The Disaster Artist – Review

One of the reasons I finally got around to watching The Room last year was because this was coming out. If you don’t really want to watch The Room you don’t need to see it to understand this movie, in fact you can get a collection of the funniest moments by watching the Nostalgia Critic, Obscurus Lupa and I Hate Everything reviews.

I didn’t know that much about the behind the scenes of The Room outside of the details brought up in the reviews so these details were pretty interesting and the cast all do a good job portraying it. And of course being a movie about one of the most famous “so bad it’s good” films it’s very funny making similar jokes about The Room that you’d see in a review.

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Of course the star of the movie is James Franco’s impression of Tommy Wiseau which is pretty spot on though in the side by side comparisons it is a little out of sync when recreating actual scenes from The Room. Tommy Wiseau isn’t exactly a hard voice to do but being able to make it work for an entire movie is pretty impressive.

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Comparing this to other Based on a True Story movies that came out last year it’s better than Greatest Showman but not as good as Goodbye Christopher Robin. Now when are we getting a movie like this about Cool Cat Saves the Kids?

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Coco – Review

This is one of the two films I delayed my top 10 for. Last year had a few decent animated movies but not that many I considered to be great, especially compared to 2016 where my top 4 movies were all animated. So when I found out the UK release of the new Pixar movie was delayed until the following year I was annoyed, especially after hearing the positive reaction it got in America.

Fortunately it was worth the wait. This is a beautiful film with great music and entertaining characters. Yes there are details of the plot that can be predictable but the presentation is still really good that it makes up for it. Also you have to give Pixar a lot of credit for making a cartoon with children as part of the target audience that doesn’t just feature death but is about death.

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The land of the dead is depicted in a beautiful way that both captures the spirit and traditional visuals of Día de los Muertos but adds its own spin through the airport/train station inspired visuals. People frequently compare this to The Book of Life and honestly those comparisons actually make me appreciate both films even more as you can really see how different the two takes on the same setting are.

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Of course being the animation fan that I am one of my favourite elements of the film was the animation. The skeletons are especially well animated and the opening features a charming telling of the Rivera family using decorations and 2D animation. Now the next film I delayed my list for comes out in February so maybe I should watch a couple of the Oscar bait movies that come out in January while I wait, I should also ask what 2017 films I missed are worth catching up on.

Spielberg – Review

Every year I try and watch at least a small amount of new documentaries, mostly so I can have a “best documentary” award that isn’t “the only documentary I saw that year” but because they can be very interesting. The other two I saw last year were enjoyable but just didn’t stand out the way Twinsters, For the Love of Spock or A Brony Tale did.

This one on the other hand did. I like when documentaries feel personal and make good use of the interviews and this does both. Rather than have a main voice over narrator the interviews do the narration with the main one being from Steven Spielberg himself. A lot of the documentary talks about how his personal life impacted a lot of the movies and hearing these details from not just Steven Spielberg but his family really makes this work better than if it was narrated by someone else.

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Of course with the enjoyment I’ve had making these reviews and trying to see as many new films as I can each year a documentary detailing the behind the scenes of movies made by one of the most famous directors was obviously going to appeal to me. I also think it works really well if you match it up with the Cartoons101 3 part video series about his influence on animation, a topic briefly brought up in the documentary when it covers his work as a producer.

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I’d say the biggest thing I thought about while watching this was that while I’ve seen a lot of his work I was reminded just how many of his most famous films I’ve never seen. I’m thinking of doing movie marathons themed around directors this year and this documentary made it clear one of those needs to be a Spielberg marathon. Maybe I’ll do that when Ready Player One comes out.

The Boy and the Beast – Review

I was interested in seeing this movie back when it first got its western release but tried to focus more on watching 2016 films and film series I could marathon. My brother and his fiance got me the DVD of this for Christmas so when picking something to watch before getting back to catching up on delayed 2017 films (and those I just missed) I picked this one.

I really like the world it sets up combined with Mamoru Hosada’s signature style and several fantastic creature designs. Something you might know from Our War Game (the best part of Digimon: The Movie) and Summer Wars is Hosada is very good at designing alternate worlds while keeping the real world just as stunning to look at.

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That being said I feel the film does suffer from the way the story is divided. We have a timeskip and the focus in these two eras is very different. The pre-timeskip era is a fun setup and introduction to the world but it’s after the timeskip where we really get to know Ren/Kyuta and his character arc gets a good amount of focus but it comes with the side effect of Kumatetsu getting very little attention until his big fight near the end.

