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DVDs and Films You Have Watched Recently 3 - The Final Insult


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I started watching The Witcher the other night before quickly realizing the reason I was watching The Witcher was because I had the telly to myself then had a Cavil sized reminder that I should take that opportunity to watch the latest Mission Impossible. 

What a man he is. What a 'tache. The film is great and all but Cavil punching stuff and breaking shit was great. That guy deserves a proper franchise built around him although he probably works best in this kind of role. No idea if that franchise is The Witcher though.

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I walked into the sitting room after reading my daughter Oi! Frog, Oi! Cat, Oi! Dog and Oi! Duck Billed Playpus for bedtime and the missus was engrossed in Terminator 2, which I wasn’t expecting, beca

My poor missus had to put up with me kicking off over the whole debacle when I walked in the door last night after it. The poor woman. She was only about to get into bed and had to deal with a 39 year

Speaking of Jack Lemmon, my brother once worked at the Box Office in The Strand theatre.  Jack Lemmon was performing in a play there, he seemed down to earth but kept himself to himself.  Out of respe

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Playing With Fire

Big Match John does it again. He really does have such great comedy timing. Quality cast in this beyond him and this was a lot funnier than I expected. 

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Alive

Never seen it before. Not likely to again. A pretty poor performance overall. They all kind of acted as if the situation was some sort of inconvenience. Other than the initial crash, I never felt as though they were in any real danger. 

Also, if they went to the effort of portraying Uruguayans and kept the South American names, at least make a fucking effort with the accents. 

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A Simple Favour. I know it's hardly an unpopular opinion on here but Anna Kendrick is great, isn't she?

I didn't know anything about it going in and I was really pleasantly surprised by this. I thought it would pass the time but it was better than I thought it would.

A fun little murder mystery.

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1 hour ago, Steve Justice said:

Also, if they went to the effort of portraying Uruguayans and kept the South American names, at least make a fucking effort with the accents. 

I can't imagine getting Ethan Hawke to do a shitty Latino accent would have made that film any better.

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50 minutes ago, Devon Malcolm said:

I can't imagine getting Ethan Hawke to do a shitty Latino accent would have made that film any better.

This is true.

If only there were Latino actors that could have been cast instead. I'd loved to have seen Banderas, Trejo and Cheech (basically the cast of Desperado) in that line up. At least with Trejo they would have had a machete to chop the meat up with. 

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2 hours ago, Steve Justice said:

Also, if they went to the effort of portraying Uruguayans and kept the South American names, at least make a fucking effort with the accents. 

Nah, because then I'd be wondering why they aren't speaking Spanish.

Fun fact about this film, years back I thought this film was called Frozen and was bewildered why the women in the office were all saying how their daughters and nieces all loved it.  

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As is tradition, we watched a Die Hard movie on Christmas - this year Die Hard 4.  

I remember this getting not great reviews when it came out, and I didn't think it was brilliant when I first watched it, but actually it was great fun - a really old-fashioned stunt movie with some good set pieces, some snappy dialogue and well paced.  Definitely felt like a proper Die Hard film.  Might actually be better than Die Hard 3, which last time I saw it hadn't aged so well.

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Watched Fighting With My Family on Netflix on Christmas night, a lot of it was hokey bullshit about Paige's time in NXT (ignoring the fact she was NXT Women's champ at the time she debuted and Rock ringing Ricky to tell the family she was going to be showing up at Raw to win the title being the two biggest culprits)  and they kind of forced Rock a lot in the movie but it was very enjoyable, liked the clips from the actual documentary in the credits that matched bits in the film

Not sure who were meant to be represented by the no marks at the tryouts and in the PC, I did spot the real Dave Mastiff and I'm guessing the guy with long hair and fur vest next to 'Paige' was Pete Dunne, I'm also guessing 1-2 of the girls in the shared house were meant to be similar to Charlotte and/or Summer Rae. Also recognised Roy Knight as the guy 'Zak' faced in the cage match

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11 hours ago, Loki said:

As is tradition, we watched a Die Hard movie on Christmas - this year Die Hard 4.  

