Finally we get to the second film I delayed my top 10 list for. I actually went to see this at the Picture House so I could see it sooner after not just waiting several months to see it since the US release but missing two opportunities to see it early (for the UK release anyway). It’s been years since I last went there (2005 if I remember correctly) but it was nice, I’ll have to keep an eye out for any exclusive screenings from them later this year.
As expected this film is really good. While this is only the 5th film I’ve seen from him every film by Guillermo del Toro has impressed me. While I’m not really into horror as the focus of a film I do think it works best when elements of it are incorporated into another genre, which is what del Toro does best. And in this case that other genre is romance.
Romance and classic horror turn out to be a perfect match as many old monster movies feature the creature falling for a human woman. Here those feelings are mutual and because of the language/species barrier and Elisa (Sally Hawkins) being mute most of their interactions are through movement, expression and a few signs she teaches him. Also yes she does have sex with the fish man but these scenes are presented as sweet moments rather than typical movie sex scenes and the second one is pretty funny.
Between this and Pan’s Labyrinth it’s also clear another thing del Toro is really good at is making really creepy human villains in supernatural stories. But Strickland (Michael Shannon) is creepy in a very different way from Vidal. Many of his scenes are less intimidating but reveal a new detail that make you hate him even more and it’s knowing the power this kind of person has that makes him scary.
It’s funny that the last film I delayed my top 10 list for is also the one that got nominated for the most Oscars but you can see why. So many details about this film are stunning just on a film making level that I honestly feel it should have been nominated in a few more categories (like hair & makeup). Anyway now that I’ve seen them were Coco and The Shape of Water worth delaying my top 10 movies of 2017 list? You’ll have to read it to find out…
So anyone who read my Civil War review will remember that T’Challa was one of my favourite things about the film, other people might remember than in my silly awards post I do around the time of the Oscars I gave Chadwick Boseman the award for Best Supporting Actor last year. So you can imagine this was one of the films I was most excited for this year.
It did not disappoint. It’s a great film and a fantastic start to what is clearly going to be a really fun year to be a Marvel fan. This is the 4th 2018 film I’ve seen and the first that has a good chance of being in my top 10 (I just hope this one can be ready by the end of the year unlike last year’s which is almost ready).
Of course Chadwick Boseman continues to be great as T’Challa but this isn’t just his movie, it’s a movie filled with a cast of extremely talented actors. Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), Shuri (Letitia Wright), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman) are more of a full team of heroes and I’m glad to know Shuri and Okoye are set to return later this year for Infinity War. And of course you have the film’s villains Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) and Klaw (Andy Serkis) who were the perfect choices both in terms of what villains to use and the actors playing them.
And on top of all that this is up there with Thor Ragnarok and the Guardians of the Galaxy movies as one of the most visually stunning Marvel movies so far. And this is just the start of the year for Marvel and it won’t be the last we’ll see of Wakanda this year.
Because I’m not really a fan of horror I was reluctant to watch this even after I got the DVD at the same time as the first two Maze Runner movies. Usually with horror I tend to prefer when there’s something else about the movie that interests me like all the sci-fi and lore in the Alien/Predator franchise or Satoshi Kon’s directing with Perfect Blue. But with this film the most interesting things I’d heard were in the horror itself and I tend to avoid even highly recommended horror movies where the horror is the selling point.
With all that said this is a good film. A lot of what makes the film as creepy as it is comes from the cast’s performances, rewatching the trailer for this review it’s impressive how some clips seem like they could have come right out of a romantic comedy with it usually just being the delivery of one line each scene that starts to give them away. The best example of one of these performances is a spoiler but if you’ve seen the movie you’ll know who I mean.
Of course when talking about performances there’s the Oscar nominated one from the film’s lead Daniel Kaluuya. The strengths of his performance are more subtle being mostly Chris’ reactions to the other characters and the things that happen to him.
Between this and Perfect Blue it’s clear that when horror is the focus psychological horror is much better than horror centered around gore. They have an interesting story to tell even if you’re not into horror like me. But if you are a horror fan the film critics I follow who are into horror loved this movie so you’ll be able to get even more out of this film than me.
The latest Lupin III film from the team behind The Woman Called Fujiko Mine and Daisuke Jigen’s Gravestone. The thing that made this film interesting was out of all of Lupin’s supporting cast Goemon was always the one who got the least attention. Fujiko, Jigen and Zenigata each get plenty of screentime and dialogue while Goemon usually just shows up to cut something and then disappear into the background for a while.
