What Men Want (2019) – This Man Wants More Of This

Released: 14th February
Seen: 17th February

What Men Want Info.png

 

In the year 2000, the film What Women Want was released. Starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt, the film revolved around an advertising executive who is a bit of a chauvinist… Ok, he’s a lot of a chauvinist and his sexist attitudes get kicked into high gear when a woman is hired to help broaden the firm’s appeal to women. What follows is several hours of Mel’s character not learning anything, not really listening and using the power that he’s been given (through the magic combination of lipstick, panties and electrocution) in order to maintain his spot at the top of the food chain. He will at one point use this power to stop a woman from committing suicide in a series of tonal whiplash scenes that this movie doesn’t handle well, but for the most part he uses it to maintain his status at the top. To make my opinion on the original even clearer than it is, I didn’t like it very much. I didn’t find it to be a good use of the concept that it was gifted and it definitely didn’t age well. So, when I heard that there was a gender-flipped remake coming out I can’t pretend that I wasn’t nervous about it… fortunately, my nerves were not needed.

Continue reading “What Men Want (2019) – This Man Wants More Of This”

Green Book (2019) – It’s Not Easy

Released: 24th January
Seen: 30th January

Green Book Info.png

When it comes to topics that will spark an intense conversation about a movie, there is none quite as fraught as the delicate subject of race. It’s a subject that must be handled with care because the fact of the matter is that when trying to explore the history of racism in a movie, you can run the risk of accidentally making things worse in your attempt to explore it. I’m certain, for example, that the filmmakers behind Crash had the best of intentions when making their film regarding racism and were clearly trying to explore what causes it. At the time the film was given critical praise and a Best Picture Oscar… now we look back on it as a poorly executed film that is all surface and no depth. Even the people who gave it the award now look back and say “Oh damn, we should’ve given it to the one with the Cowboys”. To quote Ta-Nehisi Coates article ‘Worst Movie Of The Decade‘ from The Atlantic:

“I don’t think there’s a single human being in Crash. Instead, you have arguments and propaganda violently bumping into each other, impressed with their own quirkiness.”

For the record, I only know this quote because of Lindsay Ellis’ fantastic video essay on the movie Bright, another film that brought up racial issues without thinking them through for more than about 15 seconds. The point is that this is a very tough topic to talk about and I want to address this difficulty at the top because I’m aware of how important this is and how, as a white person, I’m probably the last guy who should be talking on this topic… HOWEVER it’s an element of the film I saw, I talk about films I see here, so it would be pretty weird if I didn’t address it in some way. I encourage you to seek out reviews of this movie by people of colour who can undoubtedly address this topic better than I can, but since you’re here let me fill you in on my thoughts about this movie.

Continue reading “Green Book (2019) – It’s Not Easy”

The Favourite (2018)- She’s A Killer Queen

Released: 26th December 2018
Seen: 14th January

The Favourite Info.png

There’s something about historical comedy that has always fascinated me, ever since I first saw an episode of Blackadder II and saw an exaggerated rendition of Queen Elizabeth the first. It was truly a masterpiece, the visual style of a historical drama with joke after joke thrown in for good measure created a contrast in ideas that I hadn’t imagined before. This interest carried over to movies, such as last years The Death Of Stalin, which have been able to blend history with a sense of wit and ups the production values to the point where a film can look like a historical epic but have some of the funniest dialogue put on screen. With a film like The Favourite, we not only get to enjoy another comedic interpretation of a Queen but, once again, we mix elements of a biopic and a comedy to get something that can be genuinely fun… most of the time.

Continue reading “The Favourite (2018)- She’s A Killer Queen”

Instant Family (2019) – Just Add Water

Released: 10th Janurary
Seen: 10th January

instant family

The phrase “based on a true story” is little more than a marketing gimmick nowadays. Sometimes a film might actually be inspired by a real event that really happened but, a lot of the time, it’s either just an outright lie or it’s a meaningless way to try and add gravitas to a story that any writer of a lifetime movie could’ve thought up. Now that’s not to say this particular story didn’t happen, indeed all reports say that it’s based on the directors own experience going through the foster care system… but I swear I saw this exact same storyline in a movie I saw in the afternoon on the TV back in the 90s so it feels a little pointless to try and hang a “Based on a true story” banner over this good, albeit-generic, family film

Continue reading “Instant Family (2019) – Just Add Water”

Lionheart (2019) – Full Of Heart

Released: 4th Janurary
Seen: 9th January

Lionheart Info.png

 

Say what you will about how Netflix operates with its originals but it has always been a good place to go for films that are not likely to get a mainstream release. Sometimes that means high quality films that just don’t fit what a distributor normally would consider mainstream, sometimes it means they pick up the things everyone else forgets, occasionally it’ll mean they’ll make everyone suffer through an Open House or two, and sometimes it means that they’ll find a voice that would normally be restricted to a smaller market or the indie circuit and give it a global audience right at their fingertips. When that last one happens, it tends to find something interesting and this time Netflix found a Nigerian comedy with a female director and decided to put it in front of the globe and thank goodness they did.

Continue reading “Lionheart (2019) – Full Of Heart”

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2018) – We Had Dragons!

Released: 3rd Janurary
Seen: 8th January

Hot To Train Your Dragon 3 Info.png

How to Train Your Dragon is one of the best animated films of the decade. I know, starting on a subtle statement is a great way to open one of these things but it’s accurate. Even with so many years between the original How to Train Your Dragon and the sequel we’ll be talking about today it’s impossible to understate how amazing the original film is. Not only is the original film a visual marvel but it has one of the most touching stories put in a kid’s film, a story about a kid trying to get the respect of his father who believes in killing every dragon while the kid wants to be kind to the creatures. It’s a touching tale even without the part that is just the adventures of a young boy and his dragon (a night fury named Toothless). The film was an instant hit that was absolutely beloved by everyone who saw it, and then the sequel came out and was even better. The story got darker, the animation was some of the most glorious to be put on the screens and it didn’t seem like it was possible to top it. Now, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World has come out and… OK it’s not better than the second movie, but its close.

Continue reading “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2018) – We Had Dragons!”

Mary Poppins Returns (2019) – Practically Perfect In Almost Every Way

Released: 1st Janurary
Seen: 3rd January

Mary Poppins.png

In 1964, the world was enchanted when a nanny flew in from high upon her cloud to the door of 17 Cherry Tree Lane and graced us all with her charm and wit. Mary Poppins remains one of the few movies that you can justifiably say “Everyone loves this one”. If you meet someone who doesn’t love Mary Poppins, I suggest running as fast as you can away from them because there is no time to be dealing with such nonsense. Mary Poppins is a movie that the main character herself might describe as “Practically perfect in every way”, which would possibly be the most accurate statement ever made… so, naturally, 54 years later is the perfect time to release a sequel to this beloved classic.

Right?

Continue reading “Mary Poppins Returns (2019) – Practically Perfect In Almost Every Way”