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 Whale (2023) – Big Damn Deal

Released: 2nd February
Seen: 7th February

To be honest, the thought of seeing a film like The Whale is quite frightening to someone like me. A film about a morbidly obese gay man is something that feels a little close to home, while this reviewer might not be at the ‘morbid’ level of obesity it’s hard not to see the images of Brendan Fraser in his expertly constructed fat suit and not see a slight mirror of my own reality. Hell, the ultimate personal irony in seeing this film is that the cinema that was showing this film has chairs that are just a little too small for me to sit in comfortably. Basically, if anyone was either going to have a deep personal connection with this film or be offended by it, that’s going to be me so it’s weird to realise my main reaction is just kind of shrugging.

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The Fabelmans (2023) – Meet The Spielbergs

Released: 5th January
Seen: 7th February

The Fabelmans Info

If one were to make a list of the greatest directors of all time, you wouldn’t get very far before having to write down the name Steven Spielberg. The man has basically been considered one of the best of all time since 1975 (the year he released a little horror flick called Jaws) and every time something comes out with his name attached to it it’s almost certain to be something worth watching. The man just exudes cinema, he understands it better than almost anyone else currently working and seems to have understood what makes a film special for his entire career. With over 40 films to his name it feels like Steven Spielberg has done absolutely everything, except make a film about himself. Turns out, as we learn with The Fabelmans he has broken that barrier too and turns out he’s also fantastic at exposing himself to a large audience… in a non-dirty way.

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Fire of Love (2022) – Red Hot

Released: 11th November 2022
Seen: 5th February 2023

Katia and Maurice Krafft loved two things in life, each other and volcanos. For years the two of them would travel around the world and visit various volcanos, capturing some of the most visually stunning footage of these natural phenomena possible. They were two of the leading volcanologists on the planet until June 3rd, 1991 when they were caught in a pyroclastic flow on Mount Unzen. For years their footage of lava flows has been used to explain the dangers of volcanos and even appeared in documentaries made by other people but now the very footage that these two volcanologists captured will be used to tell their adorable and strange life story in Fire of Love.

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Navalny (2022) – Justice For Alexei Navalny

Released: 11th June 2022
Seen: 27th January 2023

On August 20th 2020, Alexei Navalny was flying from Tomsk to Moscow when suddenly he let out a blood-curdling scream. The scream was to get the attention of the flight crew and anyone who might be able to record as Alexei realised something while in midair… Alexei Navalny, a man known as an anti-corruption giant who was running against Vladimir Putin for the job of president of Russia, had been poisoned. The poison would turn out to be a nerve agent known to be used largely by Putin against his enemies and were it not for the flight making an emergency landing in Omsk, Alexei Navalny would have died on that flight. The documentary Navalny looks into not only why this happened, but the shocking aftermath of Navalny’s unexpected survival.

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All Quiet On The Western Front (2022) – War Is Hell

Released: 28th October 2022
Seen: 26th January 2023

All Quiet On The Western Front Info

With Oscar nominations announced, the time has come to go back and look over films that were nominated that I somehow missed over the last year so that I’m able to make a semi-justifiable post guessing what the winners will be in a month’s time. To start this little trip through the nominees I’m going to talk about the second most nominated film this year, All Quiet On The Western Front which is the third adaptation of the 1929 novel by Erich Maria Remarque. This time the film was actually made in Germany, the country that the novel is set in, and it appears that personal connection has allowed the filmmakers to truly explore the darkness of the material.

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M3GAN (2023) – Living Doll

Released: 12th January
Seen: 19th January

In 2019, thanks to some wild legalese that still makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, MGM released the film Child’s Play which was a remake of the 80s classic of the same name. The big thing that made the new Child’s Play different (besides it being bad) was that the doll was actually a robot with advanced AI that had violence programmed into it… it was dumb and not good in many ways but the fact that it was a feature-length version of the “Someone switched this thing to evil” gag from Treehouse of Horror instead of the possession story that we loved was a big reason why. However, the idea of a child’s toy that kills due to faulty AI isn’t a half-bad idea, it just didn’t work with the Child’s Play franchise but if someone smart were to take that idea and make it original, fun, maybe a little campy and not stupid as fuck then maybe we might have something.

Pleased to report, M3GAN is original, fun, campy and not stupid as fuck, we absolutely have something here.

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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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The Pale Blue Eye (2022) – Meh-dgar Allen Poe

Released: 6th January
Seen: 8th January

The Pale Blue Eye Info

Last year I reviewed a little film called Raven’s Hollow which asked the question “What if Edgar Allen Poe tried to solve a murder that would feel right at home in an Edgar Allen Poe story?” and it was quite OK, it was a good movie that did pretty much what you would hope a film might do with that basis and that was about it. Indeed in general the best thing that can be said about it is that apparently, it might’ve started a mild trend of films where Edgar Allen Poe has to deal with the messed up shit that is found in Edgar Allen Poe stories, which could be a fun genre to play in and while The Pale Blue Eye is certainly trying to do something interesting with the idea, it doesn’t quite do it right.

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