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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Charlie’s Angels (2019) – Don’t Call Me Average

Released: 14th November
Seen: 18th November

In 1976 the world was introduced to three female private detectives who worked for a mysterious man who they would never actually meet. That man was Charlie and they were his angels, the show Charlie’s Angels would become an instant smash hit, spending the first two seasons in the top 10 most-watched shows of the year and it became iconic almost instantly. 20 million viewers tuned in to watch a trio of strong women kick ass, it was a monster hit that even achieved the rare feat of creating an influential hairstyle trend. It lasted for 5 years and there were multiple attempts to revive the brand, eventually culminating in a pair of films in the early 2000s that did amazing business but badly with critics. Well, time for them to revive the brand again because we are never permitted to allow a brand to die even when no one wants it anymore (and judging by the box office… oh damn this brand should’ve died long ago)

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Ford v Ferrari (2019) – Zoom zoom

Released: 14th November
Seen: 14th November

In the early 1960s the Ford motor company was having a bit of a hard time. Sure they were financially successful, but Ferrari was still considered the better car even though Ferrari at the time was hemorrhaging money. After the head of Ford, Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) was rejected and humiliated in his attempt to purchase a stake in Ferrari he decided on a new plan… humiliating Ferrari by beating them at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race which Ferrari had won for several years running. In order to accomplish this, Ford hires Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon), the only American who hadwon the Le Mans race but retired due to a heart condition. Since that heart condition means Shelby couldn’t handle the race, he hires his old friend Ken Miles (Christian Bale) to handle the driving. Catch is, Ken’s a bit of a hothead who doesn’t play well with others, especially the bosses at Ford who are almost pointedly trying to abuse and screw over the little guys working for them.

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Zombieland 2: Double Tap (2019) – Filling like a Twinkie

Released: 17th October
Seen: 11th November

Zombieland 2: Double Tap is a film that exists for reasons I don’t quite understand. At least, I don’t understand why it exists right now. In 2009 when the original Zombieland came out in cinemas it was still a good time for Zombie-related media, the hit series The Walking Dead was still a year away so having a comedy film about a bunch of people surviving in a zombie wasteland felt fresh and new. The style choices and tone all felt like something we hadn’t seen before and it was one of the funniest films of the time and still holds up today. It’s not like they didn’t try to get a sequel out right away, but everything languished in development hell so long that now we’re so far past the prime time for Zombie movies that Disney felt like they could do one. So how do you make a comedic take on a topic that’s already been wrung dry? Well… you just do the same stuff you did the last time only with a tiny upgrade in the technology and the zombies.

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The Furies (2019) – Beauty And The Deceased

Released: 7th November
Seen: 31st October (Monsterfest Film Festival)

The slasher genre is a very recent creation, really only starting in the 60s with the Italian Giallo films and, of course, the immortal Psycho. It reached a golden age in the late 70’s when it became THE genre for budding filmmakers to grab onto since all you needed were some young unknown actors, a sharp object, a bottle of liquid latex and some fake blood to make a film. While it’s never been mainstream, the Slashers have always had an audience that followed it from the early days of Halloween to the straight-to-video era through to the post-modern classics like Scream until the genre entered a slump in the early 2010’s thanks to a deluge of remakes and the rise of films like Paranormal Activity which proved anyone could make a film, even if they didn’t know how to operate a camera and only had bits of string to handle the effects work. Slashers recently have started having a bit of a revival though, with TV series like American Horror Story finally tackling the genre this year and an actual TV series called Slasher, plus the return of genre favourite Halloween. Now we’re entering a period where we can maybe do even more interesting takes on the Slasher genre, which leads to me explaining why The Furies is a gem of a slasher film that will slide right in along the fun goofy films the genre is known for.

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El Camino (2019) – Breaking Moderately OK

Released: 11th October
Seen: 13th October

Adapting a TV series into a film is not easy. The two mediums, though similar in many ways, are substantially different when it comes to storytelling. Going from a 22-42 minute long episode of TV to a two-hour long movie can change what kind of story you’ll focus on. They’re also made for a variety of reasons, either to provide commentary on the series (21 Jump Street or The Brady Bunch Movie), act as a long episode that couldn’t have been done in the normal series runtime (The Simpsons Movie or DuckTales The Movie: Treasure Of The Lost Lamp) or take on the form of a finale and give the series some much needed closure (Serenity or The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie!). There are other reasons to make the leap, like brand name recognition or the increased quality of cocaine, but these three seem to be the biggest reasons. El Camino seems to be going for the “much-needed closure” reasoning but forgot that we didn’t actually need that closure.

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Rambo: Last Blood (2019) – Last Dud

Released: 19th September
Seen: 2nd October

Rambo is probably the series that will go down as having the worst naming system of them all. It’s almost laughably bad how this franchise is ordered. We have First Blood, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo III, Rambo and now Rambo: Last Blood. In 50 years when historians are trying to order these things, it’s going to be almost goddamn impossible because this series was named stupidly. The films themselves are a mixed bag in terms of quality. I think the first two are the best, certainly the ones that have the most to say about the aftermath of the Vietnam war, but the latter two have their moments of just being plain old fun and over the top. This most recent one… well, I didn’t outright hate it, so let’s start from there.

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Angel Has Fallen (2019) – And He Can’t Get Up

Released: 23rd August
Seen: 30th August

The ‘Fallen’ film series is one of the strangest film series that I’ve seen lately because it’s a series that somehow keeps making money and keeps getting sequels and yet I have never heard a single person talk about the original two. Be honest, do you even remember that Olympus Has Fallen happened? Because the only interesting thing about that movie was that it came out in the same year as White House Down and they both shared the idea of terrorists attacking the White House to get to the president and a random secret service guy steps up to stop them. The first movie in the Fallen series was… OK? I mean, it had an interesting location and some good explosions but other than that nothing was interesting about it. Then the sequel… well, let’s just say they replaced the interesting location with racism and that was it. So what about this film? Did they do anything different or interesting to make this series finally be interesting or memorable?

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Murder Mystery (2019) – Whodumbit?

Released: 14th June
Seen: 25th August

The murder mystery genre has been kind of slow lately, the last major film in the genre being the Murder on the Orient Express way back in 2017. It’s always been a pretty fascinating genre, a large scale whodunit where someone is murdered and we follow the investigation into who the killer is. Often these movies would maybe take place in one location with everyone staying put so they could figure out who the killer was without having it spread. It’s also a genre that’s ripe for parody, as films like Murder by Death or Clue have proven how the genre can be taken to create some genuinely great comedy… and then there’s Murder Mystery, the store brand version of a comedy-mystery movie with all the ingredients and none of the flavour.

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Shaft (2019) – Daft

Released: 28th June
Seen: 10th August

In 1971 the world learned the answer to the immortal question “Who’s the black private dick that’s a sex machine to all the chicks?” and turns out, that answer would be an icon of blaxploitation cinema and one of the most badass characters to ever appear on film. John Shaft started as a detective novel before his original trilogy of movies (Shaft, Shaft’s Big Score and Shaft in America) and even ended up with a TV series in the early 70’s before the character was retired until the character was revived in 2000 for a brand new Shaft movie that did fairly well but didn’t get any sequels… until now. Now it has a sequel that did poorly at the box office, was distributed internationally on Netflix and is currently the most critically panned movie in the entire franchise. Does it deserve that kind of treatment? Is the film really bad enough to deserve to be relegated to the trash heap of cinema history? Kind of, but only because it’s kind of bland.

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