The rodeo riding of a fighter jet meant that I've never watched 5, even after the Mrs bought me the complete collection Blu-ray boxset, as I never wanted to be hurt like that again.

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13 hours ago, Loki said:

As is tradition, we watched a Die Hard movie on Christmas - this year Die Hard 4.  

I remember this getting not great reviews when it came out, and I didn't think it was brilliant when I first watched it, but actually it was great fun - a really old-fashioned stunt movie with some good set pieces, some snappy dialogue and well paced.  Definitely felt like a proper Die Hard film.  Might actually be better than Die Hard 3, which last time I saw it hadn't aged so well.

I watched this in a cinema in Dundee with my Dad (or Da), after climbing Ben Nevis. When we asked what time the 8.30 showing would start, we were told ‚Äú8.30...there‚Äôs no adverts‚ÄĚ and yep, it started bang on. Bless the Scots.

Let It Snow

Not one of the better Netflix Originals but there’s a fairly talented young cast keeping it all together and my 10 year old liked it. Also, a Joan Cusack appearance is always lovely. 

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It's the end of the year, which means my annual post of sorting through the new-release films I've seen and deciding an order is about to happen. It's going to be a long post so either don't read it or skip to the end or I'll just tell you my favourite film of 2019 was probably Blinded By The Light and how much you disagree with that will determine how much you want to read.

I think I saw 40 new-release films this year, including Netflix originals - which is by absolutely no means comprehensive, but is quite good going by my standards.

 

Things started off pretty regally in January with The Favourite followed a couple of weeks later by Mary Queen Of Scots. I both liked and didn't like The Favourite. Kings and queens are one of my favourite subjects within history, and I really liked the portrayal of Queen Anne (it's also pretty much the only time she's been depicted in a prominent way on screen). The agonising gout, the sudden changes of favourites, the metaphor of the rabbits representing the children she lost, all very good. I didn't mind that it took liberties with the history - and that Yorgos Lanthimos, as a Greek, felt he didn't need to stick to the facts to tell the story. On the other hand, there's a bit towards the end where it does not look like one of the rabbits is being treated well at all, and it's unnecessary and kind of negates most of the positives for me. Mary Queen Of Scots was fine. Good cast, well performed, but not particularly memorable. Though it didn't look like they hurt any animals so it's got that going for it.

Saw a couple more Oscar contenders in February - Vice (liked it more than The Big Short, but like that film it's kind of faded from memory as the months have passed) and Green Book (watching it you could just tell it was going to win the Oscar. I'd read about the controversies before seeing the film and couldn't decide after watching it how far it veered into truly problematic or whether its status as an Oscar frontrunner gave the issues more prominence than they had in the film itself, if that makes sense. It probably doesn't). Also Fighting With My Family, which, you know, I really liked. I approached it as a wrestling fan more than anything and I was so impressed by the way it skirted that line between showing how wrestling works without demeaning people who like it 'because it's all fake' - you could understand how winning a title is so important even if you know in advance you're winning it. My partner approached it as a non-wrestling-fan who is interested by things like bump-taking and how matches and angles are put together and she really liked it too. And it has Florence Pugh and I've never seen her be less than excellent.

All about the Marvel in March and April. March: Captain Marvel - it's okay, but it's not top-tier MCU for me. Only just mid-tier, if I'm honest. Brie Larson is great and the de-aging is impressive but the story never grabbed me. Partner was so bored by it she left for about 15 minutes in the middle because she thought going for a bit of a walk during the film would be more interesting. April was, of course, Avengers: Endgame. Which I loved with caveats. It's got logic holes a Giant-Man's bumhole wide, but the satisfying moments are so very satisfying I can forgive them. I had issues with Thor seemingly being played for laughs - and while, rewatching at home, it didn't actually feel that way (Hemsworth is heartbreaking and tragic more often than he's going for the joke), the fact that audiences found the fact he'd gained weight hilarious means that however they intended it, it came off a bit iffy. Overall, I prefer Infinity War but as someone who's watched every MCU film so far multiple times you couldn't ask for a grander finale.

