A Dog’s Journey (2019) – Dog Gone

Released: 15th August
Seen: 24th August

Today I officially pass a milestone, one I’m genuinely proud of. This is my 100th review for 2019, specifically my 100th review of a current film that’s in cinemas right now. If we include recent throwback reviews, editorials and the Drag Race stuff, the number would be higher but doing 100 written reviews of films from this year feels pretty big, pretty special. It’s the kind of thing that one celebrates by adjusting their schedule and making sure the 100th film is in some way relevant to this blog and my history as a reviewer. Luckily for me, such a film came out. In the first year of this blog I produced a list of the worst films of 2017 and at the very top of that list was a little film called A Dog’s Purpose. I will contend that this film is one of the worst I’ve ever seen and I legitimately loathe everything about it. I also hate its spinoff that came out recently and now we’re at the official sequel, A Dog’s Journey and I am gleeful to inform you that I don’t hate it… hate implies feelings, and this film doesn’t deserve that kind of reaction.

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Sextuplets (2019) – More Like Suckstuplets

Released: 16th August
Seen: 23rd August

In ancient Persia, there was a method of execution known as Scaphism. It’s one of the most creative methods of execution ever created. First, you take two boats of identical shape and place the victim inside one of them, leaving a spot for their head to stick out the end. You put the other boat on top, creating a box that floats, and feed the victim as much food as you can. Then honey and milk is forced down their throat and poured over their head. Soon, their entire head was covered in flies and other assorted bugs, then the milk would work through their digestive system and they would begin to have severe diarrhoea that would fill the boat. They would float around for weeks, slowly being eaten alive by the flies and the bugs that got attracted by the boat full of excrement, one of the most elaborate torturous painful methods of execution known to man… anyway, I saw Sextuplets and now I know how the people in the boat felt.

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Midsommar (2019) – Sommar In The City

Released: 14th August
Seen: 22nd August

In 2018, Ari Aster burst onto the scene with his critical darling Hereditary. It’s possibly one of the most tension-filled films in recent memory with a performance by its lead that can best be described as “Should’ve gotten an Oscar nomination and would’ve if the Academy had anything resembling a functioning brain”. It was a delightfully terrifying film that I ended up giving a three out of five because the ending really threw me. With over a year to think about that, while the ending really did spoil the tension for me I have to admit it deserved at least a four from me so keep that in mind as I’m going to be pitting Midsommar against Hereditary, because Ari Aster is such a unique filmmaker that his current work can only be properly compared to his other work.

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019) – Hooray for Hollywood

Released: 14th August
Seen: 16th August

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is the 9th film by Quentin Tarantino, so possibly his second last if he keeps to the idea of retiring after 10. For this film, Quentin decided to ask one very simple question that would end up creating possibly the most controlled film of his incredible career… what if the Manson Family had gone to the house right next door to Sharon Tate instead. It’s another in Quentin’s series of “Historical Revisionism” movies, along with Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained but I think this might be the best version of that kind of story that Quentin’s ever done.

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The House That Jack Built (2019) – Get Me A Wrecking Ball

Released: 7th March
Seen: 14th August

I do not think there is a more controversial director working today than Lars Von Trier. His films have an extraordinary ability to divide an audience in 10 minutes. You either love his work or hate it and there is no real room for anything between those. He is one of the few true auteur filmmakers who also helped invent an entire movement in cinema known as Dogme 95, which I highly recommend looking up because it is kind of insane and will go a long way into explaining why Von Trier’s films are the way that they are. Now I’ve always been iffy on Lars, enough that I have just kind of avoided his work. I saw Antichrist years ago, a film that I consider one of the great comedies of all time (provided you watch it directly after you watch Irreversible) and I’ve seen clips of Melancholia but I have had no real desire to watch any more of Lars’ movies… and then I decided to be a reviewer and he put out a film that I would need to watch and talk about, so I’m not exactly in a great mood right now but mostly I just need a nap.

