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So we’re now close on the end of the first six months of 2017 and it’s getting to that point where I am starting to rank the films I’ve seen at the cinema during the year, but this year I am having a bit of difficulty. Whilst I normally review lesser known films, I always rank all of the films I saw at the cinema during the year, but unlike last year, I am really struggling this year.

Let me come right out and say it, the film line up for this year sucks. By this same time last year I had already seen over 70 films, but at the time of writing I have only seen 54 (I’m currently waiting to go into my 55th as I type this). For me 2017 has been a year where I’ve heard about so many laudable films, but failed to see why they were so highly praised when I went to view them.

By this time last year I already had a solid top ten, and that’s without including a lot of films that I really liked, whereas this year I am really struggling. Out of those 54 films, I personally feel that only five have been worthy of a top ten place, and if I were to do that list right now, it would have so much filler that it wouldn’t be a fair reflection of the quality of the films that actually deserve to be in there.

There are so many films that I ranked outside of the top ten in 2016 that would comfortably be in it this year. For example, “The Witch” and “Arrival” just failed to make my top ten last year, but both would probably be in my top five if they had been released this year. Infact, looking at my 20-11 ranking list last year, the majority would outrank most films I have seen this year, and I’d go as far as saying that some from my 30-21 list would also do the same.. Don’t get me wrong, there have been plenty of good films this year, ones that I would give a solid 7 or 8/10 to, but can I honestly say that they’re top ten worthy? No.

One such example is “Silence”, Martin Scorsese’s film about Jesuit priests going to Japan. I actually really liked this film, but wouldn’t currently include it in my top ten because whilst it is a film that you will need to watch twice to catch everything (it is a very long film), you wouldn’t really want to. That’s a big thing for me, and whether I would willingly watch a film again is a bit factor in whether a good film would make my top ten.

The one thing that keeps me going is the hope that things improve. I’ve been doing this site for three years now, and each of my previous lists have been topped by films released in the final few months of the year. 2014’s “Nightcrawler” came out in November (I think), whereas 2015’s “No Escape” and 2016’s “Captain Fantastic” were both September releases. Looking ahead to the films in the second half of the year, there are a few that interest me and have a chance of making my top ten, but we’ll see.

To be fair, on the flip side there haven’t been that many awful films, and there are only five again that I have seen that I would consider bad enough to go into a list like that. Granted, there are a few others which I currently don’t have on that list that I will happily include if I don’t see more awful films.

Without revealing what the specific films are, here are a few notable aspects about the top and bottom tens if I were to compile them right now.

  • I would have an actor in two films in the top ten for the first time.
  • One actress would appear in both my top and bottom ten, also for the first time.
  • And also for the first time, one actor would be in my bottom ten twice (Zac Efron very narrowly missed out on that last year)
  • One comic-book movie would make my top ten, but it is not one of those that I consider worthy.
  • Out of the 54 films I’ve seen to date, the least represented mainstream genre that would feature in the top half of the list would be horror.
  • On the flip side, two of my definite bottom five so far would fall into the horror genre.

That’s all I’m going to give you for now. Let’s hope the quality of films gets better soon.

I started this film blog in 2014 with the intention of consistently talking about lesser known films that I love, but at the end of each year I rank all of the films that I have seen at the cinema during the previous twelve months. Obviously currently working at a cinema means I can watch considerably more than I used to, and even though I am currently behind where I was this time last year (I had already seen 70 by this time last year, whereas I’m currently on 54 for 2017), I should still easily hit the 100 films mark again.

As I’m struggling to find films to review at the moment as not a lot of independent films are taking my interest enough to want to review them, I decided to look back on a few previous years to see what my top mainstream films from that year would be, and where better to start than from the year before I started this site.

Those who have read my site for a while will already know what my favourite film for 2013 is as I spoke about it in part one of my favourite films list, but the other places were very much up for grabs. As I only saw fourteen films during 2013 (something which took me just three weeks this year), I’ve decided to only have a top five.

I only saw 14 films in the whole of 2013, which says it all when you compare it to how many I watch now. Just for the record, the films that aren’t included in this top five are Star Trek Beyond, Hunger Games : Catching Fire, Hobbit : The Desolation of Smaug, Anchorman 2, Elysium, Hangover 3, Purge, This is the End and The World’s End. For the record, the only one of those that I would have struggled to actually find any praise for is Hangover 3, which was particularly bad and would probably rank at the bottom of the list.

So here we go, the top five films I saw that in 2013.

5) You’re Next

Cast : Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, Joe Swanberg, A.J Bowen, Rob Moran, Barbara Crampton, Ti West, Am Seimez

Plot : Erin (Vinson) joins Crispian (Bowen) to his family reunion, but it soon becomes evident that this family has a few issues, especially as Crispian soon starts arguing with Paul (Moran) and Drake (Swanberg). The family continues to argue as Tariq (West) notices something odd out of the window, and is subsequently shot by an arrow when he goes to investigate. In the ensuing chaos Drake is also shot.

Several men in animal masks invade the house and start killing off the family members one by one, but Erin is far from defenceless and they soon realise this with much horror.

Why in this position? : I don’t often like horror films, and I think that there has only been one out and out horror film that I’ve included in my three top tens so far. I find them exceptionally boring, with dull and uninteresting characters. This certainly does not fit into this category and is everything I could want from a horror film.

It is has fleshed out and very developed characters, the relationships between them are well built and it makes you invested in them as characters. This is essential for horror films because otherwise it would just be a body count without having any meaning. The acting throughout is also great, especially in the scene in which Tariq is killed, and the family slowly come to the horrified realisation of what has happened.

“You’re Next” is about as rounded as you can get for a horror film in the modern era. It doesn’t use any/many cliches, and the fact is has arguably the strongest female character out of any film released during 2013 definitely helps its cause.

 

4) Thor : The Dark World

Cast : Chris Hemsworth, Christopher Eccleston, Tim Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Idris Elba, Anthony Hopkins and Rene Russo

Plot : Thor (Hemsworth) is celebrating yet another victory in battle and he has earnt Odin’s (Hopkins) utmost respect, but it is obvious he is still missing Jane (Portman) after destroying the bifrost. Meanwhile Jane has found a mysterious portal and it transports her to a cave. In that cave is a mysterious red liquid that soon forces itself into her body, but also wakes up Malekith (Eccleston), a dark-elf who is determined to remove all light from the universe.

Thor must rely on his devious brother Loki (Hiddleston) if he is to stand any chance of saving the universe. Loki is reluctant to help after being imprisoned following the events of “The Avengers”, but soon becomes just as vengeful as Malekith kills Frigga (Russo).

