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Justice League Dark – Review

I’ll admit I didn’t have high hopes for this one. Even DC’s animated movies haven’t been that decent lately with Return of the Caped Crusaders being the best we’ve had in a while. Plus when I started the film and saw the same bland version of the Justice League that has plagued the last few movies I was prepared for them to once again take attention away from the thing that actually worked about the film.

But I was pleasantly surprised. The Justice League presence was kept to a minimum and there was no sign of that awful Superman/Wonder Woman romance DC was trying to force on us. As a result we got an interesting story focused on DC’s supernatural characters.

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Matt Ryan reprises his role as Constantine and once again captures the spirit of the character perfectly. Once he’s introduced he takes the spotlight away from Batman (who really didn’t need to be there) and the film’s quality improves. I also liked that Zatanna got a good amount of attention and turned out to be the strongest member of the team.

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True to the film’s title it is dark but unlike most of DC’s live action movies they don’t make everything depressing. The film has a lot of humour (mostly from Constantine and Deadman) and nothing feels overly brutal despite having an R rating in the US.

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It’s not great and still nowhere near as good as DC’s older animated films but it is decent and better than I was expecting. I mostly just wish the film had less Batman and more Swamp Thing. Hopefully this will be a good year for DC’s animated movies with The LEGO Batman Movie coming out next month, a Return of the Caped Crusaders sequel and new a Teen Titans film. Their live action movies I have much lower expectations for.

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Take the 10 – Review

The first movie review of the new year and the first movie review being written on my new laptop. I decided to leave January out of my “see at least one movie each month” plan this year since no 2o17 films tend to come out until February (the films that do come out are mostly 2016 films with delayed UK releases). Fortunately Netflix is here to make sure I see something brand new this month.

This film is ok I guess. Not exactly the best start to the year but it’s not bad. There are some funny lines and the actors are talented but the story is so boring. I even watched a couple of other online reviews and they had a similar response so at least I know it’s not a case of me not being the target audience. It has this non linear storytelling angle which works at first when introducing the two leads but then it just feels forced and once the stories catch up with each other the format is abandoned.

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Honestly that’s about everything there is to say about this film. It’s a shame because it did show potential at the start and I saw some pretty decent Netflix movies last year. I’ve added a couple more Netflix Original movies from this year to my list, maybe they’ll be better (or at least be bad in a way that allows me to say more about them).

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Top 10 Movies of 2016

As this year draws to a close it’s time to finally post my top 10. I’ve seen 44 of this year’s film and reviewed every single one of them, something I plan to keep doing next year. For those new to my top 10 film lists I go by the original release date rather than just the UK release, fortunately this is another year where nothing I was looking forward to was delayed until the following year over here. Now on to the list…

#10

Doctor Strange

I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of the MCU, especially when we’re still getting new solo movies that expand on the universe. One of my favourite things about this film is that Doctor Strange himself is a man of science and combines his knowledge of science with the knowledge he gains about magic, no science vs magic here. And yes while many people may be tired of him Benedict Cumberbatch gives a great performance and was the perfect choice to play the Sorcerer Supreme.

#9

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

From one magic user to another. This movie has an advantage over the previous Harry Potter movies with it not being an adaptation there’s no negative comparisons to the books to be made (like the times they kept replacing Dobby with Neville). It really made the wizarding world feel new again and I hope that the sequels they have planned will explore more of the world, maybe get to see what some of these creatures are like in the wild.

#8

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

The first of Disney’s new Star Wars films outside of the main series. It’s both similar to and different enough from the original trilogy to have its intended effect. I do wonder if the CG used for two of the characters in this film was a test for a possible appearance from Obi Wan in Episode VIII. I still think Force Awakens is a much better film but this is still a great addition to the franchise. Also the best prequel (and I didn’t even hate the prequels).

#7

Deadpool

This movie proves that Fox can make great movies with the X-Men rights. This is everything a Deadpool movie should be and I’m really glad Ryan Reynolds finally got a chance to play the character properly after the whole Barakapool mess. If you’re a fan of the character you’ve probably already seen it and don’t need me to recommend it.

 

#6

Ghostbusters

This is the kind of reboot I prefer, one that tells a new (but similar) story with new characters in a familiar setting. This is the film that properly introduced me to Kate McKinnon who is hilarious in this and everything else I’ve seen her in since. I know a lot of people hate this movie but I loved it. It’s also important to note that I’ve been frequently reblogging gifsets of this film throughout the year and made several purchases based on it including two t-shirts, a Funko Pop figure of Holtzmann and I pre-ordered the LEGO Dimensions Story Pack (which was a lot of fun by the way) so had to give it extra points for those things.

#5

Captain America: Civil War

While the hype surrounding this film has died down over the last few months I still stand by my thoughts on the film (in fact I’ve moved it up a couple of places since I first wrote this list). It’s thanks to this movie that a Spider-Man movie is one of the films I’m looking forward to the most about next year. I also wish I didn’t have to wait until 2018 for more Black Panther.

#4

Moana

It’s always a treat to see a new Disney animated musical. This film has great music, stunning visuals, likable characters, a talented cast and a fun adventure. After much debate my favourite song in the soundtrack is currently Shiny.

#3

Kubo and the Two Strings

This year has had many animated films with amazing visuals but this is the one with the most impressive ones. Laika continue to prove themselves as masters of stop motion animation and I’m so glad I finally got to see one on the big screen. This film also features the largest stop motion puppet ever made along with several other giant puppets. Any time you see something that towers over the protagonists remember that this is a stop motion film.

