Hobbs & Shaw (2019) – KABOOOM!

Released: 1st August
Seen: 2nd August

Is there a stupider film franchise than the Fast & the Furious franchise? I admit to enjoying a lot of really silly franchises, I’m a Sharknado fanboy and have been known to say “Friday the 13th Part 9 is good, actually” so I have a good eye for stupidity and this franchise is so stupid that it’s adorable. This is a series that started being about illegal street racing in the first movie and the most recent film in the series involved cybercriminals and nuclear weapons and a giant chase scene involving a submarine and some cars. It’s so insane that the writers have said that they could take the franchise into space and I would absolutely believe them. The series keeps desperately trying to one-up itself and eventually it’s going to end in a giant space battle with space cars and space racing… but before they do that, they have to abuse the franchise name by latching it onto a spin-off movie that just ups the stupid level to heights that we haven’t seen before.

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Crawl (2019) – You Can Call Me Al-ligator

Released: 11th July
Seen: 30th July

One great thing about Horror is it has many subgenres and every subgenre has its standout movie. Slashers have Halloween, Zombies have the George Romero trilogy of Night/Dawn/Day of the Living Dead and Found Footage has The Blair Witch Project. There’s a pantheon of iconic movies in each subgenre that help confirm horror as one of the most diverse and fascinating genres of film. The movie we’re going to talk about today, Crawl, fits into the subgenre known as Natural Horror which has given us classics like Jaws, The Birds and Cujo. It might be a little early to make this kind of call, but I would be willing to say that Crawl might be up there with those movies as an example of a great natural horror movie.

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Booksmart (2019) – Brilliant

Released: 11th July
Seen: 24th July

20 years ago, the coming of age comedy American Pie hit cinemas. While it wasn’t the first movie to be about a bunch of teenagers deciding to reach some form of major milestone before graduation, it was certainly the one that everyone thinks of when it comes to modern teen sex comedies. Every one since has followed the basic premise of a group of friends who believe that they need to do something big (usually have sex) before they go off to college where everything will be very different. Of course, on the way to accomplishing this big goal, these movies would then have a bunch of wacky adventures. It’s a formula that’s worked in films like Superbad and a myriad of straight to digital films that no one ever saw. The problem with these films is that some of them didn’t age well, and usually all focussed on guys wanting to have sex and turned the female characters into background features. So what if we took the basic story structure of these films, let women be the leads and maintained the comical vulgarity while also being progressive while we do it?

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The Lion King (2019) – The King Is Dead

Released: 17th July
Seen: 17th July

The first film that I have any memory of seeing in a cinema is the 1994 animated classic The Lion King. While my memory is a little sketchy (because I was 6) I still remember how enthralling it was, this glorious creation that was chock full of drama and laughs and bright glorious colours that just seemed to leap off the screen. I remember the legendary stampede and my mother crying at Mufasa’s death. Truly it was the film that started me on a journey to loving cinema and of all the movies that I could’ve seen as my first theatrical experience, I’m glad it was that one. Now, here we are, 25 years later and I’m angry and bitter and hate everything and have to watch as the first film I remember seeing is slowly sucked dry right before my eyes and all I’m left with is a withered husk of a film… I’m not going to be happy during this review, just so we’re clear.

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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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After (2019) – 50 Shades Of Bland

Released: 4th July
Seen: 4th July

In April of 2013, Anna Todd released the first chapter of a story titled After onto the website Wattpad. Wattpad is a website known mostly for fan fiction and in Anna’s case, she was big into One Direction. This would prove to be good for Anna because One Direction was still really big at the time, indeed probably at the peak of their collective career. So this fanfiction would focus on Harry Styles, the heavily tattooed member of the well-loved boyband, and create a tale where Harry Styles was a college boy who broods and has a bit of a dark side to him who would end up falling for the sweet innocent Tessa. The book was a huge hit on Wattpad, netting half a billion reads for the 99 chapters of romance between a member of One Direction and some girl who could be you, dear reader. Now, there was a time when this would be the end of the story. The Fan Fiction would stay online, net the writer some credibility in the internet space and we’d never have to talk about it on this blog because it would be unfair to be incredibly critical towards fan fiction which is normally written by bored people with a few hours to kill and a little fantasy they want to imagine… but then After just had to go get turned into a book, change the name Harry Styles to Hardin Scott (for obvious legal reasons) and become enough of a hit that someone had to make a movie out of this book because if Fifty Shades could turn into a hit franchise, surely this one will be a major hit too.

*sigh*

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Annabelle Comes Home (2019) – No Dolls Allowed

Released: 26th June
Seen: 3rd July

The Conjuring universe never seems to know when to stop trying to grow. With seven movies out since 2013, the low budget horror series has become a staple of horror cinema and really resurrected the haunted house genre. It’s been stumbling a bit lately though, with last years The Nun making a lot of money but getting savaged critically (I was mostly OK with the film, but I was also really early into my critical phase) and thisyears The Curse Of La Llorona which not only did badly with critics but it’s the lowest earning film in the franchise. Sure, it still made over $100million on a budget of $9million but that movie is a sign that maybe this style of horror might not be working as well… it’s certainly getting to the point where we’re beginning to see the cracks in this franchise thanks to the repetition, which leads us nicely to Annabelle Comes Home.

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Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) – My Peter Tingle Is… Tingling?

Released: 1st July
Seen: 1st July

STOP READING THIS REVIEW IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN ENDGAME. Right now, if you haven’t seen it… well, tell me what it’s like under that rock of yours, and second go and see that movie so that you’re as caught up as you can get because we’re going to talk about major spoilers from that movie since they make up a large amount of the foundation for this one. Again, I’m going to make the assumption that from this point on you are officially caught up on the major events of Avengers: Endgame and that I can spoil that movie like it was milk left under hot lights in summer. OK, let’s do this.

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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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