My 2019 film rankings as of April

1) Avengers: Endgame

2) Fighting With My Family

3) Vice

4) Captain Marvel

5) Green Book

6) Mary Queen Of Scots

7) The Favourite

 

On to May now! May was full of films (some of which I probably watched in June. I can't remember) so it's time for subdivision...

At the cinema: 

Tolkien - it's alright! Hammers you over the head with the THIS BIT INSPIRED A BIT OF LORD OF THE RINGS but has some lovely moments.

Booksmart - went to see this based on the fizzy fizzy sugar buzz of the reviews. I didn't love it as much as they all did, but I really liked it a lot. Thought the friendship between Feldstein and Dever was genuine and really well-portrayed, and Billie Lourd was an absolute highlight. It should hopefully go down as this decade's defining teen/high school movie. More Olivia Wilde directed movies please.

Late Night - fine. Mindy Kaling good, Emma Thompson also good. 

Pokemon: Detective Pikachu - I love the premise (real world but Pokemon exist - it's like my GameBoy-playing daydreams come to life) and thought the execution was piss-poor. Justice Smith holds it all together to the extent I almost forgive him for his crimes in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Bill Nighy has never phoned anything in more in his life. I don't care what they said on the press junket about him getting really into it, just listen to how he gets his mouth around the word "Pokemon". That actor surely does not want to be there.

On Netflix:

The Dirt  - this had been out a little while by the time I got round to it (almost watched it on a train, thought better of it). It's like Walk Hard never happened. Rock biopic by numbers. And I haven't read the book, but I bet the film didn't include a fraction of the depravity Motley Crue got up to. It didn't even inspire me to listen to anything by them afterwards.

Unicorn Store - the kindest thing I can think of to say about this is it's like Garden State for people who are currently the age I was when I saw Garden State. I am no longer that age and I just couldn't stomach the quirkiness.

The Wandering Earth - watched this because I'd read somewhere it was the biggest movie ever in China. I can't speak for China but it ranks among the biggest piles of shite I've ever seen.

Knock Down The House - I loved this because I love AOC. Depressing, uplifting, inspiring, wonderful documentary making.

On a long-haul flight:

Stan and Ollie - a beautiful, warm hug of a film. I didn't expect to love this as much as I did - after initial interest, the trailer almost put me off because it looked like it showed you the whole film. It kind of does, but what the trailer doesn't give you is the level of charm and camaraderie and joy this film exudes throughout. John C Reilly is superb, Steve Coogan has never been better. As the year's gone on, rather than fade from memory, this one has stayed there, and the more I think about it, the more I like it. A great tribute to my favourite double-act ever.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part - a couple of really funny gags aside this was a comparative let-down, but maybe it just suffered from the high expectations the first one didn't have. The Lego Batman Movie was also better.

The Kid Who Would Be King - started off well, but by the end I was really put off. Joe Cornish did this thing (that he also did in Attack The Block, which I've tried and failed to like) where he takes two characters who are horrible bullies and then tells you you're supposed to like them now, despite them doing nothing to earn that, and despite them showing no recognition, remorse or regret for their previous horrible bullying actions. It's just this sudden 'yeah they're the heroes now'. Didn't work, don't like it.

Can You Ever Forgive Me - undeniably great performances from Melissa McCarthy and Richard E Grant, but ultimately one of those that lives and dies by its awards season, whatever I mean by that.