Why in this position? : I’m a sucker for Norse mythology after they strangely taught it to us in primary school. This is potentially the reason why “Thor” is the only sub-franchise other than “Guardians of the Galaxy” that I enjoy from the MCU. Whilst “Thor : Dark World” is not as enjoyable as the first film, it is still a film that I can watch on a regular basis and enjoy.

“Thor” feels a lot different to most other films in the MCU and that is possibly why I enjoy it a lot. The rest of them feel very formulaic, but the character of Thor is constantly evolving and learning, plus he has the only credible Marvel villain to fight in the form of Loki, who is again played with ease by Tom Hiddleston.

It might not win a lot of plaudits and it may be the least interesting part of the MCU for some, but I like it. Whether it would be in my top five, or even top ten in any other year is highly doubtful, so it’ll be interesting to see where “Ragnarok” ranks when that comes out later in the year.

 

3) World War Z

Cast : Brad Pitt, Mirieille Enos, Fana Mokoena, Daniella Kertesz, Pierfrancesco Favino, Peter Capaldi and Ruth Negga

Plot : Jerry (Pitt) and Karin (Enos) are taking their daughters somewhere when all of a sudden the streets turn to chaos as people attack each other. Each person being attacked suddenly turns violent themselves. The family barely escapes into an apartment building and taken in by an hispanic family. Jerry receives calls from his old friend Thierry (Mokoena), who is Deputy Secretary General at the United Nations, and goes to a rescue helicopter on the roof, but not before again being attacked by a large group.

When they get on board a ship, Jerry is convinced to help out the U.N under the threat of his family being thrown off of the boat for being non-essential. He travels to South Korea after hearing a rumour that the virus start there, but this leads him to Israel. It turns out that even 100ft high walls can’t keep out the infected, and no matter where he goes Jerry is always being chased.

Why in this position? : “World War Z” was a great attempt at a zombie film and was one of the best made in recent years. I think this is definitely helped by the fact that it feels like a truly worldwide issue. Jerry goes to several locations that aren’t normally shown in films and are very far apart. He meets different cultures and beliefs, but no-one seems to truly know the source of the virus.

This is a rare example of a zombie film which I wouldn’t class as a horror film. It’s more like an action film, especially as most of it takes place during the day. The pacing is perfect throughout, with there never been a long gap between situations where Jerry has to escape a hoard, but more vitally is that most of them don’t last too long. There is a chance to develop him as a rounded character. The only problem is that he is the only character that is developed.

Whilst it might be faint praise, this is probably the best zombie film released at cinemas in the 21st century.

 

2) The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Cast : Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn, Sean Penn, Adrian Martinez and Patton Oswalt

Plot : Walter (Stiller) is a raw-photograph processor for Life magazine and he is attracted to Cheryl (Wiig), a new starter at his office. He is however prone to daydreaming and this doesn’t go unnoticed by Ted (Scott), another new face who announces he is there to start the process of downsizing the staff as the magazine moves online. He keeps Walter around initially after it turns out that prolifically acclaimed photographer Sean O’Connell (Penn) has sent an image that he wants to use on the final issue.

One problem is that Walter can’t find the image and believes it wasn’t sent. He decides to track it down as it would be a fitting end to his time at the magazine, but this means going abroad for the first time ever, and sees him travel to Iceland and Greenland….and several other locations in his mind.

Why in this position? “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” took a while to grow on me, taking several rewatches before I started to enjoy it. Had this list been written at the end of 2013, just as this film was released, then it would never have been my second favourite film of that year. I have no idea why I bought it on BluRay, probably just an impulse buy, but several years later I am glad I did.

As time has gone on I have come to appreciate so many aspects to this film, such as the coming-of-age story of a man around at the 40 mark, or that it has such a large scale for a relatively small film. I have been tempted on so many occasions to write a full on article about why this is a life-affirming and enjoyable use of nearly two hours of your time.

Stiller excels as Walter, bringing warmth and feeling to a genre that different from his usual efforts. Wiig is also the same as she plays a very straight character, with no sense of comedy at all. The film also introduced me to Adam Scott, who seems at home with his portrayal as the generally unlikeable, but completely understandable character of Ted.

With exceptional cinematography, and an unbelievable soundtrack from Jose Gonzalez, I can happily sit and watch this film at any point.

 

And finally, the best film I saw at the cinema in 2013………

1) Rush

Cast : Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara and Pierfrancesco Favino

Plot : James Hunt (Hemsworth) is preparing for the 1970 Formula Three race at Crystal Palace when he lays eyes on Niki Lauda (Brühl) for the first time and they soon get into an argument after Hunt races in a dangerous manner, almost causing Lauda to crash. Lauda soon buys himself into Formula One and quickly establishes himself as a great driver. Hunt’s group decides to enter Formula One as well.

Hunt and Lauda renew their rivalry but Hesketh is no match for Lauda’s Ferrari. Hunt joins McLaren, a car that can make him competitive and the two, whilst respecting each other’s abilities, start a bitter rivalry for the title. Meanwhile, Hunt’s marriage has fallen apart and that, combined with bad luck, means Niki establishes a very early and seemingly dominating lead in the title race.

Niki marries his girlfriend just before the German Grand Prix is due to take place. The weather is terrible and the track already has a reputation for injuring people and taking lives. Niki calls a meeting to get the race postponed but Hunt rallies the room to vote for the race to go ahead. Lauda’s suspension breaks midway through the third lap and sends him crashing into the safety railing. Lauda has to be pulled from the burning wreckage and is taken to hospital.

Why my favourite film of 2013? : Rush is one of the most stylish and realistic sports films that I have ever seen, possibly only bettered by Moneyball. Rush is visually incredible on every single level, right down to the simple things, such as Niki Lauda’s overbite. Too many sports films based on historical events ignore the little things, such as not making the actors look like those that they are portraying, and if you see a picture of Daniel Brühl normally compared to how he looked in the film, you will be amazed. It is a truly incredible transformation that the film-makers have pulled off.

Brühl is incredible as the Austrian Lauda and it’s impossible not to be impressed by him. I first became aware of Brühl due to his appearance in “Inglorious Basterds” and his mesmerising portrayal of a seemingly well mannered young man who simply won’t take no for an answer. He brings a great level of sympathy to the character because although the character is a self confessed arsehole, you understand why he is how he is and Brühl plays it excellently.

Both Landa and Hunt are portrayed as exactly what they were, flawed human beings. Hunt, despite being a world class racing driver, struggles with the normalities of life and this costs him his marriage, and Landa refuses to accept anything less than perfection and doesn’t know how to do anything other than via the most simple to achieve it. For example, when he marries his girlfriend, it’s simply in a registry office, he doesn’t go with a full on wedding because it is simple. Even Landa’s home is as basic as it gets.