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Cabaret (1972) – I Love A Cabaret

So, here’s a fun thing I do that’s very stupid. Sometimes, if a classic film has a reputation as being one of the all time classics… I won’t watch it. Most of these are films from before I was born or, at least, young enough that I wouldn’t have been able to see upon release but if they’re influential as hell then I probably missed them. This is for a variety of reasons that I think make sense (they don’t, I’m dumb). The first is just a lack of availability, half the fun of being in Australia is that a lot of major films don’t end up on easily available streaming services at an affordable rate. The second reason is simply that there’s so many current films out that I genuinely didn’t have the time to catch up on them, I don’t have time to go back and watch Terms of Endearment because I have to go catch a 3pm screening of Here Comes The Grump (like I said, I AM DUMB). The third, and only legitimate reason I have, is that I have this worry that I will be tainted by the films that referenced the classic so it won’t seem as good by comparison. This actually happened with Psycho, a movie I didn’t watch until this year because I had not only seen a billion people reference the shower scene, but I’d seen the horror films that took influence from Psycho and tried to go beyond the kind of violence that was considered shocking in 1960. For the record, upon seeing it I did promptly kick myself for being so dumb but I still do it. I tell you all this because I should’ve seen Cabaret long ago, but I saw everyone reference it and worried it wouldn’t hold up so please remember to aim the tomatoes you want to throw directly at my face, I deserve it.

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The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot (2019) – Don’t Judge A Film By It’s Title

Released: 8th February
Seen: 12th August

Sometimes a film title tells you everything that you need to know about a movie before you even walk into the cinema. A title like Scream, short and pithy as it is, tells you the exact reaction the filmmakers hope to get out of you. A title like Sharknado tells you that you’re in for something gloriously silly and over the top. So how do you think I reacted when I saw that there was a film with the title The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot? That’s right; I was elated because that is one of the most glorious titles that I have ever read in my life. It’s a title that drips with promise and potential, the suggestion of some glorious insanity that will be the kind of film that you watch drunk with friends. It sounded so fun and so camp… and then the film started and delivered a very different film that I’m still unsure about.

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Late Night (2019) – Great Night

Released: 8th August
Seen: 11th August

Let’s be honest, late-night network talk shows are a bit of a boys’ club right now. Just for a minute, sit and think about all the female hosts of an American late-night talk show that you can come up with. My list includes Joan Rivers and ends there because there haven’t been any that can be named because there are none that are really known. I can name at least three late-night network talk shows hosted by a guy named Jim but one hosted by a woman? I got nothing. Heck, if I expand out from network I can really only throw in Chelsea Handler, Kathy Griffin and Busy Phillips and that’s if I rack my brain and count shows that aren’t on the air anymore. So to see a movie in theatres that tackles this issue head-on really brought a smile to my face, and the fact that the film is actually really good made the smile so much bigger.

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Shaft (2019) – Daft

Released: 28th June
Seen: 10th August

In 1971 the world learned the answer to the immortal question “Who’s the black private dick that’s a sex machine to all the chicks?” and turns out, that answer would be an icon of blaxploitation cinema and one of the most badass characters to ever appear on film. John Shaft started as a detective novel before his original trilogy of movies (Shaft, Shaft’s Big Score and Shaft in America) and even ended up with a TV series in the early 70’s before the character was retired until the character was revived in 2000 for a brand new Shaft movie that did fairly well but didn’t get any sequels… until now. Now it has a sequel that did poorly at the box office, was distributed internationally on Netflix and is currently the most critically panned movie in the entire franchise. Does it deserve that kind of treatment? Is the film really bad enough to deserve to be relegated to the trash heap of cinema history? Kind of, but only because it’s kind of bland.

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Point Blank (2019) – Half Points

Released: 12th July
Seen: 9th August

In 2010 the French film À bout portant came out to critical acclaim. Known overseas as Point Blank, it’s a story of a nurse who gets dragged into a world of dirty cops and gangsters when his pregnant wife is kidnapped and he’s under orders to break a known hitman out of prison. Not only did it get a lot of praise but there have been multiple remakes in South Korea, Bangla, a Tamil-language remake and there were even plans for a Bollywood remake, although I can’t find if that one ever got made. With so many countries remaking it you can almost tell that there was an inevitable remake to come from America because subtitles are hard to read and originality is not required anymore so instead let’s take something that was relatively popular somewhere else, slap America on it and we’re good to go… I mean, it’s not great but I’ve seen worse translations.

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