#2

Zootopia

Half of this list is made up of Disney movies. I’m really impressed by how well an important message about different forms of prejudice just fits into an animated film about talking animals with a bunch of silly animal puns (including a character played by Alan Tudyk whose name is a reference to his character in Frozen), I don’t know how they did it but they found a way. The silly animal puns are also hilarious.

#1

Your Name

I found out about this movie a couple of days before I went to see it in the cinema and now it’s my #1 film of the year. Much like the other animated films in this list the animation is stunning. In my review I said this is the best body swap movie I’ve ever seen and I stand by that. Even the dub was good, no matter what language you see this in it’s a fantastic film.

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I’m really pleased with how this list turned out. Honorable mentions are Kung Fu Panda 3, Finding Dory, Dirty 30 and Star Trek Beyond. Thank you for reading, look forward to seeing more movie reviews from me next year.

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Trolls – Review

We’re nearing the end of the year now and this will probably be the last new film I’ll watch before the new year. Maybe not the strongest film to end off on but having seen this I have now seen 44 films from this year, 10 more new films than I saw last year which I think is a satisfying end goal to reach.

Honestly the film is alright. Has a fair amount of problems sure but better than I expected, weirdly better than the last 4 films I saw (man people are going to hate the fact I think Trolls is better than The Nice Guys).

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Poppy is an entertaining character who reminds me a bit of Pinkie Pie. Anna Kendrick is perfectly cast here and has a lot more material to work with than she did in Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. She also sings Get Back Up Again which is one of the few original songs in the soundtrack and the funniest scene in the movie.

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This unfortunately leads into the things that drag the movie down for me. Most of the songs in the film are covers and while that can work (like The Book of Life) here they feel forced and lazy. I also feel Justin Timberlake is miscast as Branch, this is a character I’ve seen done before many times but by actors who know how to make it work. Timberlake’s performance is mediocre and feels like he was just cast to be a big name or for his singing (even though Branch doesn’t actually sing until the end of the film).

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Trolls has its charm and maybe with more original songs and a more suitable actor playing Branch (Santino Fontana maybe?) I’d be giving it a lot more praise but the film lacks effort and that just makes it disappointing, which is odd because I went in with fairly low expectations.

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Hail, Caesar – Review

I mentioned at the end of my Big Lebowski review that it was the first film I’d seen from the Coen brothers. After posting the review on Facebook I was told I should see more of their films and it just so happens they brought out a film this year.

The film has some really impressive visuals with well put together recreations of how films made in the 50s actually looked and played out and there are some great scenes that showcase this love for film. However the film itself is just ok. Much like Lebowski the film is enjoyable but lacks focus and that can be a problem with a large cast like this. Many characters that the trailers seem to imply will have a huge role are only in a small handful of scenes with character arcs either being rushed or left unresolved.

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A good example of this would be Scarlett Johansson’s character who has about two or three scenes with the majority of her story happening off-screen and being told to us by other characters including the resolution of her role in the film which is honestly completely pointless to the film as a whole. Also when we learn who the main villain is the reveal means nothing because the character only really had one scene that only existed as a nod to 50s films but wasn’t really of any importance and told us nothing about that character.

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Some scenes also dragged on a big too long, especially ones that really didn’t matter in the long run. There’s the “would that it were so simple” scene, which actually takes up an entire trailer, started out funny but then they just kept going. It honestly felt like these scenes were stretched out to justify hiring big name actors like Ralph Fiennes for really minor roles except you also have Jonah Hill who is on the poster I used for the featured image despite only having one scene with barely any lines.

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Maybe this would have been better as a short film or as a TV series that gave its wide cast the attention they needed or maybe I just don’t get the appeal of the Coen brothers. It’s hard to say. I’ll consider watching another film or two from them next year.

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Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates – Review

I decided to watch this mostly because Aubrey Plaza from Parks & Rec is one of the leads, especially after deciding against seeing Passengers. I wasn’t expecting much from this film, I figured some jokes would be funny and others would feel forced and honestly that’s exactly what the film ended up being like.

Much like Office Christmas Party the times the comedy did work can be credited to the actors more than the script. I also feel like the weakest jokes in the film are the ones tied to the plot. It also suffers from the more tiresome romantic comedy tropes such as the liar revealed, the annoying thing was it almost looked like they were going to subvert this one when one of the brothers was ok with the lie but then they gave him a different lie to be bothered by.

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Despite these problems though the actors are genuinely funny and have plenty of funny scenes together. There’s even some surprisingly sweet scenes between Zac Efron and Anna Kendrick’s characters that show their talents outside of comedy. I feel like the same actors playing the same characters deserve to be in a better movie.

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Norm of the North – Review

So while figuring out what films from this year to watch I thought “wasn’t there that polar bear movie that came out early in the year? It would make sense to watch that in December”…

This movie was so boring. The animation looks like a direct to DVD movie trying to cash in on confused parents thinking it’s the newest Disney/Dreamworks movie, except no one else made a movie about a polar bear recently. Even the message doesn’t make sense, according to this movie the biggest concern for the arctic isn’t global warming but rich people building houses there. Also Norm is played by Rob Schneider.

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It even has its own rip-off of the Minions. If you see this movie you’ll never complain about Minions again, at least they work in the context of the movies they’re in. At least the Minions can be funny, I didn’t find a single joke involving the Lemmings to be even slightly funny.

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This movie is bad, the only reason this isn’t the worst film I’ve seen this year is because Batman V Superman actually made me angry. This film is just boring. To borrow a phrase from I Hate Everything it’s a nothing movie.