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)

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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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Someone Great (2019) – Something Very Above Average

Released: 19th April
Seen: 13th May

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Is it just me or does Netflix have a weird habit of hiring actors from the CW network and giving them a cheesy romcom to play around with? We had that very recently with The Last Summer and The Perfect Date, two movies that were certainly watchable but nothing really worth writing home about (but totally worth writing a thousand words on the internet about because that is apparently my life now) and both of them have already been basically forgotten. There’s even another one coming out later on this month called Always Be My Maybe and heck, maybe that one’ll end up being the one that is just a little bit better than “Ah, it’s pretty good” because we’re still at “Ah, it’s pretty good” levels right now with another film in this genre.

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Wine Country (2019) – *Insert bad wine pun here*

Released: 10th May
Seen: 11th May

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Sometimes, in order to make a good comedy, you just need a good comic actor and let nature take its course. Half of the movies by people like Robin Williams or Eddie Murphy are testaments to just what you can do when you get someone who is naturally funny and let them loose on film. So when the basic description of a film can be boiled down to “half a dozen of the funniest women on SNL go to Napa and drink wine for 90 minutes” I was all in, it’s a simple plot that is basically designed to have the actresses show off just what they can do and to come up with some good comedy… I mean, I’m sure that was the intention but let’s talk about the execution of that idea.

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Poms (2019) – We’ve Got Spirit?

Released: 9th May
Seen: 10th May

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One of the things that infuriate me more than anything else in a film is wasted potential. More than just being offensive or immoral or incompetent, a film that clearly has some potential for something good but decides to waste it in favour of coasting by on the superficial extras that they’ve thrown at their movie. A film that relies on specific actors or cool effects or using obscenities like commas in order to hide a bad script or plot structure when there is plenty there to work with, had someone taken the time, is the worst sin that a film can commit as far as I’m concerned. So when I tell you that this film had so much potential and wasted almost all of it, that’s your warning to run away.

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Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (2019) – Gotta Watch ‘Em All!

Released: 9th May
Seen: 9th May

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When I was growing up, the biggest games in the world were Pokémon Red and Blue. Every single person I knew had one of them; some people had both of them. I was always a Pokémon Red kind of guy who would happily pick Bulbasaur first because he would make it easier to get through the first two gyms (I know Charmander is cooler, but he’s also weak against the first two gyms and I played that game to win. Come at me). I also have vivid memories of when Pokémon Yellow came out and completing that game within a single sitting, only pausing to remove the batteries from my oversized clear Gameboy and clearing the gyms and elite four. It’s fair to say that a large chunk of my childhood included a monster that could be located in a pocket and then I did a very stupid thing… I grew up. I had less and less time to pull out a Gameboy and play whatever new Pokémon game was available; I didn’t keep up with the anime. I just kind of stopped caring about trying to Catch ‘Em All because I hit this time in life when it felt appropriate to put away childish things. I did recently pick up Pokémon Go because it’d be on the phone and a time waster but I kind of figured my love of Pokémon was dead. Then the trailer for Detective Pikachu dropped and a tiny little voice deep inside me screamed “I’m not quite dead… I’m getting better”

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