Cats & Dogs 3: Paws Unite (2020) – Mass Hysteria!

Released: 24th September
Seen: 18th October

Cats & Dogs 3 Info

In 2001, a silly little film called Cats & Dogs came out. No one would dare suggest it was anything more than a cinematic oddity with ninja cats that kept kids entertained for a few hours. It made a lot of money, almost tripling its budget and therefore was pretty much guaranteed a sequel which would happen in 2010 with Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. It wasn’t quite as popular and the joke was wearing thin… so, naturally, due to the ten year cycle that the series appears to have built up that means that in 2020 we needed to get a sequel because God has abandoned us and we are doomed to walk the earth in never ending torment and pain.

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Hubie Halloween (2020) – Helloween

Released: 7th October
Seen: 8th October

Hubie Halloween Info

Late in 2019 during an interview with Howard Stern, Adam Sandler made what can only be seen as a threat. A threat that if he wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for his performance in Uncut Gems that he would come back to make the worst film he’s ever made, which is scary considering that he has already made a movie that got a 0% on RT and almost a half dozen films that don’t even go up to double digits. The idea of the worst film that Adam Sandler could come up with is absolutely terrifying and since he was one of the infamous snubs of the 2020 Oscars it’s been a matter of time, just waiting to see if Sandler would follow through with his threat to perform cinematic terrorism upon an unsuspecting audience. So when Hubie Halloween dropped I wondered if maybe this was it, was this going to be the worst film ever? Well, no because this started being filmed in July of 2019 before the threat was made but it’s still not that good.

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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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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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Necrologies (2018) – Lots Of Fun

Released: 7th March (DVD release)
Seen: 10th April

One thing I’m noticing about films I am being sent to review is that a lot of people want to try the Anthology film as an early work, and I totally get why. It’s a good way to get a bunch of first-time filmmakers to make little short films and string them together without needing to come up with a 90-minute long plot. You just need a good wrap around and a basic idea of the kind of film you’re making and voila, you’ve got yourself an anthology. It’s really hard to do a great anthology film though, I’d probably say Creepshow and VHS are the gold standards of the genre and over the last few weeks, we’ve stumbled upon some anthology films that would probably just barely make the Bronze ranking… well, today I have an easy Silver medalist of Anthology films, it needs a bit of work to get to gold but it’s still wildly impressive on its own merits.

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The Black Gate (2017) – It’s a very pretty gate

Released: 9th July 2019
Seen: 8th April

The Black Gate Info

I know that I’ve been a little harsh on some lower budget features and I swear it’s not intentional. Lower budget features and first-time films tend to come with some serious drawbacks in terms of just what is actually available for the filmmakers to use. Your first film isn’t going to be some grand epic where you have access to the world’s best lighting and sound equipment or an editing bay with high tech CGI to correct issues you didn’t spot on the day. Let’s be honest, your first film will probably be made with mates, shot on a weekend and edited using a pirated copy of Premiere that you’ve had since you downloaded CS2 back in the early 2000s. Sometimes your first film will not look that good and the sad truth is that it’s a little hard to look past sometimes. I promise you, my problems with these films are never about the things that can be explained away by budget because we’ve all been there. Any film student who had to put together a 5 minute short film on a budget of nothing knows how it feels to try and make that work, I’m judging these films based on things that are fixable at any budget level… which brings me to today’s offering, The Black Gate.

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Rutabaga (2018) – Building Up To Something Special

Released: 13th March 2019
Seen: 4th April

Rutabaga Info

In my review of The Platform I mentioned that I had a fair amount of films sent to me for review purposes. These films were supplied by The Movie Agency who have given me a total of 6 films I’ll be going through over the coming weeks. I wanted to pick something light from the selection to begin with, so I picked the shortest one of the bunch because I knew I had less time today than I would normally like to have which is how I ended up reviewing a movie from 2018 called Rutabaga, a film I can genuinely say I enjoyed but probably not for the reasons I was supposed to.

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