My 2019 film rankings as of May

1) Stan And Ollie

2) Avengers: Endgame

3) Knock Down The House

4) Booksmart

5) Fighting With My Family

6) Vice

7) The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

ūüėé Tolkien

9) Can You Ever Forgive Me

10) Captain Marvel

11) Green Book

12) Late Night

13) Mary Queen Of Scots

14) The Favourite

15) The Kid Who Would Be King

16) The Dirt

17) Detective Pikachu

18) Unicorn Store

19) The Wandering Earth

 

It's summer time! It's also Pixar time. Toy Story 4 is, possibly, a tiny blemish on a near-flawless trilogy. But saying it's not as good as Toy Stories 1, 2, or 3 is not the same as saying it's not good. It's excellent - it just maybe, maybe doesn't hit that extraordinarily high bar. Then again, I thought that about Finding Dory first time round, but liked it so much more rewatching it on telly this Christmas. And Toy Story 4 has Forky, who is great, and it has moments that'll tear you up, and it does succeed in answering that question of 'what do you do after' which feels like a natural follow-on from the endpoint of 3.

We also saw Yesterday which gets by on the sheer charm and likability of Himesh Patel and the gorgeous loveliness and likability of Lily James - while you're watching it. You just can't think about it after it's finished because once you open that can of beetles you can't stop finding problems with the concept and how they did it. The music's good too. 

The following month (we're into July, more than halfway through, you'll be pleased to know) was more Marvel. I really loved Spider-Man: Far From Home. Tom Holland is brilliant, Zendaya is brilliant, this version is the best (live-action) iteration of Spider-Man there's been. Completely won over by it. Great ending too, I am extremely glad they're getting a third one after all. I think overall, I'd go with Endgame over this, but there are definitely times when I'd say I prefer Far From Home.

We also went to a couple of films at the Edinburgh Film Festival. I don't know if either have had proper releases yet but I'm counting them here. If you can track down Them That Follow you absolutely should, creepy, unsettling Appalachian drama with Walton Goggins playing a devout preacher with a predilection for snakes... this one stays with you. Great stuff. Ode To Joy is much, much more light-hearted. Martin Freeman and Morena Baccarin in a rom-com which sounds totally unrealistic but they make it work.

I'll plough on through to August, which was a very good month even though it only had two films in it. Blinded By The Light was just a sheer joy for me. I fully recognise it's not a perfect film but it captured that moment where music completely connects with you and changes your life. It was Springsteen for me as well. And that's a large part of why I love this film.

Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood was another that'll probably end up high on my list. It didn't feel nearly as long as it was, the time flew by as I just got immersed in the world of the film. I loved what Tarantino did with it and would probably put it quite high on my Tarantino list as well. 

Finally, before I do another list update, September. Downton Abbey (yes, we saw it) was like a long episode of Downton Abbey on the big screen. That's what they were going for, and they did it. Good for them. Absolutely nothing groundbreaking whatsoever, but that was sort of the point. I missed The Sisters Brothers on the big screen and ended up buying the DVD. I love the book, and while the movie did a very good job with the material (and was impeccably cast and performed) there was something intangible missing that I couldn't quite put my finger on...

My 2019 film rankings as of September

1) Blinded By The Light

2) Stan And Ollie

3) Avengers: Endgame

4) Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood

5) Spider-Man: Far From Home

6) Knock Down The House

7) Toy Story 4

ūüėé Booksmart

9) Fighting With My Family

10) Them That Follow

11) The Sisters Brothers

12) Yesterday

13) Vice

14) Downton Abbey

15) The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

16) Tolkien

17) Ode To Joy

18) Can You Ever Forgive Me

19) Captain Marvel

20) Green Book

21) Late Night

22) Mary Queen Of Scots

23) The Favourite

24) The Kid Who Would Be King

25) The Dirt

26) Detective Pikachu

27) Unicorn Store

28) The Wandering Earth

 

Last part, promise! Because I'm into October now. Another two-film month. Joker is not a film I'll be watching ever again. Joaquin Phoenix was very good. I liked the amount of discussion it provoked within my group of friends more than I liked the film itself. 

Western Stars is glorious Springsteen-y goodness. I thought the album was good before the film. I think the album is great now. Beautifully shot - I want an invite to that barn so much - and reflective and emotional and moving and makes you feel warm things in your heart. Please tour next year, Bruce, please. 

