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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Isn’t It Romantic (2019) – Heartwarming or Heartburn?

Released: 28th February
Seen: 5th March

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This review was going to start with a paragraph that would try to discuss the concept of postmodernism, originally I would go through the concept and throw out a few assorted examples like Duchamp’s “Fountain” or the movie Scream and then create this elaborate explanation about how it’s self-critical and how no one understands it. This is how a lot of my reviews begin, a tangential observation about the general concept of the film that is meant to provide context and to have something that appears before the “Read More” text on the main page. This allows me a chance to not only give a point of reference early but to make use of a stupidly expensive degree that I will probably never get to use in any other context… and that, my dear reader, is a postmodern version of the opening paragraph to a movie that clearly is trying to be a postmodern critique of romantic comedies.

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If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) – Let Them Talk

Released: 7th February
Seen: 18th February

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In America today, one of the major issues is the way people are shuttled through the prison system, specifically people of colour. Thanks to a large amount of systemic racism that poisoned the prison system, African Americans now make up over a third of the prison population while only making up roughly a tenth of the American population. For me to go further into the details of what this means would be a pointless aside, though if you want the full context you’re going to need for this film then I suggest watching the amazing (and should’ve been Academy Award winning) documentary 13th on Netflix. The story of the prison system and what it has done to black American’s is the backdrop for If Beale Street Could Talk and while you might not need that bit of knowledge, it will make the film a richer experience.

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Alita: Battle Angel (2019) – ROBOTS FIGHTING!!!

Released: 14th February
Seen: 15th February

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In 1991 the first volume of the manga Battle Angel Alita, or Gunnm as it’s known in Japan, was released. The series would follow the titular Alita, a cyborg with no memories except for a very particular fighting style that she ends up using to become a bounty hunter. The series ran 9 volumes between ’91 and ’95, with several follow up series continuing the story of Alita. The series is actually still being released today with an English release date for the latest one meant to come out at the end of April this year… and, as if always the case with these adaptations, I never read the original manga. My research tells me that this movie comprises of the first 4 volumes in the series… you can tell, you can seriously tell.

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IO (2019) – Zzz

Released: 18th January
Seen: 22nd January

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There is nothing on this earth that is quite as boring as spending time watching paint dry. The very concept is used as a mocking description of boredom, an understandable comparison since the idea of enduring the sight of a wall covered in a beige coloured liquid comprised of pigment, binder and solvent until that liquid becomes a solid is an interminably long one as paint can take a very large amount of time to lose its liquid quality. This concept is a cousin to a similar explanation of boredom that we call “Watching Grass Grow”, both ideas suggesting just staring at something that does something so slowly that it’s almost impossible for the naked eye to witness it happening. I would like to also include the phrase “Watching the movie IO” as a new descriptive term for boredom.

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Second Act (2018) – Intermission

Released: 6th December
Seen: 18th December

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Peter Segal
Justin Zackham
Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas
Jennifer Lopez
Leah Remini
Vanessa Hudgens
Milo Ventimiglia
Freddie Stroma

There is something in a comedy that is more valuable than the script will ever be, an element that a lot of films seem to forget. It’s the chemistry in the cast. A good cast with great chemistry can make absolutely any film work, while a bad cast couldn’t make a Marx Brother’s routine funny. It’s more important than anything else that the cast is able to make a scene feel funny and charming, even when the jokes aren’t exactly the best thing ever… my god, this might be one of the most delightfully charming casts that I’ve ever had the joy of seeing on film.

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A Star Is Born (2018) – Come On Everybody, Shout Out Loud

Released: 18th October
Seen: 9th November

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There is probably no movie that’s been remade more times than A Star Is Born. It started as a film called “What Price Hollywood” back in 1932 before it got the iconic title we now know in 1937 when Janet Gaynor took on the lead role. It was an episode of the TV series Robert Montgomery Presents back in 1951. 1954 brought us the Judy Garland version of this story. Barbra Streisand had her turn at it in 1976 and now it’s Lady Gaga’s turn to take on the role of a young songwriter who falls for an older alcoholic who slowly pulls her into the spotlight and might end up taking her down with him… I look forward to the remake in 2035 when a sentient AI that sings will star in the new version.

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