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Showing posts from 2019

Must the duck be here?

The Favourite (2018)
(SPOILERS) In my review of The Killing of a Sacred Deer, I suggested The Favourite might be a Yorgos Lanthimos movie for those who don’t like Yorgos Lanthimos movies. At least, that’s what I’d heard. And certainly, it’s more accessible than either of his previous pictures, the first two thirds resembling a kind of Carry On Up the Greenaway, but despite these broader, more slapstick elements and abundant caustic humour, there’s a prevailing detachment on the part of the director, a distancing oversight that rather suggests he doesn’t feel very much for his subjects, no matter how much they emote, suffer or connive. Or pratfall.

I don’t know if what is happening is fair, but it’s the only thing I can think of that’s close to justice.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)
(SPOILERS) I think I knew I wasn’t going to like The Killing of a Sacred Deer in the first five minutes. And that was without the unedifying sight of open-heart surgery that takes up the first four. Yorgos Lanthimos is something of a Marmite director, and my responses to this and his previous The Lobster (which I merely thought was “okay” after exhausting its thin premise) haven’t induced me to check out his earlier work. Of course, he has now come out with a film that, reputedly, even his naysayers will like, awards-darling The Favourite

I'm a sort of travelling time expert.

Doctor Who Season 12 – Worst to Best
Season 12 isn’t the best season of Doctor Who by any means, but it’s rightly recognised as one of the most iconic, and it’s easily one of the most watchable. Not so much for its returning roster of monsters – arguably, only one of them is in finest of fettle – as its line-up of TARDIS crew members. Who may be fellow travellers, but they definitely aren’t “mates”. Thank goodness. Its popularity – and the small matters of it being the earliest season held in its entirety in original broadcast form, and being quite short – make it easy to see why it was picked for the first Blu-ray boxset.

It looks like we’ve got another schizoid embolism!

Total Recall (1990)
(SPOILERS) Paul Verhoeven offered his post-mortem on the failures of the remakes of Total Recall (2012) and Robocop (2013) when he suggested “They take these absurd stories and make them too serious”. There may be something in this, but I suspect the kernel of their issues is simply filmmakers without either the smarts or vision, or both, to make something distinctive from the material. No one would have suggested the problem with David Cronenberg’s prospective Total Recall was over-seriousness, yet his version would have been far from a quip-heavy Raiders of the Lost Ark Go to Mars (as he attributes screenwriter Ron Shusset’s take on the material). Indeed, I’d go as far as saying not only the star, but also the director of Total Recall (1990) were miscast, making it something of a miracle it works to the extent it does.

It shall cleanse the world! Everyone must look. Everyone must look.

Bird Box (2018)
(SPOILERS) 45 million viewers can’t be wrong. Right? What’s more interesting about Netlfix’s announcement of the multitudes flocking to see Sandy Buttocks shield her eyes from the apocalypse is that previous big events on their part were accompanied by no such swagger. So I guess Bright or Adam Sandler’s latest just didn’t cut it to the same magnitude? Doubtless the streaming giant will be commissioning more end-of-the-world fare tout suite. Possibly starring Will Smith and Adam Sandler, together at last. The success of The Walking Dead made it incredibly obvious, if that was even necessary, that there are huge potential audiences for the inevitable collapse of civilisation, provided it’s occurring while ensconced in one’s living room, but also that it gets stale quite quickly if you don’t have anything really distinctive to throw into the mix. Bird Box is well made and acted, but all it does is remind you of other, often better, movies of its ilk.

They're everywhere. Battling for dominance.

Prediction 2019 Box Office
2019 is even more loaded in Disney’s favour than most years (which is every year anyway); they’ve got an easy shot at five $1bn+ grossers, leaving other studios to mop up whatever table leavings they can. Notables that didn’t make the cut: Minecraft, Greyhound, Midway, Zombieland 2, Sonic the Hedgehog, Little Women, Child’s Play reboot, Charlie’s Angels. Beneath this little lot you can find my error sheet for 2018.