More Netflixing in November. Caught up with Colette, which I half-wanted to see when it came out in the cinema. I'm bloody glad I didn't because Colette is tedious. Keira Knightley is very good in it, and the story it's telling is interesting, but, oh, it's tedious stuff. Avoid. The King is better. Po-faced in the extreme but I quite like that in a kings-and-queens film. Robert Pattinson does wonderful stuff as the Dauphin. People scoff at his accent but I like to think he was doing a 'French person trying to do English but doing it badly' rather than just doing a silly French accent. Ben Mendelsohn is in it as well which is never a bad thing. And then The Irishman is better again, though I admit I had to split it into two sittings because I had to go to sleep before it was finished. Thought the final act was the strongest. Very pleased they got Joe Pesci out of retirement. I've never been huge on crime/mob dramas, even universally acclaimed ones like The Godfather and Goodfellas but this one held my attention throughout.

We also went to the cinema and saw Knives Out. I will defend to the death my opinion that Benoit Blanc is already one of the all-time great detectives. A terrific whodunnit. I'm a Star Wars fanboy and would happily watch more Rian Johnson SW films, but if he would rather cut his ties and make more Benoit Blanc mysteries, I'd 100% encourage him.

December!

Finally!

Started the month with Jumanji: The Next Level (pretty much as good as the first, made me excited for a third) and then basically powered through about half a dozen films while I've been off work this week.

I still don't know how I feel about Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker. I agree with people who love it, and I also agree with people who think it's shit. I love it, and simultaneously have problems with a lot of what it does. I hate that it'll still likely make my top 10 despite this. But it's Star Wars and I can't stop myself. It was, however, the only time I've left a first viewing of a Star War and not loved it immediately and I have to take that into account.

Little Women, however, is unequivocally in my top 5. If you haven't seen it yet, go. Greta Gerwig has made one of the best literary adaptations I may have ever seen. It's one of the most brilliantly assembled casts in ages, and they are all at the absolute top of their game. You watch it and just want everyone to be happy. God it's good.

And that was it for cinema, but on streaming, The Two Popes was great (but I said more about that a page or so ago), The Laundromat was good for the Gary Oldman/Antonio Banderas bits-to-camera (better done than when Adam McKay does it, I think) and Horrible Histories: Rotten Romans is not bad... it's just not funny either.

My 2019 film rankings as of December!

1) Blinded By The Light

2) Stan And Ollie

3) Avengers: Endgame

4) Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood

5) Little Women

6) Western Stars

7) Knives Out

ūüėé Spider-Man: Far From Home

9) Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker

10) Knock Down The House

11) The Two Popes

12) Toy Story 4

13) Booksmart

14) Fighting With My Family

15) Joker

16) Jumanji: The Next Level

17) The Irishman

18) Them That Follow

19) The King

20) The Sisters Brothers

21) Yesterday

22) Vice

23) Downton Abbey

24) The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

25) Tolkien

26) Ode To Joy

27) Can You Ever Forgive Me

28) Captain Marvel

29) Green Book

30) The Laundromat

31) Late Night

32) Mary Queen Of Scots

33) The Favourite

34) Horrible Histories: Rotten Romans

35) Colette

36) The Kid Who Would Be King

37) The Dirt

38) Detective Pikachu

39) Unicorn Store

40) The Wandering Earth

 

And there you have it! A top 40. Hope you enjoyed reading that. I'm actually a little surprised at how the top end of my list has turned out. I knew I'd love Blinded By The Light, but didn't expect Stan and Ollie or Little Women to join it in the top 5. 

I like films.

Apologies for the length of the post and my poor/wrong film opinions. Enjoy the sunglasses smiley at number 8.

 

(Oh, and if anyone's interested in my TV list, it's way shorter. Top 5: Watchmen, Stranger Things, Stath Lets Flats, Ghosts, The Rookie.)

Edited by HarmonicGenerator
My autocorrect doesn't like Mindy
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