Lionheart (2019) – Full Of Heart

Released: 4th Janurary
Seen: 9th January

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Say what you will about how Netflix operates with its originals but it has always been a good place to go for films that are not likely to get a mainstream release. Sometimes that means high quality films that just don’t fit what a distributor normally would consider mainstream, sometimes it means they pick up the things everyone else forgets, occasionally it’ll mean they’ll make everyone suffer through an Open House or two, and sometimes it means that they’ll find a voice that would normally be restricted to a smaller market or the indie circuit and give it a global audience right at their fingertips. When that last one happens, it tends to find something interesting and this time Netflix found a Nigerian comedy with a female director and decided to put it in front of the globe and thank goodness they did.

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How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2018) – We Had Dragons!

Released: 3rd Janurary
Seen: 8th January

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How to Train Your Dragon is one of the best animated films of the decade. I know, starting on a subtle statement is a great way to open one of these things but it’s accurate. Even with so many years between the original How to Train Your Dragon and the sequel we’ll be talking about today it’s impossible to understate how amazing the original film is. Not only is the original film a visual marvel but it has one of the most touching stories put in a kid’s film, a story about a kid trying to get the respect of his father who believes in killing every dragon while the kid wants to be kind to the creatures. It’s a touching tale even without the part that is just the adventures of a young boy and his dragon (a night fury named Toothless). The film was an instant hit that was absolutely beloved by everyone who saw it, and then the sequel came out and was even better. The story got darker, the animation was some of the most glorious to be put on the screens and it didn’t seem like it was possible to top it. Now, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World has come out and… OK it’s not better than the second movie, but its close.

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Mary Poppins Returns (2019) – Practically Perfect In Almost Every Way

Released: 1st Janurary
Seen: 3rd January

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In 1964, the world was enchanted when a nanny flew in from high upon her cloud to the door of 17 Cherry Tree Lane and graced us all with her charm and wit. Mary Poppins remains one of the few movies that you can justifiably say “Everyone loves this one”. If you meet someone who doesn’t love Mary Poppins, I suggest running as fast as you can away from them because there is no time to be dealing with such nonsense. Mary Poppins is a movie that the main character herself might describe as “Practically perfect in every way”, which would possibly be the most accurate statement ever made… so, naturally, 54 years later is the perfect time to release a sequel to this beloved classic.

Right?

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Vice (2018) – Pictures Of Your Dick (Cheney)

Released: 26th December
Seen: 31st December

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It’s a turbulent time to talk about politics, the chances of offending someone by stating an opinion is on the rise so clearly now is the perfect time to release a very politically charged biopic made by a bunch of left wing Hollywood people about a right wing political figure and the effects that his actions still have on the planet today. I can’t see a single person having an issue with this at all… so, for full disclosure I’m more on the left side of politics and that might color my opinion on some things in this movie and it might also mean you may not want to hear my opinion on the most politically charged movie of the year, I am totally aware of that and I need you to be aware before we go on because I don’t plan on holding back my opinion or sugar coating it so with that out of the way, let’s do this.

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Holmes & Watson (2018) – The Defective Detective

Released: 26th December
Seen: 27th December

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In all of literature, one of the most beloved and adapted characters is that of Sherlock Holmes. The story of a genius detective who goes around solving crimes, defeating Moriarty and working with his friend Dr Watson is the stuff of legends that everyone has had a crack at. He’s been in action oriented films, weekly episodic TV shows, miniseries, he was a gnome at one point, an animated rat another time, a doctor for a very long period of time and even a Japanese puppet. Sherlock Holmes has been everything and in every kind of movie… and now, he can add “Awful unfunny comedy” to the long list of film projects he’s been associated with.

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Once Upon A Deadpool (2018) – Once More, With Savage

Released: 12th December
Seen: 19th December

One of the most infamous bad horror movies of the ’80s was a film called Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2. The internet knows it mostly because of the infamous “GARBAGE DAY” scene that was a meme a while ago. The movie itself is a barely repackaged copy of the original movie, edited down with interstitial scenes featuring the brother of the main character from the first movie and a psychiatrist who literally go over the events of the original film in detail before moving onto a new story in the second half of the film. Beyond the Garbage Day sequence, there wasn’t much about it that was memorable. At best it was a mediocre cash in that barely tried to differentiate itself from the original and was trying to bank on the media uproar that surrounded the original film in the franchise… so, what if someone took the “Repackage an old movie” idea, used a good movie to do it, but didn’t bother to add any new story elements of any kind and just relied on a marketing gimmick in order to make some money? Turns out, that might work but only up to a certain point.

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Second Act (2018) – Intermission

Released: 6th December
Seen: 18th December

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Peter Segal
Justin Zackham
Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas
Jennifer Lopez
Leah Remini
Vanessa Hudgens
Milo Ventimiglia
Freddie Stroma

There is something in a comedy that is more valuable than the script will ever be, an element that a lot of films seem to forget. It’s the chemistry in the cast. A good cast with great chemistry can make absolutely any film work, while a bad cast couldn’t make a Marx Brother’s routine funny. It’s more important than anything else that the cast is able to make a scene feel funny and charming, even when the jokes aren’t exactly the best thing ever… my god, this might be one of the most delightfully charming casts that I’ve ever had the joy of seeing on film.

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