Hunt and Landa are the perfect antithesis to each other and the duel between them, and how it escalates from a mere professional rivalry to a more personal battle, is a great build, but even better is when Niki has had his rivalry and James’ reaction to it. James’ guilt about how he rallied the other racers to ignore Niki’s protests for a race to go ahead, and the subsequent accident, is the perfect character development.

The Resident Evil film franchise is finally over and I for one couldn’t be happier. I really like the first one and it was one of the first films that I ever went to see twice at the cinema. I remember specifically going into the cinema in Lincoln and asking for a ticket months in advance, and even though they couldn’t sell tickets, I was there on the opening showing on the first day, and I loved it. Even now I think that this stands separate from the rest of the series, and can be viewed as a semi-decent zombie film on its own merits.

However, whilst the first was generally very good, in my opinion of course, the sequels were not so lucky. Gradually getting worse as the series went on, fans kept going in the hope that they would get better, and whilst I’m not going to share my opinions on the sixth film until the end of the year (I can’t criticise it whilst it’s still showing at the chain that I work for legal reasons), it isn’t going to stop me posting this list.

So this is what I hope will become a new feature on this site, the “Reasons” section. In this I will look at reasons as to why something worked, or didn’t work, so to open it up I’m going to start with 85 reasons that the “Resident Evil” franchise sucked overall. This ranges from general observations to plot holes.

Please note that these are not sorted into any form of order.

1) Despite being constantly in danger of death, Alice somehow always found time in between films to change her hair style and colour. Obviously over the space of ten years in-film time I appreciate she’d need to cut her hair every now and then, but is style and colour realistically something that the character would be concerned by?

2) Making the character of Alice have what are effectively super-powers for a significant portion of the franchise made her completely uncompelling. If you know that it’s exceptionally unlikely that she’s going to die, it takes any real tension out of any scene.

3) In their defence, the first two films do try to stick to the horror genre somewhat, but come the third film they’re basically action films. The Resident Evil franchise isn’t supposed to be action it’s supposed to be horror.

4) The first film faced a lot of criticism for the very few references to the games, so the next few films over-compensated by bringing characters from the games into the film. Whilst noble, none of the characters were really anything like their computer game counterparts, especially arguably the two lead characters of the games series, Chris and Leon. Whilst the latter character has an interesting relationship with Ada in the games, it just isn’t reflected at all in the movie.

5) Speaking of Ada, she is one of the most intriguing characters in the games due to her less than willing way to reveal the complete truth in various situations, but in the fifth film (the only one she features in) she isn’t the anti-hero from the games, she is just a generic secret agent that could be taken out and there would be no impact to the story at all.

6) Speaking of characters from the games, Jill Valentine is the primary protagonist of the first and third games, and also the secondary one in the second film. To be fair to the filmmakers they do make her look exactly how she looked in the games, but how does a suspended police officer (even if all off duty police officers are called in) get away with entering the station and just opening fire on people that she views as hostile, and not only that, shooting them fatally?


7) Anyway, time to try and establish some order in this process and now look at the films in some form of relative order. In the first movie there is an excellent scene with a corridor of lasers, arguably the most famous scene in the franchise. They tried to replicate that by bringing that corridor of lasers back for several of the sequels, but the issue is that unlike the first, there was no suspense or genuine intention to be anything more than a feeling of “going back to the well”. This reappears in the third and sixth films, and an alternate version in the fifth.

8) Shortly after that scene is an odd one in which the AI system knows that they’re about to unleash an EMP to shut her down and she warns them not to do it, all before taunting them with “you’re all going to die down here”. The system has one point at this stage, to stop the spread of the infection, so wouldn’t it make sense for it to warn the soldiers what turning the system off would actually do (release all of the undead)? By not telling them the system is risking the infection getting out.

9) One of the reasons that I like the first film is that in amongst the gore, it takes its time to develop some of the other characters, and especially the sisters-style relationship with Alice and Rain, but there’s none of that as the series goes on. For example, in the final film Alice asks a character how they learned to change a mechanical device, and ten seconds later you’d heard the only development that character is given, and yet when that character dies towards the end of the film, it acts like you’re supposed to have an emotional attachment to that character.

10) The less than subtle nature of the Alice in Wonderland references in the first film. The lead is called Alice, the virus is tested on a white rabbit the villain is called the Red Queen, they have to walk through a mirror (aka a looking glass) to get into the hive.

11) At the beginning of the first film Alice is shown to have a large scar on her shoulder that stretches several inches. She stands in front of a mirror (whilst her memory is still absent) and is curious about it herself. We never discover where the scar came from.

12) Not only do we not discover where the scar came from, it has completely disappeared in later films, with the exception of one scene in the sixth film.

13) In the first film, the very opening scene infact, a woman decides that because the gap in-between two elevator doors is just big enough for her head and one arm to fit through, her entire body will be able to squeeze through. She subsequently gets her head stuck and I’m sure you can all guess what happens next.

14) A major plot point is the memory loss of Alice and Spence. Whilst Alice gradually gains her memory back over time, Spence is completely oblivious up until the perfect moment for the plot.

15) One of the memories that Alice does get back rather quickly is that she entered into a plot with someone who wants to bring the company down from the inside. She then reveals this to the character of Matt at the first opportunity because it turns out that the woman was his sister.

16) She decides to do this without having any other memories, and is surprised that Matt would want to have his questions answered.

17) In the first film the licker mutates shortly after feeding on flesh, but the same doesn’t happen in the second film.

18) The speed of the undead changes throughout the films. In the first film they are quite slow, and yet in the sixth film, set ten years after the first and therefore a lot of decomposition time later, they are full on sprinting. The undead won’t get faster as their body parts decompose.

19) Speaking of decomposed bodies, the second film shows that several people that have been long dead somehow gain the strength to burst through their coffin and six feet of dirt with ease.

20) Not only that, but the second film also sees the first of many contradictions around the virus throughout the franchise. The one in this film is that not only are the dead coming out of the ground, but it would take a long time for the virus to seep down six feet to get to them, but this would be completely irrelevant as it is stated in the first film that the body has to be relatively fresh and have even the slightest amount of neural activity, which usually dissipates after several weeks. Most of the bodies that come out of the ground have clearly been buried for much longer than that.

21) Umbrella managed to set up the wall surrounding the city in the space of a few hours after the events of the first film, yet no-one seems worried that an agency has come out of nowhere and is starting to barricade them all in.

22) This is made even odder by the fact that the zombie apocalypse is clearly going on whilst they’re doing it because there is a newspaper report shown. There has been enough time for Umbrella to build a wall and a newspaper report on the dead coming back to life and eating people, get it approved, published and distributed, before people seem to try and escape the city.

23) Umbrella also sent several operatives in to help control the situation, which isn’t unusual, but what is that the character of Yuri got bitten on the right arm, but limping heavily on his left leg.

