The Secret Life Of Pets 2 (2019) – Woof

Released: 20th June (Advance Screening)
Seen: 8th June

The animation company Illumination has something of an interesting reputation when it comes to critical acclaim. Their Despicable Me series, for example, was a breath of fresh air that everyone seemed to love… until they unleashed Minions on the world and people began contemplating an open revolt against the company. Their film Sing also scored a lot of praise, but then they would unleash a couple of Dr Seuss adaptations that were pretty abysmal (one of them so bad that it made me go through a period of uncontrollable rhyming). They’re very hit and miss so going into The Secret Life of Pets 2, I had some trepidation While I hadn’t seen the original I have heard enough about it to know that it was a hit and if we follow Illuminations pattern, this one had a good chance of being a miss… but turns out, it was closer to a light tap of the bat. Still technically a hit, but nothing to write home about.

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Dark Phoenix (2019) – X-Men? More Like ZZZ-Men

Released: 6th June
Seen: 6th June

It would be a lie for me to say that I’ve kept up with the X-Men saga over the years. I saw the first three movies in the original series, I might’ve been one of the few to actually kind of enjoy X-Men: The Last Stand, and then I didn’t really come back until Deadpool, Logan and Deadpool 2. This new group of young X-Men never interested me so I never really went to go see them and felt no real need to have this franchise be a part of my cinematic diet… and then, ya know, stupid me decided he wanted to try and be a critic and therefore would need to see every film when it came out. I, of course, was extra stupid and decided to do this right around the time that the series apparently decided to stop being interesting… because I’m clearly a bad person who doesn’t deserve nice things. I certainly don’t think I was bad enough to deserve the kind of boredom that was being offered to me by Dark Phoenix but hey, apparently I’ve just been that much of a bad boy.

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Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) – Yes Gawd-Zilla

Released: 30th May
Seen:31st May

Since 1954 the world has had a repeated fascination with the Japanese movie monster Godzilla, a gigantic sea creature that was spawned by the nuclear radiation that would also regularly spit fire like it was nobody’s business. Godzilla is possibly one of the most iconic film characters of all time and for years he was a metaphor for nuclear war, natural disasters, basically anything that could best be embodied by a giant nuclear sea creature. Appearing in 35 films that span the gamut from iconically bad to some of the most fun you’ll have watching men in dinosaur suits slap each other, it’s a series that everyone has at least heard of and that Hollywood has tried to make on multiple occasions. The first time Hollywood got their slimy hands on Godzilla was in 1998 with Roland Emmerich decided he was going to make a Godzilla film even though, turns out, he didn’t even really make a Godzilla movie since he basically just made a movie with a weird dinosaur. It was a movie that was so bad that Toho, the company behind Godzilla, trademarked the new design as “Zilla” because there was nothing godly about that mess (except, perhaps, a godly amount of fish). Then in 2014, we got another Godzilla film and while that one was a step up from what came before, it also had maybe 10 minutes of Godzilla in it and spent a ton of time with the humans that no one cares about. So now, here we are, the third time that Hollywood would take on the king of the monsters and… god damn it, they finally got the damn point.

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

Released: 9th May
Seen: 9th May

Detective Pikachu Info.png

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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Avengers: Endgame (2019) – No Spoiler Zone

Released: 24th April
Seen: 24th April

Avengers Endgame Info.png

On the 25th of April 2018, celebrating a decade as a cinematic universe, Marvel released Avengers: Infinity War. A true box office smash, the film broke records and defied expectations and at the 2-hour 5-minute and 41-second mark, Thanos snapped his fingers and eradicated half of the MCU in a sequence that was instantly one of the most iconic things in modern cinema. It was meme’d into oblivion; it was a moment of cultural shock that is easily the ballsiest thing that a movie studio has done in a long time. They made us love every single character, and then they killed them in front of us in a 3 minute sequence that was designed intentionally to destroy the audience… and then they said “Come back in a year, we’re not done tearing you apart yet” and sure enough, they came back and they were not even close to done tearing us apart.

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Missing Link (2019) – Proof Of Happiness

Released: 11th April
Seen: 13th April

Missing Link

Stop Motion animation is probably the most difficult kind of animation there is. Building scale models and animating them in the physical world, moving just a tiny portion of the models for every single frame and slowly creating movement by hand, something where a small accident could ruin days of work. If a model dries up then that could destroy a film. For the longest time the big name in the field of stop motion animation was Aardman Animation, the people who made Chicken Run (which I just found out is getting a sequel, which is awesome), and now the new people claiming the throne of stop motion animation is Laika who has been fairly consistent in releasing great films, and their latest film is no exception.

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