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It’s a good movie but out of the Mamoru Hosada movies I’ve seen it’s the weakest. I still need to see Wolf Children and that One Piece movie he did plus he does have a new movie coming out later this year, hopefully we’ll get a UK screening.

The Greatest Showman – Review

And so we come to the end of the year. I’ve seen 73 of this year’s films and 40 of those were thanks to my Odeon Limitless membership (and that’s only counting the films from this year, adding the delayed 2016 films and my rewatch of The Last Jedi I’ve been to the Odeon 43 times this year). It’s been a fun year and interestingly both the first (La La Land) and last films I saw in the cinema this year were musicals.

My opinion on this film is divided but overall I enjoyed it. The musical stuff is fun with plenty of catchy music and impressive choreography performed by a talented cast. This is obvious Oscar bait but honestly regardless of quality Oscar bait movies do a good job of being a showcase of talented acting.

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Unfortunately the film’s weaknesses are in being an adaptation of a true story. While my knowledge of P. T. Barnum is limited it’s very clear a lot of his story is being romanticized here including that scene a lot of these based on a true story movies have where someone tells the lead about the impact they’ve have and how important that is in a conversation that clearly never happened. The performers themselves also have very limited screentime too. Sure Keala Settle’s bearded lady gets one of the big songs and Zendaya’s character has the romance subplot with Zac Efron but that’s about it.

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It’s enjoyable but I think Sarah had a good point in the Midnight Screenings review about how she probably won’t rewatch it but will definitely listen to the soundtrack multiple times. With this being my last review of the year I’d like to say thank you to the staff at the Exeter Odeon, my Limitless membership made me a familiar face over there and it was always nice talking to the staff when buying my tickets and coming out of the screening. As for my top 10 I’m going to delay it until I see Coco and The Shape of Water, I just don’t feel comfortable posting said top 10 without seeing these movies I’m really excited about that have already gotten a very positive response. But first I have a couple of new DVDs I got for Christmas to watch…

Ferdinand – Review

So I guess this is technically a Disney movie now (or should I say Disney moovie?), which is funny because there was a Disney short based on the same book released in 1838. In fact that’s the main reason I decided to pick this as the next trip to the cinema before my rewatch of The Last Jedi on Tuesday over the new Jumanji movie (which I do still plan to watch). None of the trailers really interested me but because Disney own Blue Sky now and I still have to wait until next month to see Coco I decided I should see one new animated Disney movie in the cinema before the year ends.

It’s better that I figured it would be. Sure for the most part it’s your average animated movie you tend to get a few of each year (complete with the obligatory dance scene) but it has enough of its own charm and good jokes to help it be more enjoyable. The cast are mostly fine but nothing special with the only standouts being Kate McKinnon and David Tennant who are both great as usual.

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It actually gets dark at times, especially when highlighting the genuine animal cruelty in bull fighting, but weirdly that actually leads into the biggest weakness of the film. There are two scenes where characters are implied to be killed off and turned into meat but of course they turn out to be fine and get rescued. I do get why they did this and my issue isn’t that they didn’t kill these characters off, it’s the fact the scenes where you think they dead were handled really well and the reveal that they’re ok ruins those scenes. And I don’t think I need to worry about this being considered a spoiler because the trailers show clips of the escape which include these two characters.

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But death cop outs aside I found this to be an enjoyable movie. Who knows what the future holds for Blue Sky now that Disney own them, probably more Ice Age sequels.

Bright – Review

I’ve seen a few of Netflix’s films from this year and most have just been average with the exception of Okja which was pretty good. This will probably be the last one I watch this year but considering this is the one Netflix really wants people to watch that makes sense. I saw a trailer for this a few times in the cinema including before The Last Jedi so it’s clear Netflix has a lot of faith in this film.

It’s alright but I feel like the main reason it got the advertising hype that it did was to show off the fact they made a movie starring Will Smith. The modern day fantasy setting is neat but they don’t do enough with it and it suffers from a common fantasy/sci-fi problem of humans being boring yet being one of the species with the most attention.

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I do like the main character lineup being a human, an orc and an elf with the characters themselves and the actors playing them being fun enough that I am interested in seeing what the sequel they’re going to make will be like. The issues are in the story itself, it’s mostly just one long chase scene. It’s made worse that the main threats are also humans, orcs and elves with any other races only really getting cameos.

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It’s a neat world and the idea of depicting the racial conflicts in fantasy like regular racism is a good setup but it doesn’t do as good a job with that setup as something like Zootopia. Overall its just an average cop movie mixed in with an average fantasy movie.