The Invisible Man (2020) – Terrifying In Every Way

Released: 27th February
Seen: 6th February (Preview Screening)

The Invisible Man Info

In 1897, H.G. Wells wrote the book The Invisible Man. The story followed a scientist, named Griffin, who found a way to change the way his body reflects light and, therefore, became invisible. Naturally, the scientist used his power of invisibility to do a whole bunch of murder and just generally be a bit of a dick. This book was insanely popular and is still regarded as a classic of the genre. It would later go on to inspire one of the early Universal monster movies with the James Whale directed The Invisible Man, planting the image of a man who can only be seen when wrapped in bandages and glasses. The Invisible Man would continue to be brought up in pop culture, being remade again and again by either having him meet Abbott and Costello, having him be a secret agent, making him a woman, there was even a version in the early 2000s that made him Hollow Man instead of Invisible Man.

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Uncut Gems (2020) – Colourful and Powerful

Released: 31st January
Seen: 5th February

Australian release schedules kind of suck… a lot. I’ve mentioned this a lot but it keeps needing to be brought up because it keeps causing me to be about 4 months out of sync with the cinematic zeitgeist and it has no reason to be this bad. Back when films were released by sending out 50 reels and having them go from cinema to cinema it made sense but now we’re in the age where a digital copy of the film can be streamed anywhere around the world instantly and the only thing that keeps certain countries waiting several months is bureaucratic bullshit by movie studios who refuse to follow the advice of Van McCoy and change with the times. Anyway, this is why I didn’t get to see Uncut Gems in December when it was THE thing everyone was talking about and why it wasn’t going to appear on my best-of list last year. I had to wait till the end of January for it to pop up on the local version of Netflix so I could watch it and go “Oh, THAT’S why everyone was talking about this film and saying Adam Sandler deserved awards nominations”

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Parasite (2019) – Everything You Heard Is Not Enough Praise!!

Released: 27th June 2019
Seen: 5th February

It was worldwide news when Australia decided to turn up the heat and set itself on fire. I don’t need to go into details of it all but suffice to say that it wasn’t exactly a good time to be in the land downunder. Air was awful, the heat was intense and our prime minister decided to go on holiday in Hawaii before coming back to force people to shake his hand for a series of photo ops that went wonderfully for him. A small (we’re talking beyond trivial, but I bring it up for context) side effect was that travelling from my home to Sydney was not going to happen under any circumstances since I had no guarantee the fire wouldn’t block the way and because the air quality was roughly the same as smoking 37 cigarettes a day. Because of that, any movie that was only being shown in Sydney was impossible for me to get to because I will do a lot to go see a good movie, but I won’t walk into an inferno.

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A Fall from Grace (2020) – Graceless Melodrama

Released: 17th January
Seen: 21st January

Tyler Perry is a director whose work I’ve never watched before. I’ve heard about it, it’s reputation precedes it, but I’ve never seen anything he’s made. Most of his films came out before I did this reviewing thing so I would react like most people and look at the posters and say “That looks like shit” and then go see something else. The ones he’s released since I started reviewing never made it to the cinema near me so again, no reason for me to try and see them. I will say that I respect the man for what he’s done in the industry, there aren’t many black writer-directors who are getting consistent work and somehow Tyler Perry has made it so he is making a movie every year, often with a largely black cast. He recently opened the first black-owned movie studio which is absolutely incredible and he deserves a spot in cinematic history just for that alone. I respect him… but that doesn’t mean I have to like the movie he made, which I really don’t.

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Ghost Stories (2020) – Boo!

Released: 1st January
Seen: 4th January

The anthology film is a sad rarity nowadays, especially in Horror. Horror used to be a haven for great little films that told several short scary stories but we haven’t had a truly great one in a while, the last one I can remember being truly special was the V/H/S series (I’m aware Nightmare Cinema came out last year to decent notices but I haven’t been able to see that one yet). The big thing that makes these films particularly special is how they link together. That connection is what takes something from a series of short films to a cohesive anthology film. V/H/S did it with the gimmick of every story being done in a found-footage style, a simple little gimmick but an effective one that allowed each story to flow naturally between each other and made it feel more like a single film rather than a series of shorts. Netflix is now having a go at it by distributing the movie Ghost Stories and… oh boy.