24) When Nemesis is given his first thing to do on screen, it’s to kill twelve members of the S.T.A.R.S (Special Tactics and Rescue Squad). The person who unleashes the Nemesis literally says “they’re the best” and a minute later every single S.T.A.R.S member in the building is dead. What was the point?

25) Also, is it really a “Special Tactic” to all stand in a perfect straight line aiming at the big creature walking towards you? They can’t be that special if the make this glaring error.


26) A reasonable fraction of the film is spent in a church, a building that Alice enters by crashing a motorbike through a window. How did she get the bike through that window when exteriors of the church clearly show no ramps?

27) The third film is set in a desolate desert environment in which water seems a rarity, yet no-one seems dehydrated and everyone can afford regular showers (you can tell because everyone is clean).

28) In relation to the desert environment, the film clearly establishes most vegetation around the planet has died as a result of the virus, with many areas being reclaimed by the desert, but this issue doesn’t seem to carry over to the later films as pretty much each area has returned to “normal”.

29) One of the characters reveals that she never liked her original name and so instead chose her new name after where the rest of the crew found her, a K-Mart store. Ok, you don’t like your old name, you can change it to anything you want, but you just change it to a nickname of a store. Why go through that effort?

30) The only sniper will climb to a decent position above the battlefield, but also happens to choose arguably the only place that he wouldn’t be able to escape from if someone started climbing up. Guess what happened.

31) It turns out that Umbrella have created several clones of Alice and they are to be discarded once they are killed in several environments. There are around fifty Alices that are shown on screen in the ditch of dead-clones, not only has every one of them seemingly died on the exact same way (bullets from the flying turret), but not a single one has started to decompose.

32) In the final battle of humans vs zombies in the third movie, Alice gets “turned off” (for lack of better words) by Umbrella because they want to use her for data analysis, but stopping her dead in the middle of a battle with zombies means that they risk getting her body back after it’s been bitten several times by zombies, which could contaminate their results.

33) Magically disappearing characters. A character is a prominent part of one film, but is then never seen again. One such example is Chris in the fourth film. He plays a pretty big role, but is then not heard of again. Even at the end of the sixth film I have no idea whether he was alive because he is barely even mentioned in the final two film.

34) The third film ends with Alice having an army of clones, but those clones are killed off within minutes of the opening of the fourth film.

35) Then again, that’s not the strangest thing about the ending to the third film. The survivors are able to escape on a helicopter that can handle six people without an issue, yet there are significantly more than that who are escape on it at once.

36) Arguably the biggest “fuck you” to fans however was the Nemesis character in the second film. Nemesis in the game “Resident Evil 3 : Nemesis” is a seemingly unstoppable machine that will stop at nothing to get to you, but the film shows that with just a few memories of his former self, he will turn into a good guy and help the protagonists.

37) That’s not to say that the fourth film isn’t innocent in that regard. The enemy known as “The Executioner” is your first mini-boss in the fifth Resident Evil game and is a genuine challenge. He’s a towering bulk that moves quickly and menacingly. He is randomly implanted as a nameless antagonist in the fourth film but is nowhere near as intimidating as his computer game counterpart. He spends a portion of his screen time trying to break down the game, but instead of hitting it with any real force, he gently taps it….and yet it somehow causes the gate to come off of its hinges after a few hits.

38) He then battles Alice and Claire in the shower room in the prison and is taken out relatively simply after causing significant damage the environment, but none to either of the aforementioned characters.

39) The main characters then escape through tunnels that were dug by the undead. Yep, not only should they be long decomposed after however many years have gone by, but now they’re able to dig through the ground and up through a solid floor.

40) What makes that even more ridiculous is that the hole isn’t even subtle, and yet none of the characters notice it in the relatively small room that they’re all in at some point.

41) Their destination once they escape is a ship just off of the coast, but when they look at it through their binoculars there is no sign of life on a ship that is offering sanctuary from the infection. Strangely this doesn’t ring any alarm bells in their heads.

42) The opening scene involving Alice in the fourth film is all of her clones invading an Umbrella facility. Whilst on the face of it she has a lot of enemies to beat, the soldiers that she faces are awful and show no tactical awareness whatsoever. They can’t shoot in a straight line (only Wesker actually hits a clone with any bullets) and not once do they try and take cover.

43) The clones also have piercing holes in their ears. If they’re DNA replicas, they wouldn’t have piercing holes as they weren’t part of the original DNA. A quick brush up in post production would have sorted that out.

 

44) Alice starts the fourth film off with having her mutated cells returned to normal, and yet she is able to walk away from a helicopter crash without a scratch.

45) Having that said, her survival is no more miraculous than the characters that free fall about twenty storeys down an elevator shaft before hitting water, and yet they aren’t even slightly hurt.

46) Going back to the Executioner boss that I mentioned earlier, the battle with him takes place in the shower room that seems to have a layout that confuses the characters because they are surprise attacked several times whilst in that room, but all of the things attacking them have come from areas where they have just been standing.

47) The fourth film ends with Alice and the rest of the gang taking over a ship and declaring over the radio that there is enough food for everyone. She only arrived 20 minutes previously, spending most of the time looking around the test areas and beating Wesker, there is no way that she knew that there was enough food for everyone.

48) The fourth film also claims that a plane going at a speed that is flying fast enough to maintain itself in the air can go from whatever speed that is to nothing (with the help of a few ropes) in something that’s less than the length a football pitch.

49) Not to forget that one of the things that helps the plane stop falling over the edge is Luther jumping nearly double his height and grabbing the back of the plane, weighing it down. No human that can jump that high would weigh more than an engine and therefore the weight would still feasibly force the plane over.

50) Then again, it’s not as unfeasible as the plane re-taking off sometime later with pretty much zero momentum. I’m not a pilot, nor really know anything about what it takes to fly a plane, but what I do know is that a plane going no more than 20 miles an hour will not take off at all, even if it suddenly goes off of the edge of a building.

51) What is just as strange about the plane taking off again is the character that is in it subsequently mows through several zombies with the propellers and their blood spurts in his mouth….but the window and hatch is completely shut. How did the blood get through?

52) The acting throughout is laughable, with Shawn Roberts as Albert Wesker acting as though his jaw had been wired so that it couldn’t go beyond a certain point.

53) SSSSSSSLLLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWW MMMMMOOOOOOOOOTTTTTTTTTTTTIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNN. I didn’t notice until the fourth film just how much slow motion was in this franchise. It’s not too bad in the first film, infact I believe it’s rarely used, but it is considerably more noticeable in the latter half of the franchise, and I would love to know how long the fourth film would be if it was played at normal speed. I would go as far as saying it would be less than an hour.

