut that was Titanic and to this day there probably hasn’t been an alien comedy that could compete with it, not even its own sequels which just did worse and worse at the box office. The last one, Men in Black 3, was released 7 years ago to just above average critical praise and didn’t even make its budget back domestically so you would think that might be the sign to retire the black suits and move on… I mean, you might think that but then you remember that Hollywood is a sadistic bastard that enjoys flaying horses years after they’ve stopped neighing and so now we have Men In Black: International or as it probably should be known “Men In Black: Look, we hired the people from Thor: Ragnarok so that means we’re just as funny as Thor Ragnarok, right?” but I’m guessing that probably wouldn’t have fit on the poster.

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The Dead Don’t Die (2019) – Zombie Or Not Zombie

Released: 24th October (General Release)
Seen: 17th June (Sydney Film Festival)

It’s been said before, I shall say it again, there is no element of pop culture that has been used more often than the Zombie. Maybe Jesus has been used more often, but not by much. Everything nowadays has a zombie element to it. One of the most popular TV series right now is a Zombie show, every 4th game released has a zombie mode in it, you can buy zombie-shaped slippers for crying out loud. Zombies are everywhere nowadays and they’ve been done in so many ways that a truly original take on them is almost impossible to find. The last real original Zombie movie I saw was one called Anna and the Apocalypse; I never got around to reviewing that film but it was a Christmas Zombie Musical Comedy set in England and it’s every bit as glorious as that combination sounds. I bring that film up because it’s a great example of what happens when you have several film ideas (a Christmas film, a zombie film and a high school musical comedy) and make them work together. The Dead Don’t Die however is what happens when you have several film ideas, smash them together violently, hold them together with Scotch tape and present it as a complete work. Weirdly, it kind of works… kind of.

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The Secret Life Of Pets 2 (2019) – Woof

Released: 20th June (Advance Screening)
Seen: 8th June

The animation company Illumination has something of an interesting reputation when it comes to critical acclaim. Their Despicable Me series, for example, was a breath of fresh air that everyone seemed to love… until they unleashed Minions on the world and people began contemplating an open revolt against the company. Their film Sing also scored a lot of praise, but then they would unleash a couple of Dr Seuss adaptations that were pretty abysmal (one of them so bad that it made me go through a period of uncontrollable rhyming). They’re very hit and miss so going into The Secret Life of Pets 2, I had some trepidation While I hadn’t seen the original I have heard enough about it to know that it was a hit and if we follow Illuminations pattern, this one had a good chance of being a miss… but turns out, it was closer to a light tap of the bat. Still technically a hit, but nothing to write home about.

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Loqueesha (2019) – NO! No, you go in the corner and think about what you did!

Released: 21st May
Seen: 29th May

Earlier this month a trailer was brought to the attention of the internet for a movie titled Loqueesha, a film by alleged comedian Jeremy Saville that was about a white man pretending to be a black woman in order to try and get a job. This trailer blew the hell up on social media because everyone had to know just who the hell would release such a film. It got such sweeping negative attention that the original uploader of the YouTube video ended up deleting the video from their account. There was controversy galore, not only because the trailer was obviously racist and unfunny as all hell but because it came out that a claim in the trailer that the film played at the San Luis Obispo Film Festival turned out to be a lie because the film was actually pulled before the festival and therefore never screened once. So, you’d think with all this obscene negative reaction to the trailer that the smart thing to do would be to lie low, never release the film or maybe dump it out on VOD in a year or so when the heat died down but no one involved in this film ever claimed to do the smart thing so here we are, not even a month later and the film was put on Amazon Prime. I will now talk about it for a large amount of time in order to protect you from what is in this film… I’m watching it, so you literally never have to.

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Aladdin (2019) – Friend Like Meh

Released: 23rd May
Seen:23rd May

When we think of the Disney Renaissance we think of this brief period between 1989 and 1999 when Disney was putting out hit after hit, some of the best films that appear in their catalogue. Right in the front end of that list, dropping in 1992 is the film Aladdin. Based on the Arabic folktale, Aladdin remains one of Disney’s most beloved films. It’s a simple love story, enchanting tunes and, of course, its legendary performance by the late Robin Williams has cemented it into cinema history. Even today the original film holds up with great comedy and award-winning songs that everyone knows. A Whole New World, Friend Like Me, Prince Ali, these are some of the best songs ever put on film. The movie was such a hit it led to two direct-to-video sequels (one of them is actually good) and a TV series that everyone who was a child in the 90s watched. There’s even an adaptation of the show on Broadway but one thing that there will never be is a live-action film remake… at least, that’s what I thought until we inexplicably let Disney think that it would be acceptable to plunder their vaults and turn their classic animated films into subpar live action drivel, but apparently we’re allowing that now so guess what I have to do right now? That’s right, weep and cry because I had to watch this bland lifeless thing that alleges to be a movie.

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The Hustle (2019) – Don’t Do It!

Released: 9th May
Seen:17th May

In December of 1988, Frank Oz released his first film to not include a puppet. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, based on the 1964 film Bedtime Story, followed two conmen who make a bet to see who can get fifty thousand dollars out of a wealthy heiress. It starred Steve Martin and Michael Caine, the latter of which would go on to be nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance (which he would lose to Tom Hanks for Big). The film was a rousing success, netting $42 million at the box office, letting it land in the top 25 grossing films of that year. To put that in perspective, if you adjust for inflation that comes to $94 million… which is a box office total that I highly doubt The Hustle would achieve even if they weren’t releasing it when Avengers, Detective Pikachu and other good movies were owning the box office.

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Top End Wedding (2019) – You’re The Top

Released: 16th May
Seen: 13th May (Advance Screening)

Top End Wedding Info.png

Aussie films don’t really get a lot of love when it comes to the box office. They don’t really get big releases, even in their native country, and they’re often relegated to independent cinemas or even just the sands of time. Sure you might know some of the big ones like Priscilla or Mad Max but those are few and far between. Very often an Aussie film is just relegated to footnotes in a release schedule, ignored by the mainstream. Hell, during the two years that I’ve been doing this I can count on one hand the amount of Australian film’s that I’ve been able to see in cinemas. They’re rare as hen’s teeth and never get the respect that they’re due so it’s a nice change to see one that actually got a decent amount of promotion down here and also just happens to be one of the most charming films that have been produced by this little sunburnt country.

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