Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 3 (2023) – Out Of This World

Released: 3rd May
Seen: 3rd May

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 3

When it comes to the many franchises that make up the MCU, it’s arguable that one of the most surprising of them all is the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. Based on one of the most obscure Marvel comics out there, the first Guardians movie took the MCU into space and, effectively, introduced the character Thanos to the franchise as an actual character in the narrative instead of as an end credits gag. The second Guardians movie somehow managed to be even better, funnier and more emotional with grander stakes that showed just what these characters were capable of. 

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Ghosted (2023) – Leave On Read

Released: 21st April
Seen: 24th April

Sometimes a film feels like it should be basically impossible to mess up, a combination of a great director, great writers and great actors that seems like at the bare minimum it should produce a piece of fun, harmless entertainment that’ll deliver on what it promises. Say you have the director of one of the best biopic films ever, gave him a film written by the people who wrote two major superhero franchise films and a pair of actors who have proven to have chemistry before who are also wildly popular and insanely talented. That sounds like a recipe for success, a surefire way to make something that’s at least on the surface level enjoyable… so what the hell went wrong with Ghostedyou to make it as dull as it is?

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The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023) – Let’s-a go.

Released: 5th April
Seen: 12th April

When it comes to the world of video games, there is no character quite as well-known and iconic as Mario. For 40 years the short Italian with the red hat has been lighting up video game consoles and being the blueprint for an entire genre of games that he still basically runs to this day, and probably will until the universe implodes and we all die. He is such an icon that it’s kind of surprising that there’s only been a single movie made about him and it is, to be charitable, a tortuous trip through 90s consumerist dystopian fiction wrapped in an absurdist nightmare.

It’s a film that people mostly enjoy in the way most cult films are enjoyed, because they’re incredibly strange and mockable and it’s impossible to believe that someone actually made this happen. It’s an adaptation that was so bad that it put an end to the idea of Nintendo games getting made into movies up until the 2019 release of Detective Pikachu proved that they could actually work, leading to Nintendo giving the Mario Brothers one more chance… thank goodness.

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Shazam: Fury Of The Gods (2023) – Less Fury Than Expected

Released: 16th March
Seen: 18th March

In 2019, DC released one of its few good films, Shazam. At the time it felt like somewhat of a revelation, after years of a dark and dour DC universe being built with several below-average films that refused to even try to have a little fun, we finally got a film that seemed to understand why this genre is so popular while also having one of the biggest heartfelt stories in all of Superhero media (The Billy Batson story with his mother is still heartbreaking, I will die on that hill). It might not have been the biggest box office hit, possibly because the DC well was basically poisoned even by that point but somehow it got a sequel that got somewhat delayed by the recent plague but is here now… it’s fine, I guess.

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Cocaine Bear (2023) – THE BEAR DID COCAINE!

Released: 23rd February
Seen: 5th March

In 1985 a 175 kg black bear in the wilderness of Tennessee came upon a bag of cocaine that had been dumped from a plane by Andrew C. Thornton II, a noted drug dealer (who, hilariously, jumped from the plane with his cocaine and died because his parachute didn’t open). Like any good bear who finds a fuckload of cocaine, this big black bear ate so much cocaine that it was later found dead from an overdose. This bear has since been taxidermied and given the glorious name of Cokey The Bear… this is a completely true story, this absolutely happened. The only thing we don’t know is what this bear did between finding the cocaine and dying from the overdose. Cocaine Bear decides to answer that question and it’s absolutely glorious.

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The Sea Beast (2022) – Beastly

Released: 8th July 2022
Seen: 4th March 2023

The Sea Beast Info

The Sea Beast has taken up the spot of the surprise 5th Oscar nominee in this years Best Animated Feature category, it’s the film that’s seemingly there just because they had to round it out to five nominees. The other four are getting nominated time and time again in several other awards shows but The Sea Beast is basically the one in this category that scraped on in. Theoretically, that means it could probably be the one that was missed out of all of these nominated films due to its likelihood of winning being minimal, but it’s also one of the easiest to get a hold of since it sits on Netflix… and you should go watch it because it’s actually pretty damn fantastic.

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Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania (2023) – Otherworldly

Released: 16th February
Seen: 22nd February

Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been somewhat polarising for people who are fans of this cultural juggernaut. In the aftermath of the Infinity Saga and dealing with the events of Endgame, Phase 4 has felt somewhat uneven to some viewers who have been vocal about not really knowing where it’s been going. Personally, this hasn’t felt like a big deal since it felt pretty obvious to me that phase 4 is pulling the double duty of dealing with the aftermath of Endgame (This being the major thread of films like Multiverse of Madness, Love and Thunder and Wakanda Forever) and setting up the Multiverse that will clearly be a large factor for phase 5 (This idea is explored in things like Loki, No Way Home and What if?). Sure they’ve been a little haphazard about how to use these ideas and haven’t really made it clear on what’s to come but the groundwork has been laid… and now with Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania they’ve decided to start showing their hand.

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Triangle of Sadness (2023) – Eat The Rich

Released: 2nd February
Seen: 7th February

It is a truth almost universally acknowledged that the rich are a bunch of bastards, very few who aren’t either rich themselves or a bunch of pathetic bootlickers could argue with that idea. In our capitalist society it turns out that most of the problems that we have as a people are basically due to the actions of a handful of obscenely wealthy people (emphasis on ‘obscene’). The only good thing about these people is that they make for excellent comedy fodder, after all who the hell is going to be offended by a joke at the expense of a billionaire… other than the aforementioned bootlickers. 

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The Banshees of Inisherin (2022) – Finger Flicking Good

Released: 26 December 2022
Seen: 12th January 2023

Martin McDonaugh is a strange but fascinating filmmaker. With three films under his belt (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) the man has already developed a specific style of tragicomedy that can be so dark and bizarre that it’s strangely captivating. His first film, In Bruges, is still probably his best because of the rapid-fire dialogue and the undeniable chemistry of the two lead actors. Something about the combination of Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson just worked so spectacularly together, so much so that clearly Martin wanted to recreate that magic again with The Banshees of Inisherin and for the most part he has.

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Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical (2022) – A Miracle

Released: 25th December
Seen: 27th December

In 1988, Roald Dahl released Matilda onto the world and with it his last truly great character (yes he released 3 books after Matilda but chances are good that you couldn’t name a single character from Esio Trot, The Vicar of Nibbleswickle or The Minpins). The character of a book-smart little girl with the power of telekinesis who takes on the ultimate wicked headmaster was absolutely inspired and almost instantly lit up the imaginations of readers everywhere. It was the kind of story that was destined for adaptation, first with a 1996 cult film and eventually with the musical that was the foundation for this Netflix movie. With the musical being insanely popular and well-loved, the question everyone had is if the magic would translate from the stage to the screen… turns out, Matilda has enough magic to work in almost every medium.

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