Between this and Samurai Jack’s final season 2017 seems like it was the year for covering popular samurai characters in blood. I enjoyed it but not as much as Jigen’s Gravestone (I’ve not seen The Woman Called Fujiko Mine yet), the film’s approach does suit Goemon well as a character but Jigen is a much more fun character to follow that gets more interaction with Lupin himself. While Lupin and the gang are still a major part of this film their interactions with Goemon are just as limited as usual.
But while the story and character interactions are lacking the action and animation are fantastic. This is the most violent Lupin III movie I’ve ever seen with Goemon suffering some extremely painful looking injuries during his fights with the main antagonist of the film, who is like if Jaws from the Bond movies was a lumberjack that duel wielded axes.
It’s a fun addition to the franchise and I hope we get more from this team, maybe a Zenigata movie next? I know Jigen’s Gravestone setup something to do with Mamo. If you’re a Lupin III fan you should like it but if you only really know the characters from the Hayao Miyazaki film The Castle of Cagliostro it’s probably not the best pick for your next Lupin film.
Last night I went to Odeon’s Screen Unseen for the first time. They show a mystery film before its UK release date and it is covered under their Limitless membership so I thought it would be a fun experience. The fact I was probably going to watch this film at some point (especially with most of the guesses on Facebook and the Screen Unseen subreddit pointing towards this being the film I’d end up seeing last night) also was one of the things that convinced me to finally watch the popular anime series Yuri on Ice since if I was going to be watching a movie about figure skating I should probably watch the anime romance about it that a bunch of my friends really liked.
Having watched more biopic films these last few months than I’m used to I have started noticing common problems many of them have, the worst being those scenes near the end of the movie where someone talks to the person the movie is about to say why the thing they did is so important. This movie doesn’t have a scene like that, the closest it has is a point when they explain to the audience what a triple axel is and why it’s so hard to pull off but that’s more for people like me who even after watching 12 episodes of an anime that is mostly skating scenes still knows nothing about figure skating. It also helps that this isn’t an inspirational film as the second half details her connection to an assault on a rival skater.
And that’s a big part of why I liked this more than any of the other biopics from last year, it’s more unique. It has recreations of real interviews narrating it like a documentary and 4th wall breaking turns to the camera like in Malcolm in the Middle, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Deadpool. And of course the performances are fantastic, Margot Robbie and Allison Janney both earn their Oscar nominations. I know a lot of the big stunts were a combination of body doubles, camera trickery and CGI but Margot Robbie still did a lot of the skating herself which is really impressive.
There’s also a lot of very funny moments in this film, made even funnier when you realize these specific details were true. I think it balances the humour with the more serious details well in a way the fits the film version of Tonya Harding as a character. As a first Screen Unseen experience this was a fun one and I’ll be sure to attend more as the year continues.
It’s funny how the poster and slogan for this movie bring up the maze even though it’s only really been a plot point for the first film (only appearing in a dream sequence in this one). I guess it’s so they can justify calling all of them Maze Runner but really it just calls attention to the fact there isn’t a maze in this one.
The quality is more or less the same as the other two, decent but nothing special. But overall I’d say this was certainly the most fun as being the finale there’s a lot more action sequences that just keep getting bigger as the film goes on. It’s just a fun action movie and I like fun action movies. Also good on Wes Ball for not splitting the last book into two parts like most YA adaptations did even though Deathly Hallows was the only one it made sense for.
The returning cast are all great. Some I already knew from other roles while others like Dylan O’Brien and Roza Salazar I’ve been introduced to through this series and will be looking forward to seeing in future movies. While I’ve had my issues with the series at times the characters themselves have always been entertaining.
So like with other film series I’ve reviewed it’s time to say how I rank them;
The Death Cure > The Maze Runner > The Scorch Trials
So what’s next? Well I do still have some more 2017 films to watch while I wait for The Shape of Water to come out.
So it turns out what was being setup was a zombie movie. That’s a bit disappointing as one of the strengths of the first film were how cool the Grievers looked, I’d hoped we’d either see them again or a similar creature that’s a bigger threat. Instead it’s zombies.
Judging it as a zombie movie it’s at least an enjoyable one once the disappointment of “oh, it’s just zombies” wears off. The focus is less on the zombies themselves and more on escaping the company behind the events of the first movie. The post apocalyptic city desert does look pretty cool, though considering the film’s use of the word scorch the sunlight never seemed to be an issue.
The new character with the most focus is Brenda who even gets to be on the posters for the next movie. She’s a decent character but I didn’t really care for the love triangle element they threw into a weird drug scene in a club owned by regular Disney voice actor Alan Tudyk. Yes, that’s a scene that happened. The weird thing is I though Teresa was supposed to be Thomas’ sister in the first film but now she’s his love interest?
I’ve seen better zombie movies (most being comedies) and I prefer the first film but this was alright. One more film to go now, this was a short marathon but I do have longer ones planned.