54) This over-use of slow motion carries over into the fifth and sixth films. Infact, the first three or so minutes of the fifth film are completely in slow motion, then it shows you what happened at normal speed and it couldn’t have lasted longer than fifteen seconds.

55) Whilst slow motion isn’t ideal, it’s certainly better than constant jump cuts. The sixth film in particular is awful for this and at one point I counted eleven jump cuts in just five seconds. How can you possibly keep up with that? I wish I could even say it was a one off but it keeps happening throughout the entirety of the movie.

56) The fifth film in its general entirety. It’s basically just a “Greatest Hits” edition of the previous four films.

57) My biggest gripe with the fifth film is that is completely inconsequential. You could take this movie out and the rest of the series would, for the most part, stay exactly the same.

58) It is visually repulsive and I wouldn’t be surprised if the entire film was filmed on green screen as so much of it looks fake.

59) One of the early scenes sees Alice imprisoned in what is basically a giant cylinder, and for some reason Umbrella have decided to keep all of her stuff in a drawer that she has relatively easy access to. I highly doubt that they would ever release her, and even if they do I highly doubt that they would give her her stuff back, so what’s the point in keeping it?

60) It is established in the fifth film that the facility that they are in is controlled by Umbrella and that they can change each environment to make it as difficult as possible for the characters to escape, but none are truly made that difficult. If they wanted to then could make it a monsoon style weather system in each environment and force the characters into drowning, or change the temperature to either freeze or cook the characters alive.

61) One other zone consists of two “executioners”, but if Umbrella were truly intent on capturing or killing them then surely they could have had more than just two?

62) The problem with each of these scenes, as well as the others in the film, is that you never feel like Alice is in any danger of not killing her opponent eventually.

63) This isn’t helped by the fact that with the help of Ada, the movie feels like nothing more than a film equivalent of co-op in computer games. Co-op doesn’t work effectively in the games and certainly doesn’t help in the films.

64) Ada also doesn’t feel like a fully realised character, not helped by that Bingbing Li’s entire dialogue was dubbed. It is unfortunately very obvious that she’s not the one talking.

65) There isn’t even a satisfying conclusion to the film as there isn’t a primary antagonist throughout the movie, just several sub-bosses.

66) The inclusion of clones of “One” and “Rain” from the first film makes you genuinely question whether each was real in that film, making their plight somewhat less compelling.

67) The sixth film in its general entirety.

68) For some reason they decided to film almost the entire movie on a handheld camera rather than the normal set up. This doesn’t add anything so I’m not sure what they were trying to achieve.

69) One of thing that they certainly don’t achieve is revealing what happened after the end of the fifth film. All you find out is that Wesker betrayed them and then Alice emerges from a hatch, surrounded by the remains of White House.

70) Wesker, after being built as a very hard to kill antagonist, is taken out very easily in the final film.

71) Infact, Wesker doesn’t really do anything at all in the final film, and in reality he is largely irrelevant to the plot of the overall franchise. He barely makes a worthwhile contribution throughout.


72) One of the key plot points of the final entry to the franchise is that the Red Queen is constantly stating that in a certain amount of hours the last human settlements will fall unless the anti-virus is released, leaving just Wesker and co alive. How can she possibly know when they will fall, or indeed where every single settlement is? Yes, they have the satellite system, but if someone was in a underground settlement on their own, it’s highly unlikely that that system would know.

73) It even seems strange that the Red Queen knows about this anti-virus and has done since the first film, but didn’t think to mention it once, even though she clearly stated that it was her responsibility to make sure that the T-virus wasn’t spread.

74) Even if it were the case where it was definitely 48 hours, it would be too late to release the airborne anti-virus and have it reach those settlements in time for the humans in them to survive.

75) This entry contains yet another contradiction in the franchise as it claims that the Red Queen was modelled after the daughter of Dr. Marcus, but this contradicts the first few films in which they explain that it was modelled after the daughter of Dr. Ashford from the second film.

76) Alice also seems to go through something of a contradiction as she willingly puts all of the survivors at risk when she wants the gates open for one person that’s being chased by thousands of zombies, but this follows her blowing up a tank knowing that it’s full of survivors that are being held captive.

77) Soon after she also proceeds to cause an explosion in the other tank, thus killing all of the survivors in there, but all Umbrella operatives emerge within seconds with nothing more than a cough, even though they were right next to the explosions.

78) Then again, her even getting to the tanks is odd enough given that it is clearly shown that there are too many zombies for them to walk without banging into each other, but she somehow manages to land in the middle of a patch where there are no zombies.

79) The final film reveals that Alice and the Dr Isaacs we see in the third film were infact clones. Revealing that Alice has been a clone all along killed the connection that anyone realistically had with the character because you realise that you’re not following the original, you’re following a copy, and it takes a lot of the emotional connection out of the situation.

80) There are also two Dr. Isaacs’ in the sixth film, one of whom is a clone, but you again don’t find this out until much later in the movie. There are no real need for this.

81) When the characters in the sixth film reach the facility, Wesker decides that one way to kill them would be to reverse the polarity on turbines, therefore sucking all of the air in and meaning that they will be sucked in. One character is killed and Wesker decides that will be enough for then, but then gets confused and frustrated when all the characters end up in closer than he wanted.

82) There are numerous instances in the series of the characters being in a completely empty environment, only to then be completely surrounded on all sides by zombies. Either the zombies are super quiet, or we’re to believe that they just happened to come across them with such convenient timing.

83) Several characters in the series turn into zombies after only a handful of hours, whereas a few take several days.

84) The numerous product placements that aren’t even remotely subtle through the entire franchise, such as Sony products in the second and third films.

85) Arguably the least subtle however comes in the fourth when Alice is trying to figure out where she knows Luther from. After he unsuccessfully guesses that she is a basketball fan, he says “well maybe you’re a fan of fine time pieces” and the film then cuts to a poster with a massive Tag Heuer logo in the middle of it.

So that’s it, 85 reasons that I could find for the series generally sucking.

 

Whilst coming to the end of writing my first extensive look at why a certain “horror” franchise failed to produce quality films, I was made aware of a mini-craze amongst film reviewers on social media in which they reveal their favourite film from each year that they’ve been alive.

At first I had no interest in taking part, but then I thought that it might be fun to see what came out each year I was alive. One thing that I quickly realised that there are some years in which there were few standout films for me, 1990 and 2005 being particularly sparse, whereas I really struggled just to pick one from 1994 as as well as what I chose, there were so many entries that were not only great, but would top many top tens around the world.

So I was born in 1984 and will therefore start there. In the interest of fairness I am only going to consider films that were released at the cinema.

