Hostage House (2021) – Hell House

Released: 27th July
Seen: 29th July

Hostage House Info

Film releases sometimes happen in little patterns. A certain period of the year is usually for the big blockbusters, another period tends to be for the prestige films trying to get an Oscar, other periods are known as dumping grounds go. Well I’m noticing a new pattern forming, it seems like this point every year is when Netflix seems to release a particularly pathetic wannabe TV movie thriller. First was Secret Obsession, then Dangerous Lies and now we have the utter excrement that is Hostage House, a movie I wouldn’t even program at 3am on the cheapest network you could contemplate.

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Gunpowder Milkshake (2021) – Almost Totally Badass

Released: 15th July
Seen: 28th July

Normally I start these things with a little fun thing that will provide some context for the review, either on why the film exists or on a bit about the genre or even just a bit about my relationship to the material in order to try and paint a broader picture. Today, just a little mild housekeeping before I talk about Gunpowder Milkshake. My home state of NSW has been in lockdown thanks to covid for the last month, which is why I’ve had the time to basically do one of these every day and why you might’ve spotted I missed out on some recent releases like Space Jam 2, Fast & Furious 9 and Escape Room 2. Well, that lockdown’s been extended throughout August so I’m gonna miss a bunch of those releases too, which is particularly annoying cos I know some of the big ones are gonna be on HBONow and I can’t access that (I think) so please just keep my home state in your thoughts, hopefully we can get things on track and return to normal… anyway, let’s talk about a film that only released in cinemas down here but was also on Netflix in the US so was therefore relatively easy to access.

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Synchronic (2021) – An Interesting Time (Travel)

Released: 11th February
Seen: 23rd July

Synchronic Info

Time travel in movies is always a fun thing to try and deal with because everyone will try to logic around it. I saw this happen most recently with Endgame where a large amount of people kept trying to explain away how none of the time travel stuff made sense because it should’ve created alternative timelines and things of that nature (something that grew so large that Marvel just spent a full season of television going “look, if an alternate timeline did happen, these space cops would come and stop it”). I have a personal rule about time travel in movies, which is “It’s not a real thing, it’s literally a trick to explain why modern day people are in the past, stop overthinking it” which is possibly why I had a somewhat good time watching Synchronic which might have one of the more interesting uses of Time Travel I’ve seen in a while.

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Run, Hide, Fight (2021) – Die Soft

Released: 5th May
Seen: 9th July

Run, Hide, Fight info

As a general rule I try my hardest not to let my personal politics impact my enjoyment of a film. I won’t pretend I don’t have intellectual differences with certain films ideas, I even spell them out in order to give context, but I can and have enjoyed movies with values I don’t agree with made by companies run by people who I don’t agree with… so, even though this movie was released in the US by Ben Shapiro’s website, The Daily Caller, a site I would consider a gateway drug to fascism and white supremacy, I promise you that connection had nothing to do with my enjoyment of the film… no, because in order to enjoy this film I would have to have little to no good taste even before I looked into its connections because it’s just so poorly made.

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Vanquish Header

Vanquish (2021) – Destroy It!

Released: 2nd June
Seen: 2nd July

Vanquish Info

Normally when I review a film, I will try to avoid looking up other reviews or even look at the number on Rotten Tomatoes because I really don’t want to be influenced when writing my own piece. I would hate to steal a line by accident or have my views influenced by the group, I’d rather like an unpopular film than pretend to hate it just to fit in. So, when I was googling the movie Vanquish in order to have the IMDB page up so I could get the spelling of certain names correct and saw that it had a 5% on Rotten Tomatoes I was in shock because that’s worse than the score for Music, and Music is my current front runner for worst of the year. Surely this can’t be that bad, can it?

…it’s close.

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The Ice Road (2021) – Driving On Thin Ice

Released: 25th June
Seen: 29th June

The Ice Road Info

In 2000 the History Channel had a series known as “Suicide Missions” and during that series they aired a special on the profession of Ice Road Truckers. This episode would prove to be popular during reruns and would lead to one of History Channel’s biggest hit series, known simply as Ice Road Truckers. The show went for 11 seasons, the last one ending in 2017. Now, what’s mildly interesting is that the first season was so popular that Fox bought the rights to make a movie out of it. I’m not sure if this is what that movie ended up being but it sure does seem like the kind of thing you commission in 2008 and bury for 13 years because it’s utter garbage.

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Captive (2021) – Captivating

Released: 7th May
Seen: 28th June

Captive Info

Delusional Misidentification Syndrome is a term that covers a large list of mental illnesses that have ended up being used in media. Very simply put, these disorders can cause people to believe that their loved ones have been replaced or that they themselves are dead or even that multiple people are actually the same person in disguise. That last one, known as the Fregoli delusion, seems to be the foundation for the film I’m reviewing today called Captive.

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Awake (2021) – Snoozefest

Released: 9th June
Seen: 15th June

Awake Info

Sometimes a film can have a simple well-worn idea and use it well enough to make something interesting, and sometimes a film can have an interesting original idea and be about as bland as paper made from milk toast and mayonnaise. Awake is going to be that second kind of film and you’re probably going to be as irritated as I am at just how badly they wasted a potentially interesting idea on a film that’s so forgettable and stupid.

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Oxygen (2021) – Breathe In The Goodness

Released: 12th May
Seen: 15th June

Oxygen Info

Alexandre Aja is a fascinating director. He first really came to prominence with his film Haute Tension, part of an era of horror cinema known as “New French Extremity” which, very basically, means French films that really messed with people in the early 2000’s. He would go on to make the Hills Have Eyes remake (one of the few good 2000’s horror remakes), Piranha 3D (another one of the few good 2010’s horror remakes) and Crawl (2019 Best Film honorable mention). His films have this weird pattern of somehow getting less extreme the longer he works, which is a fascinating projection for one of the founding members of the New French Extremity movement. It fits that pattern then that Oxygen might be his most subdued film yet, but it’s still really damn good.

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The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard Title Card

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (2021) – It’s a little looney

Released: 24th June
Seen: 10th June (Advance Screening)

The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard Info

4 years ago, The Hitman’s Bodyguard was released to theatres and it was a cartoon-scented blast of joy straight to the heart. A giddy concoction made up of equal parts explosions and the word “motherfucker” that gave the audience a mindless ride that went for a few hours with some of the most charismatic stars to be put on this planet. Naturally, a movie that’s going for something that broad made bank and so, with The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, we get a sequel that’s more of what we saw before and thank god for that because I need that familiar sense of normalcy.

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