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6 Underground (2019) – Bury it!

Released: 13th December
Seen: 24th December

During the promotional tour for this movie, the star Ryan Reynolds was happy to describe the film as “The most Michael Bay movie ever”. This kind of warning had me worried because I have a bit of a history with Michael Bay movies and the promise of the most Michael Bay movie ever sounds more like a threat than anything. See, I still contend that the last Transformers movie is so bad that it should basically bar Michael Bay from making a movie with a budget that’s above 5 million until he learns how to make a movie… and then Netflix in their infinite wisdom promised to release his latest film 6 Underground and my life is now actively worse because of it. Seriously Netflix, I understand that you need to have content that you own outright because everyone else is taking their content away to put on their own streaming platforms but how hard would it be for you to have just the tiniest bit of quality control. Not much, just enough to stop encouraging Michael Bay to keep making movies.

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Black Christmas (2019) – Coal In My Stocking

Released: 13th December
Seen: 14th December

When we look back at the history of the horror genre and specifically the modern American slasher film we end up having a few early films that could claim ownership of being the first of that subgenre. Black Christmas, a 1974 film by director Bob Clark, is regularly cited as one of the earliest slasher films and a major influence on everyone who followed. It was notable for having a cast of almost all women and for never showing the face of the killer, known only as ‘Billy’. While it was only a modest box office success at the time it’s gone on to get the accolades it deserves for its genuinely groundbreaking narrative and aesthetic… and then someone remade it in 2006, sucked out every bit of subtlety and intelligence from the film and made something that’s almost emblematic of what not to do with a slasher movie remake. So naturally, when another remake of Black Christmas was announced, people were sceptical… and then they announced it would include lots of feminism and the people on the internet who like to claim they know about horror movies but clearly never saw the original Black Christmas lost their freaking minds for all the wrong reasons when they should’ve waited to see the film and lose their minds because it’s just not that good.

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21 Bridges (2019) – Bridge Over Tepid Water

Released: 27th November
Seen: 4th December

So, fun story, I’ve had several opportunities now to go and see Terminator Dark Fate. I’ve had the time, the screenings have been local and I’ve even planned on it… I just can’t be bothered. A week ago when I saw Arctic Justice and Countdown on the same day, I planned on seeing Terminator that day too but ended up not bothering with it because it just didn’t seem like it was worth my time… but Arctic Justice and Countdown? Oh, those I had to go see. Same with Addams Family and Knives Out, I planned on the day I saw those to end with me seeing Terminator but after Knives Out, I just didn’t have the interest to stick around to see it because my day was already officially perfect and I didn’t want anything to ruin that (seriously, if you haven’t seen Knives Out then go see Knives Out and thank me later on). 

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Countdown (2019) – Please Be The Final

Released: 24th October
Seen: 27th November

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, Horror is a very silly genre. Almost by design, it’s a genre that will look at something in everyday life and say “What if we did that, but made it deadly”. Stephen King is the master of this, he took cars and cell phones and long grass and found a way to make them terrifying. Sometimes horror also takes something, makes it deadly, and then acknowledges how silly that is. Jack Frost, for example, is about a killer snowman… there is no way on earth to make that scary, so you lean into the comic absurdity of it. So naturally when you hear a plot idea like “It’s an app that kills you”, I kind of expected something a little tongue in cheek… I also expected something fun and I really need to stop doing that because it tends to not happen when I want it to.

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The Last Witness (2018) – Badgering The Witness

Released: 29th May (2018)
Seen: 21st November (Lift Off Film Festival)

Sometimes you can tell everything about a movie just by a basic description of its genre and the descriptive term “Your average”. For example, if I said to you that The Prowler was your average 80s Slasher then you would have a good idea of what to expect from that movie. You automatically picture certain visual style, acting choices and even setting and as long as the movie hits those notes it’s fine. It might not be great but it’s fine. Well, The Last Witness is your average post-WW2 movie set in Britain. It delivers what you expect, but that’s about it.

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