Trolls World Tour (2020) – All Over The World

Released: 17th September
Seen: 13th September (Advance Screening)

Trolls World Tour Info

When we look back on 2020 in film (through the spaces between our fingers like one might watch a particularly gory horror movie) there will be one film that stands out as having changed cinema forever. That film will be Trolls World Tour, one of the first films to make the leap from a cinematic release to a VOD release that created a stand off between AMC theatres and Universal that ended with Universal getting to put their films on VOD a lot sooner than they ever had been able to before and AMC gets to maybe show James Bond movies if we ever put big blockbusters out again. This film hit VOD in April… oh wait, I’m sorry, it hit VOD in the USA back in April but because of reasons, I had to wait until it came out in an Australian cinema in the middle of September in order to see it. Seriously, this kind of gap is dumb at the best of times but during a pandemic? ANYWAY

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The Sleepover (2020) – I’m So Extremely Tired

Released: 21st August
Seen: 9th September

The Sleepover Info

In 2001 the movie Spy Kids was released to an unsuspecting public. The story of the Cortez family became something of a major hit, in part because it had such a fun and simplistic story. A pair of kids found out that their uncool parents were actually spies and when those parents were kidnapped it was up to the children to learn how to be spies themselves and rescue their parents. When I say it was a hit, I mean it, the film raked in over $140 million worldwide and was one of the 20 highest grossing films of the year. It led to a bunch of sequels and, naturally, some rip offs… including The Sleepover which is clearly copying so many ideas that Spy Kids had roughly 2 decades later which means it isn’t dated in the slightest.

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Fearless (2020) – I Fear Nothing

Released: 14th August
Seen: 8th September

Fearless Info

In this, the year of impending doom and sadness, a lot of great animated films are either shunted off to the land of digital downloads or postponed until we feel like it’s safe to let a large number of children share an enclosed space again. Of course, this plague makes things like Netflix turn into a go to source for children’s entertainment which means that films like Fearless might seem like a great idea to entertain the small ones who are in desperate need for something to distract them but despite its bright colors and simplistic fart jokes, this film is not good enough to properly entertain your kids.

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Go! (2020) – Seriously… GO!

Released: 16th January
Seen: 2nd September

Go Info

In the 80s there was this trend of films that basically wanted to go out and copy The Karate Kid, which was understandable since Karate Kid was a monster hit. There were sequels, spin offs, rip offs and more. Hell, right now someone is apparently working on a musical based on the Karate Kid. It was a monster hit for a reason, it’s a fantastic film with charming characters, brilliant performances and a classic underdog story that tugs at the heartstrings… and if you remove the words “Charming” “Brilliant” and “Classic underdog” from that description, but effectively make the same film, you get Go!, a 2020 Australian film that almost completely lost me within the first 30 minutes and didn’t gain me back for the rest of the film.

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Magic Camp Promo Image

Magic Camp (2020) – Abraca-NO!

Released: 14th August
Seen: 16th August

Magic Camp Info

Disney+ original movies are what we will kindly call a mixed bag… unkindly we can say I’d like to put a mix of them into a bag and then throw that bag in a river. They aren’t good, and today I will be talking about another not good one because apparently somehow we started with a movie called Magic Camp that was meant to be written and star the iconic Steve Martin and ended up with a discount TV movie starring Jeffrey Tambor… fun.

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Animal Crackers Header Image

Animal Crackers (2020) – Moderately Adequate

Released: 24th July
Seen: 29th July

Animal Crackers Info

In 1930 the Marx Brothers released Animal Crackers, probably one of their best films. It contains several of Groucho’s best lines, the song Hooray for Captain Spaulding is one of the classics from the group and it was based on one of their highly popular stage plays. I bring this up because I was genuinely stunned, one might even say I was perplexed when I saw that there was going to be an animated film based on the Animal Crackers property… and then I watched it, realised that it had nothing whatsoever to do with the Marx Brothers and then wrote this paragraph because the movie doesn’t exactly give me a lot to work with for a good opening.

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Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs (2020) – Fairy Fail

Released: 2nd July
Seen: 8th July

In 1937, Disney released what many regard as the definitive version of the German fairy tale Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs. It’s certainly the version that most of us think of when we talk about that legendary fable, to the point where the question “What are the names of the seven dwarfs” is answered with “Doc, Grumpy, Sleepy, Happy, Sneezy, Dopey and Bashful” instead of the names used in the original Grimm’s fairy tale. Do you even know what the dwarfs were named in the original Grimm’s fairy tale? Trick question, they didn’t have names and were referred to either as a collective or by “The first one, the second one, etc”. With Disney’s version looming large over the history of the story, every version since then has had to try and do something to make it stand apart from the most well-known iteration of this story. Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs decided to be confusingly boring, which is fun.

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Artemis Fowl (2020) – Artless and Foul

Released: 12th June
Seen: 16th June

In 2001, Eoin Colfer released Artemis Fowl which was the first in a series of eight novels surrounding the adventures of the titular Artemis as he fights fairies, tries to save his father and… uh… do his taxes? I’ll be honest, I never read the Artemis Fowl book series as around that time I was just getting into the Harry Potter series (Yes, I’m aware that I bet on the wrong horse there. Sure Harry Potter had a good run of movies but… well, now I have to deal with liking the work of a transphobe so the Artemis Fowl fans won this in the long run) and didn’t have time for another book series about a 12-year-old in a battle with fantastical creatures stories, When I heard there was going to be a film of Artemis Fowl released this year I was mostly just happy to see Disney making a film that wasn’t just a remake of their earlier work. Then the apocalypse happened and Disney seemed almost eager to move this film to their streaming service… and having seen it, I can see why because oh god this one isn’t good.

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The Willoughbys (2020) – Home Alone: Extreme Edition


Released: 
22nd April
Seen: 24th April

So, I know right now we’re all a little frazzled thanks to the mild apocalypse we’ve got going on. The people who are probably most in need of a respite from the insanity are the parents of young kids who are just running about without anything to watch since they’ve probably sat through Trolls: World Tour and Onward about 17 times each. Well, let me offer something that might delight them… and might make them work out ways to murder their parents, but they will be quiet for an hour and a half so you can decide if that trade-off is worthwhile.

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Onward (2020) – Spellbinding

Released: 26th March
Seen: 21st March (Advance Screening Weekend)

Onward might go down as one of the unluckiest movies in recent Disney history since its release just happened to fall when the coronavirus pandemic basically shut down everything, including most theatres. Normally a Pixar film is basically guaranteed to make 100 million in the first week, get its budget covered in the second week and be on the way to one of the highest grossing films of the year. That’s now not happening, thanks to corona. If you want to be in genuine shock at just how suddenly this hit, go look at the box office of Onward. Onward is still technically the top grossing film in America and yet it’s barely cracking a thousand bucks a theatre. I bring this up because it explains why they made a pivot and released this one straight to VOD in the states and why it’ll be on Disney+ soon. So now the question becomes “Is this film worth a slightly higher than normal rental price to stream at home” and honestly? Yeah, because it’s a pretty great film.

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