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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Happy Death Day 2U (2019) – Déjà vu

Released: 14th February
Seen: 14th February

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In 2017, the year I started reviewing, I was unfortunate enough to be embroiled in a large amount of University work. Because of that, any movie that came out during October of that year was impossible for me to get out and watch. One of those movies was Happy Death Day, which I heard a fairly large amount about but didn’t get to watch until mid-January 2018 when it came out on DVD. Having seen it, let me state this clearly as I can… if I had seen that movie in 2017, it would’ve been on my Top 10 film list that year and probably on the upper end of that list. It is one of my favourite slasher films of all time, it’s deceptively simple concept (Groundhog Day, but it’s a slasher!) and the charming performance by its lead actress created an engaging horror comedy with several moments of brilliance and pulled off one of the hardest things you can do as a modern slasher movie… be PG-13 rated and not suck! So when I heard there was a sequel planned I was pumped, I was eager to see how they would follow this idea with another film and honestly, it’s pretty good.

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Cold Pursuit (2019) – The Plow King

Released: 8th February
Seen: 8th February

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When I was picking what film to go see this week, I put a poll up on my twitter account to ask what to see out of the multiple options available at my local cinema. The movies available to choose from were On The Basis Of Sex, Cold Pursuit and Ben Is Back. By the end of the poll, it was a tie between Cold Pursuit and Ben Is Back. A randomiser then picked the winner, so it’s not my fault that I went to see Cold Pursuit, it was fate… horrible, horrible fate

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Escape Room (2019) – Get Me Out Of Here

Released: 7th February
Seen: 4th February (Advanced Screening)

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In 1997 there was a film released called Cube, a glorious little horror film about six strangers waking up in a cube that turned out to be part of a gigantic maze. During the 90’s horror resurgence this was one of the big markers of change, showing you could basically create a tense powerful horror film that relied on people being intelligent instead of just being the dumb jock and the virgin girl. They also dealt with things like suspicion, doubt and the general fear that comes from not knowing which room is going to carve you up into tiny pieces like a box-shaped blender, creating a sense of tension that built every time they would enter a new room and find a new math puzzle. That’s right, it’s a horror film and everyone tries to save themselves with complicated mathematics. It’s a genuinely brilliant thrill ride and I highly recommend it… because that’s basically what Escape Room is, except Escape Room wishes that it was as intelligent as Cube was.

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The Mule (2019) – No Relation to Gladys the Groovy

Released: 24th January
Seen: 2nd February

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In 2014, the New York Times printed an article titled “The Sinaloa Cartels 90-year-old Drug Mule” about a man named Leo Sharp who spent around a decade as one of the biggest drug runners for El Chapo. Dubbed Tata (The Grandfather), Leo would drive around the country in an old truck with hundreds of pounds of cocaine in the back. He’d go undetected due to his age, his clean record and by how fragile he could appear. The article itself is a fascinating read, exploring just how a senior citizen could go from being a veteran to transporting potentially thousands of kilos of cocaine. It’s a tale that seems tailor-made to be a movie and I guess Clint Eastwood thought that too because now we get a film about the 90-year-old drug mule and honestly, it’s not that bad.

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Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) – Did Somebody Mention Art?

Released: 1st February
Seen: 1st February

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According to Urban Dictionary, the term “Velvet Buzzsaw” is a term with two possible meanings. The first one is a slang term for vagina (Which the dictionary itself uses in the sentence “As the conversation became sexually charged, she could feel her Velvet Buzzsaw begin to hum”). The second being an extreme oral sex technique where the male essentially motorboats the aforementioned vagina, meaning it’s theoretically possible to Velvet Chainsaw a Velvet Chainsaw. Interestingly, both these meanings of the term predate the conception of this movie by decades and neither one really has anything to do with the actual content of the film. It’s a vulgar title that elicits an image that the film itself chooses not to use; it merely refers to it when one female character explains that she used to take that on as a name in a moment that implies it reflects on her past. It’s a nickname that links her to female art groups like Pussy Riot, an artist group that intentionally chose a name that suggests sexuality in order to gain attention so that their message can be heard.  Now, I bring all this up to show you the disconnect between this film and the very idea it’s trying to explore… that art critique done for the purposes of profit is a crime worthy of the death of the critic and all those who might profit from their work. This idea makes this a fun film to try and talk about, but let’s see what happens.

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Glass (2019) – Shattered

Released: 17th January
Seen: 17th January

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In 2000, M. Night Shyamalan brought out the movie Unbreakable. Unbreakable was a movie that posed the question “What if superheroes were real people?” roughly 8 years before anyone had even contemplated the idea of a Marvel Cinematic Universe. While it barely made its budget back domestically, the film is considered one of the best superhero films made and was made back when the name M. Night Shyamalan didn’t immediately elicit a groan from paying customers. Then in 2016, Split came out and was a huge success and basically rehabilitated M. Night’s image after a string of disasters. It also had a scene at the end of it that told the audience that Split and Unbreakable were in the same universe and it was only a matter of time before the main characters from both movies would have to meet… but did they have to meet in a place like this?

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