1984 – Ghostbusters
1985 – The Goonies
1986 – The Fly
1987 – Spaceballs
1988 – Willow
1989 – Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
1990 – Night of the Living Dead
1991 – Terminator 2 : Judgement Day
1992 – A League of Their Own

1993 – Jurassic Park
1994 – The Shawshank Redemption
1995 – Mortal Kombat
1996 – Star Trek : First Contact
1997 – The Fifth Element
1998 – The Truman Show
1999 – Fight Club


2000 – American Psycho
2001 – The Lord of the Rings : The Fellowship of the Ring
2002 – 28 Days Later
2003 – Pirates of the Caribbean : The Curse of the Black Pearl
2004 – Troy
2005 – Land of the Dead
2006 – Lucky Number Slevin


2007 – No Country for Old Men
2008 – The Dark Knight
2009 – Star Trek
2010 – Scott Pilgrim vs the World
2011 – Moneyball
2012 – Avengers : Assemble
2013 – Rush

Then we come onto those that I’ve seen since I started reviewing films for this site. Click on the below links for the full run downs of the top tens from these years.
2014 – Nightcrawler
2015 – No Escape
2016 – Captain Fantastic
2017 – TBD

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When I started this site in September 2014 I never imagined that I would still be posting reviews on a semi-regular basis two years later, but one of the best things about doing this site is that it gives me a great motivation to watch more films at the cinema.

For those that haven’t read this site before, I tend to focus on reviewing films that aren’t well known. Now don’t get me wrong, I do occasionally write about more well known films, but not often. Despite this, at the end of each year I rank the films that I have seen at the cinema. In 2015 my favourite film was “No Escape”, which followed on from 2014’s “Nightcrawler”, whereas “Vacation” and “Pompeii” were comfortably bottom of the list in their respective years.

In 2015 I managed to reach what was a personal best of forty-six films seen at the cinema, but 2016 has seen me reach new heights, and I am currently on almost double that amount for this calendar year, and I am desperately trying to reach a hundred for the year. Whilst it would be great to achieve it, it does mean that I have had to watch a lot of films that I would never have dreamt of seeing previously (let’s put it this way, out of the last ten films that I have seen, only one has actually been any good, and only two that I would have actually paid to see (I work at a cinema so see most films for free).

Sometimes going to see films that I wouldn’t have otherwise seen works, but not to much others.

Now the reason that I am telling you all of this is because with that sheer amount, it would become purely farcical to rank a hundred films into just four lists (the same amount I had last year), especially when you consider that two of those lists will only consider two films. So this year I will instead be ranking them properly, right from a hundred (assuming I see 100), right up to number one.

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I have been keeping track of the films that I have since since the first day of the year, in which I saw five movies in one day, right through to a very disappointing venture last night, and I currently have a bottom and top ten in place, although let’s put it this way, there are some shocking films that won’t feature in the bottom ten that would have probably topped that list in other years. On the flip side, there have been a lot of quality films this year that I really want to put in my top ten, but I can’t justify removing any that are currently in that position.

So with that in mind, my list will start ten days before the new year, and will post my top ten on New Year’s Eve, or at least that is the plan.

Here is a preview of the upcoming breakdown, although I’m not going to discuss individual films…..

  • Two films on the list have Chris Pine and Ben Foster working together. One is currently in my top ten, and the other also features another actor that Pine has previously worked with.
  • Foster also holds the unusual distinction of being the only actor/actress to be in films that appear in both my top and bottom tens for the year so far.
  • Chris Pine, Ben Foster and Chris Hemsworth all feature in three different films on the list in total, more than anyone else. Interestingly, they did technically appear in a movie together, which would take the latter of the three to four, but as Hemsworth’s appearance in that film wasn’t fresh footage, I can’t include it as him acting. Hemsworth and Foster will both appear in the bottom ten for the year as it stands.
  • Other actors to be in numerous entries include Steve Carrell, Jesse Eisenberg, George Clooney, Zak Efron and Margot Robbie.
  • My first candidate for worst film of the year stayed in that position for around four months, and but was replaced by stars of “High School Musical” and “Parks and Recreation”, but it was a spin off of another TV show that currently sits bottom of the pile. It will take something unbelievably atrocious in the last few months for me to consider anything else.
  • When I rank the films, none of the major comic book based films that have come out this year (and I’ve seen all of them) are likely to feature in the top thirty, and only one is likely to be in the top fifty. Please note that this is only as it stands.
  • The top ten currently consists of a single horror film, but is joined by a film that has a horror element to it’s title.
  • My bottom ten currently includes two sequels, a live-action remake and a film based on a computer game.
  • There are two foreign language films overall in the list, one of which I have previously reviewed on this site.
  • Surprisingly there are only sixteen remakes, sequels or prequels in my list.
  • And finally, whilst no actors appears in two films on the bottom or top ten lists currently, Zak Efron and Jeremy Irons have both spent time on the bottom ten list with films with two different entries, and both still appear in one.

If you are interested in reading my previous breakdowns of the years 2014 and 2015, these can be accessed from the “All Reviews”. In the meantime, I will be trying to increase my reviews and posts, so stay tuned.

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There is an internal debate that I have had for several months and that it “what is the greatest decade for cinema” in terms of quantity of quality films, and after several months of debate, I have come to the conclusion that the best decade for cinema was the 1980s.

I got onto this debate again over the weekend as I went back to my hometown of Lincoln for a few days. It was the first time I’ve had two days in a row off from all jobs since April and as I turn 32 on September 12th, I decided to celebrate by going home, seeing family and friends, and whilst there I got my present from my parents, the ever reliable present that is money. I decided to invest it in some new Blu-Rays as I haven’t brought myself some for a while, infact it’s only one in since April, which is a low number for me.

After browsing HMV’s five Blu-Rays for £30 section, I came away with the following (I bought more than five);

  • Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
  • Weird Science
  • Gremlins
  • Krull
  • Some Like it Hot
  • Jane Got a Gun
  • The Gift

I only realised a few hours later that four of my choices were from the 1980s, and it got that debate starting again, and I still come to the conclusion that is the best decade for film. Whilst that is obviously down to personal taste and opinion, I have decided to justify my decision by writing an article about it.

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So many classics, and original films at that

Arguably no decade has more classics coming out of it than the 1980s. You’ve got genre defining classics in pretty much every single category, which isn’t something that you can say about most decades. Whilst the 1990s had some timeless films, such as “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Fight Club”, there weren’t that many films that you can look at and say that you’d still be watching them regularly 26 years after the decade ended.

To put this in some sort of context, here are some examples of genres and some of the classics (in my opinion) in that genre. Please note that if there is an asterix next to it, I haven’t actually seen the film and am going purely off it’s reputation.

Science Fiction : ET*, The Terminator, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Blade Runner*, Predator, The Abyss, Star Trek 2 : The Wrath of Khan and Aliens.

