Polar (2019) – Sub-Zero-Par

Released: 25th January
Seen: 22nd February

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On the 1st of February in 1982, the television sketch comedy series Not the Nine O’clock News aired an episode that contained a song called “Nice Video, Shame about the Song”. The song was a satire of the recently created MTV and in particular the music videos that had begun littering it with insanely strange yet interesting imagery that accompanied substandard songs. This was the era when all you needed to make it in the music industry was a confusing “artistic” music video that ran through every new tool that was made available at the time. The Not the Nine O’clock News team satirized this by making the most garishly elaborate video they possibly could, complete with images of comical satanic rituals and Elizabethan dress-up, all set to a song that was intentionally designed to be confusingly bad. It’s one of the most gloriously pointed critiques of the music video genre and the phrase “Nice video, shame about the song” became a bit of a personal shorthand for films that worry so much about looking cool that they don’t bother thinking about things like plot, character or dialogue. Films like Avatar or Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets are films that I would put into this category… and now, we can throw Polar into that very specific group of films

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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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