Extraction (2020) – Familiar But Still Good

Released: 24th April
Seen: 27th April

It feels like 2020 is the year when certain actors need to prove that they can survive outside of the Marvel ecosphere. Namely, the original Avengers who are either no longer in the main series or are on their way out. The year started with RDJ making everyone worry that maybe he was going to be the big casualty of this with his devastatingly painful performance in Dolittle, we recently got the confirmation that Chris Evans is probably going to be fine with his work in Defending Jacob and now we come to Chris Hemsworth, who has also been working outside of the boundaries of the MCU for a while but keeps picking projects that no one likes (MiB: International) or no one sees (Bad Times At The El Royale). So, here he is teaming up with a first-time director who used to be a stunt coordinator and one of the Russo brothers to create a “White stuck in a foreign country shooting all of the bad guys” movie. It might not be great, but it’s pretty damn good.

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Men in Black: International (2019) – Men In Blech

Released: 13th June
Seen: 18th June

In 1997, the earth was saved by the legendary Men in Black. It was a film that blew audiences and critics away with its elaborate effects, clever script and terrific leads. It destroyed the box office that year, only being beaten at the box office by the juggernaut that was Titanic and to this day there probably hasn’t been an alien comedy that could compete with it, not even its own sequels which just did worse and worse at the box office. The last one, Men in Black 3, was released 7 years ago to just above average critical praise and didn’t even make its budget back domestically so you would think that might be the sign to retire the black suits and move on… I mean, you might think that but then you remember that Hollywood is a sadistic bastard that enjoys flaying horses years after they’ve stopped neighing and so now we have Men In Black: International or as it probably should be known “Men In Black: Look, we hired the people from Thor: Ragnarok so that means we’re just as funny as Thor Ragnarok, right?” but I’m guessing that probably wouldn’t have fit on the poster.

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Bad Times At The El Royale (2018) – The Royale Without Cheese

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Released: 11th October
Seen: 12th October

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Right on the borderline between California and Nevada, there stands a hotel that’s perfectly divided between the two states. That hotel is called the El Royale and it has one heck of a bad history, a history that’s been meticulously recorded on orders from the Management. One particularly dreary night, a bunch of strangers walk into the hotel. Each one hiding a secret that they are unwilling to share with anyone, but the night is young and there is no telling just what secrets will be revealed at the El Royale tonight.

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Thor: Ragnarok

Released 26th October

Seen 8th November

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Directed by Taika Waititi
Written by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost
Produced by Marvel Entertainment & Walt Disney Pictures
Starring Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston & Cate Blanchett

Every Marvel film since the start of the MCU has had a very specific format. When you break it down to its core component they all have this “World is ending, main character only one who can stop it” narrative and all you have to do is change the name of the character and possibly the severity of the threat, but they all have that same basic idea. For Marvel to really take a risk and break out of that strict mould would take a lot. Thor: Ragnarok might not break that mould, but it’s worn the edges of it down considerably and that’s enough of a welcome change for me.

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