Horror : The Fly, The Thing, The Shining, Gremlins and The Evil Dead.

Comedy : Ghostbusters, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Weird Science, Back to the Future, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off*, The Blues Brothers*, Big, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Honey I Shrunk the Kids and Police Academy.

Adventure : Raiders of the Lost Ark, Willow, Krull, The Neverending Story and The Goonies.

War : Full Metal Jacket* and Platoon*.

Action : Die Hard and Top Gun.

Drama : Rain Man, Stand by Me, Gandhi and A Passage to India*.

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All of those were just of of the top of my head, I’m sure if I delved into it there would be more, but there just some of the classics that came from the 1980s, and in particular, original ideas. Again, without delving into it, there are only three sequels listed above (Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and Wrath of Khan), and whilst there are a few remakes (The Fly and the Thing), the vast majority are original ideas and a lot of those films, for better or for worse, started franchises.

As time has gone on, original ideas have become few and far between in Hollywood, making most films predictable, especially in our current decade, in which it’s very hard to see a film that isn’t based on a book, another film, isn’t a reboot, remake or sequel, and is just an outright original idea.

Whilst the majority of films in earlier decades were obviously original, in my opinion no decade outside of the 1980s has produced as many original hits that people still watch and inspired as much.

Computer generated special effects were rare!

The 1980s was the last decade in which it was uncommon to see computer generated special effects in films. The vast majority of effects in the 1980s were practical, and because of this it often looked far more realistic.

For example, the only bit of CGI that I have been impressed with recently was in “The Jungle Book”, in which the animals looked exceptionally realistic, but that is definitely a rarity these days and to counter that, a few weeks later I watched “Gods of Egypt”, which I wouldn’t be surprised if it was all done on green-screens as everything looked ridiculously fake.

Practical effects work better for me because they just look more realistic. I’ll grant you that this isn’t always the case, such as the scene in “The Terminator” in which the Terminator is removing his faulty eye, but by in large it just looks better. One such direct example that I can use is the 1982 version of “The Thing” in comparison to it’s 2011 prequel.

On the image below you can see an image of the same character (please note for those that haven’t seen it, in the picture on the left the character is dead, or least so they think). On the left hand side is the character in the 1982 film and has been done entirely with practical effects, compared to the same character in the 2011 prequel, which was a 100% CGI character.


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I have nothing against the prequel at all. Whilst it’s nowhere near as good as the first film, it is a reasonable attempt, but the look of this character in particular just takes away any semblance of fear and danger. Whilst you never see the practical effects split-face character alive in the 1982 film, I would be far more terrified if that was coming towards me than the one on the right, and it’s all because the split-face on the right hand side looks fake as hell.

Everything just looked better in the 1980s and more lifeless, and seeing a character that I know is completely CGI personally takes me out of the film a lot, whereas practical effects characters just don’t have the same impact on me whatsoever.

Effects help story telling and if used right, they can be excellent. There are so few films these days that make non-human characters look realistic, whereas the 1980s managed it so well as it was a time when sixty or so years of research had been perfected, and it was only towards the end of the decade that computer generated effects started coming into effect, and what’s more, some of the creatures in the practical effects era were cute as hell, such as Falcor from “The Neverending Story”.

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Characters and story came first!

Following on from the above, one thing that a lot of modern day films often make a mistake on is trying to make their film look great, but completely forget about the characters and story. For example, when I first watched “Avatar” I was stunned by how visually brilliant the whole thing was, and it is stunning in Blu-Ray format, but once you take your eyes off of the look of the film, there just isn’t a lot of substance there. The characters are weak and the storyline is just a “meh” situation.

During the majority of the films in my earlier list, you get to know the characters exceptionally well because the story telling allows them to be. The focus was on great storytelling and not how it looked. For example, I only recently watched “Die Hard” for the first time and it worked on many levels, one of which was that it had a great antagonist (which is another film modern day films struggle with might I add). Even now, more than two weeks after watching it for just the one time, I can remember a lot about the characters, even the minor ones, and that’s what I want.

The central antagonist in “Die Hard”, Hans Gruber (played menacingly brilliantly by Alan Rickman), is a great antagonist because not only does he look like winning, but you learn a great deal about his character.

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The same can’t be said of a lot of modern day films. For example, I recently went to watch “Lights Out”, literally the day after I watched “Die Hard”, and yet I couldn’t tell you the name of a single character, it was that forgettable, and that’s not just a one off either. Horror films these days are so focused on things such as jump scares, they’ve taken their eyes off of what is most important, the characters. If I don’t care enough to remember the characters names, why should I care about the situation that they’re in.

For example, in the list above is my favourite horror film, “The Fly”. For those that haven’t seen it, watch it. Go and watch it now (well, after you’ve finished reading this). “The Fly” for me is everything that makes not only a great horror film, but a great film in general. I have already covered this film in my review for “The Fly”, but to sum it up the reason “The Fly” works so well is that whilst it only has three characters, you get to know them so well that you start caring about them as people, and you see where each is coming from.

Modern day films tend not to care about the characters, and are only concerned with the look. Now don’t get me wrong, I know that this isn’t the case for all films, but if we take arguably the most popular modern franchise, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you’ll notice that whilst they are fun, they all lack something that is so important to turning a good movie great, a captivating and believable antagonist. If you don’t think I’m being fair with that statement, take Loki and Zemo out of the franchise and name me one antagonist that looked like winning (Zemo won because he achieved his goal of splitting Steve and Tony).

Infact, I’m going to make a very, very bold statement here. In my opinion, there hasn’t been a single antagonist that you could classify as “timelessly brilliant” since Heath Ledger’s Joker in 2008’s “The Dark Knight”. In an already brilliant film, the Joker is arguably the best part, whereas I can’t think of a single film since that is not only brilliant (which is a small list in itself), but also contains an antagonist on a level that’s even close to that.

That’s not to say that you even necessarily need an antagonist in the film, afterall, “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” doesn’t really have an antagonist, unless you count Ted’s Dad, but even then that’d be a push. Whilst having a bad guy (or girl) isn’t vital, it definitely helps, and modern day films fail miserably to give great antagonists,

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Great music!

I’m not going to spend too long on this point but how many films these days have theme tunes that you know as soon as you hear them? I’ve just looked through my entire Blu-Ray collection, about 25% of which are from this decade, and yet there isn’t one that I would look at and think “yeah, that has a theme tune I’ll remember in 26 years” (and just for clarification, I mean original songs, not popular songs just used as the main theme) and yet there are numerous films from the 1980s that you could play back now and most people would recognise them.

For an example of this, I’m just going to leave this here….

And finally, films that people still talk about!

