The Chaperone (2019) – Drowsy

Released: 25th April
Seen: 8th May

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The life of Louise Brooks is a fascinating thing to learn about. She started her career as a dancer of the Denishawn School of Dancing and Related Arts in 1922, joined the troupe and would be fired in 1924. She would soon find a job working in the legendary Ziegfeld Follies in 1925 where she would be spotted by Walter Wagner of Paramount who would put her in her first movie, The Street of Forgotten Men. From there she slowly became a contract player for movie studios where she would appear in films by Howard Hawks and William Wellman, including one of the first talkies, and her iconic bob haircut was soon turned into a trend. She would soon grow to hate the Hollywood scene and went to make films in Europe and was eventually placed on an unofficial blacklist which effectively killed her career. Take a brief scroll through her Wikipedia page sometime and you’ll see just how wild her life was, filled with soaring highs and saddening lows. Even her life after Hollywood reads like the most dramatic tale, filled with bankruptcies and addiction. She even became a call girl at one point in order to make ends meet before becoming a writer, a collection of her writing titled Lulu in Hollywood was a best seller. Her life story would make for a 3 hour epic of grandiose proportions… but that would take a large amount of effort and no one wants to do that so instead, we’re going to slap some ill-fitting costumes on people who look a little bit like Louise and tell a story about her Chaperone instead.

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Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019) – God Damn That’s A Long Title!

Released: 3rd May
Seen: 4th May

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Even though we don’t like to admit it, on some level our society has always had a fascination with serial killers. There’s a reason why we have so many crime re-enactment shows, why there are magazines sold that talk about brutal crimes, movie monsters are inspired by some of the most evil people to have roamed this earth. One of the most infamous men to have ever disgraced the earth with his existence was Theodore Robert Bundy AKA Ted Bundy, a vile murderer who brutalised over 30 women, performing acts so disgusting to all of them that it’s impossible to believe he was ever even remotely close to human. The story of his evil is so horrifically fascinating that it’s been the source of over half a dozen movies and documentaries, a recent Netflix series that became controversial almost instantly as it seemed to fail to actually offer any actual insight beyond what we already knew. Now we have a bright, glossy, star-studded film that tries to cram every strange and disturbing detail of the demonic bastard’s crimes into 108 minutes that was directed by the same man who created the aforementioned Netflix series… and god damn do I mean it when I say they just crammed it in there.

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The Aftermath (2019) – Bland

Released: 23rd April
Seen: 3rd May

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So, this one is going to be exceptionally hard to write about. In general, when a movie gives me a lot to work with it’s fairly easy to sit here and explain why it does or doesn’t work. A particularly good or bad film can almost create its own review through sheer excitement or revulsion. What’s a lot more difficult to write about are movies where I feel absolutely nothing, not a shred of emotion either for or against the film. A generic boring slog will always be the hardest thing to write about because while describing why the movie is a generic boring slog, I have to attempt to ensure that this review isn’t a generic boring slog… though it does help when the boring film shouldn’t actually be boring based upon its subject matter.

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The Upside (2019) – There Is No Upside

Released: 19th April
Seen: 21st April

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In 2011, the film The Intouchables was released. A French film based upon real events, it told the story of a wealthy quadriplegic and a poor black man who come together and change each other for the better. The movie was a box office smash, netting 400 million worldwide and gaining enough critical acclaim and love from the audience that, at the time of writing, it ranks 39 on the IMDB list of top rated films of all time. It is a film that has resonated with its audience… but it’s in a language other than English so by the laws of Hollywood, they have to remake the film for audiences who don’t want to bother reading subtitles and in the process make a film that… exists?

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Five Feet Apart (2019) – Stay Away

Released: 28th March
Seen: 30th March

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The Teen Romance genre is not a genre made for critics. They’re never really meant for anyone other than a very specific demographic, never have loftier goals besides giving people the feels and usually are variations on a trope with some mild set dressing. Nicholas Sparks literally put his kids through college writing books that played specifically to this audience and there is a large fanbase for this kind of film. I, meanwhile, am a 31-year-old gay man who has become cynical about these films due to overexposure so the question becomes, can I put aside my biases against this genre and be fair? Well, I tried but it doesn’t help that the movie sucks.

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Hotel Mumbai (2019) – I Have Absolutely No Funny Pun Or Subtitle To Put Here

Released: 14th March
Seen: 26th March

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In 2008, between the 26th of November and the 29th of November, 10 armed gunmen took to multiple locations in South Mumbai, including a cinema, a railway station, a cafe and a pair of hotels including the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Over four days these terrorists killed at least 166 people and wounded 300 before police were finally able to take them down, killing nine of them while one was captured and his information led to multiple other arrests before he was also executed by the state. It’s a horrific story that is referred to as 26/11 by many people and, here’s where things get weird, has been made into 5 movies in the years since then. Today we’re going to talk about the latest film about this terrifble event.

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Fighting with My Family (2019) – PURE ELECTRICITY!

Released: 21st March
Seen: 24th March

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Let’s get this out of the way right up the top; I’m not a fan of wrestling. I’ve never gotten into it, I grew up right when it was really starting to explode in popularity and can even remember kids in my class in primary school yelling “The Rock is pure electricity” and not having a single clue what they were talking about. It’s a worldwide phenomenon that a lot of people really love and I really just can’t get into. So, a film that follows a family that is madly in love with the sport is going to have to work a little harder to win me over. It can’t just rely on a lot of insider knowledge in order for me to be able to get into it, it needs to be a little more than that. It needs to somehow play a balancing act between giving the wrestling audience what it wants while also providing those of us outside that very specific fanbase with something to enjoy. Imagine my surprise when the movie starts and I not only end up enjoying it, I end up loving almost every single second.

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Serenity (2019) – How’s the serenity?

Released: 20th February
Seen: 23rd March

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In 2005, Joss Whedon was given the chance to adapt his cult hit series Firefly into a feature-length film. The film, Serenity, was an intense action sci-fi film where the crew of a spaceship tried to find out why one of them is being chased by an operative who is tasked with killing them. It’s a fascinating film that’s gloriously shot and wonderfully written with some really great action set pieces and its criminally underrated… so it really upsets me that now when you Google that film’s title, you’re  going to first have to come across the 2019 movie of the same name that’s so hilariously bad that it’s almost art.

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Greta (2019) – Great

Released: 28th February
Seen: 3rd March

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One of my favourite films of all time is Fatal Attraction. The tale of a woman obsessing over a man who she has an affair with created one of the tensest motion pictures that I’ve ever experienced. It’s the film that I believe Glenn Close deserved an Oscar for and it’s a story archetype that I’ve grown interested in. Tales of obsession slowly turning into something terrifying will always get my attention, so when I heard that there was a new thriller out there that tried to handle the idea of obsession I was intrigued and hopeful that I might find something to join Fatal Attraction in my list of great thrillers and while Greta might not be as great as Fatal Attraction, it’s pretty damn awesome.

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Paddleton (2019) – Sweet Enough

Released: 22th February
Seen: 23rd February

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Originally, I was planning to see a movie called Lords of Chaos, a thriller about a Norwegian Black Metal band. I didn’t know much about it, other than it was inspired by an actual band and involved suicide, murder, arson and other shocking concepts. I was going to go see that but since I don’t make money from this and don’t get critic screenings a cost factor kicked in and I decided it wasn’t worth it so instead I ended up watching a movie about a man slowly dying of cancer… which, shockingly, was way more enjoyable sounding than the movie about the Norwegian Black Metal band.

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