Now, I’m not going to look at films from this decade for this one as it’d be harsh given that we’ve still got over three years of the tens left, but there is no decade which people refer to more than the eighties when talking about films.

For example, there are some decades with a lot of great films in them, and some of the biggest films of all time are from the early days of cinema, but no decade comes close to having as many pop-culture references like the 1980s.

 

There are so many quotable films that came from the eighties, and they have sunk deep into society. To end this article, here are a few quotes that are still used to this day, even if slightly twisted, that all came from films in the 1980s and I still hear on a semi regular basis in either real life, or modern films paying tribute to them.

“Here’s Johnny” (The Shining)

“No, I am your father” (The Empire Strikes Back)

“I’m too old for this shit” (Lethal Weapon)

“Phone home” (ET)

“Say hello to my little friend” (Scarface)

“Yippee-ki-yay” (Die Hard)

“I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick some ass, and I’m all out of bubblegum!” (They Live)

“Don’t cross the streams” (Ghostbusters)

“We came, we saw, we kicked it’s ass” (Ghostbusters)

“I’ll be back” (Terminator)

“If you build it, they will come” (Field of Dreams)

And with that, I bid you adieu.

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So recently I haven’t posted many reviews, and there are a few reasons for this. One is that I have moved, and another is that I am currently in the process of trying to lose around 5 stone (70 pounds for those who don’t use stones as a weight measurement), meaning that I spend a lot of my spare time (of which there isn’t much) at the gym, and that my laptop is a bit dodgy at the moment, but the main one is that there just aren’t that many films that I’m interested in watching.

For those that haven’t read my site before, I don’t review mainstream films. Granted,there are the odd ones here and there that are mainstream that I have reviewed, such as “The Fly” and “The Thing”, but they were for a purpose during my run of reviewing a film every day in October 2015 leading up to Halloween (which I won’t be repeating this year)

After watching “Men and Chicken” and reviewing it a few nights ago, I was in the mood to watch another and review it, but I couldn’t find anything that I was particularly interested in. I’m struggling to be honest, but I don’t want that to impact the site on a long term and so I’m going to do what I did last year and that is reveal the five mainstream films that are coming out soon that I’m looking forward to, and more importantly, ones that I don’t think a lot of people, especially in my native England, will know about yet.

So based on that, here are the five films that are coming out within the near(ish) future that I am excited about. Please note that I won’t really be talking about them, just posting the trailers and the odd comment here and there.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

I never thought I’d get excited by a movie that has Kristen Stewart in it, but thankfully her role looks to be a small one.

“Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” looks like it follows Ang Lee’s trend of brilliant visuals and great story telling.

 

Hell or High Water

Chris Pine and Ben Foster, need I say more?

 

Imperium

Say what you want about Daniel Radcliffe, he is a very promising young actor and his choice of roles since the Harry Potter franchise has not only been varied, but also very flexible. He has played a man who grew horns on his head (Horns), the son of a former billionaire seeking revenge (Now You See Me 2) and a farting corpse (Swiss Army Man).

Now he appears in the very different “Imperium”, which looks to be the best movie about Neo-Nazism since “American History X”.

 

The Light Between Oceans

Much like “The Danish Girl”, this does look like a film that is desperately trying to be Oscar-bait, but it looks very good and morally complex.

 

Split

It’s safe to say that M. Night Shyamalan has had a mixed career so far. He started off exceptionally well with films such as Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, but his efforts more recently have not been that good, but I still have high hopes for this horror film.

From the trailers you are left under no illusions what the film is about, and you realise that with 23 personalities to work with, this is a true test of James McAvoy’s acting chops.

 

 

So recently another trailer for the upcoming “Ghostbusters” reboot was released and yet again, in my opinion, it failed to look anything more than a poor attempt to bringing new life to the 30+ year old franchise. Reaction to the trailer was poor from the majority, but this was in turn met by a reaction that has plagued the whole marketing for the film, that anyone who doesn’t like the look of the film is just upset that features women in the lead role of an iconic franchise.

Those comments are ironic in many ways, mainly because they’re wrongly assuming that people don’t want to watch the film and will bad mouth it because it stars women, but making that comment is itself sexist.

The original trailer for the new film was released several months ago now and it has already gained the less than favourable distinction of being the most disliked movie trailer ever on Youtube. There are several reasons for this, but not once during the comments did I read someone stating that the film would be poor because it has female leads, instead a lack of genuinely funny moments, racist stereotypes and an exceptionally slow tone made one of the least impressive trailers that you’ll ever see for a Hollywood blockbuster.

You could almost tell that the studio knew that they had messed up with the first trailer as a new one was released within a few days of the first that showed Chris Hemsworth’s character, but seemed to overplay him being in the film, almost like a “shit, they didn’t like that trailer, let’s try and get the comic book nerds on side” type of way of doing it. Now I really like Chris Hemsworth as an actor, I can’t recall watching a film that he was in that I didn’t like him in, and if I’m going to go and watch it then it will be to enjoy another one of his performances again.

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Releasing a new trailer didn’t change opinions though and the majority still disliked the trailers, and that’s the point at which some said that people just didn’t like it because it starred four women, and that people didn’t like the film for sexist reasons. What complete and utter nonsense.

Now before someone gets on their high horse and starts accusing me of only not liking the look of the film because it stars four women, take into account that it’s practically impossible for me to be sexist against women because I am a male-to-female transsexual. If I was sexist against women then I certainly wouldn’t be spending a lot of money to become one for the rest of my life.

When they initially announced last year that the new cast would feature “funny women”, I did genuinely struggle to think of actresses that I find funny, and when the cast came out I was unimpressed. Now, I’ve never seen anything with Kate McKinnon or Leslie Jones in it, infact I’d never even heard of either of them before then, so obviously I can’t comment on their level of comedic talent (although judging by the trailers, the latter certainly doesn’t contain any), so instead I’m going to concentrate on Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig.

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Several months ago I did review a film starring Wiig, to be more precise “Welcome to Me”, and it was pretty poor, and before I wrote this I looked at Wiig’s filmography, and other than “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” I couldn’t think of anything that I have seen her in that I enjoyed her performance specifically, and possibly the reason was that in that film she played a very serious character, but in the others she has attempted to be somewhat amusing.

Then we get onto Melissa McCarthy, who is about as funny as falling eye first onto a pin. She is like the female version of James Corden in which most of her “humour” seems to come from her weight. For example, in the trailer for “Tammy” (which is diabolical might I add) she is seen struggling to get over a counter, and it’s just not funny, and nor is anything else that she has been in.

Neither of these women strike me as fitting the category of “funny women” and that’s why I was initially skeptical.

 

If you’re going to claim that you’re going to hire “funny women” then hire women that are actually funny. There are plenty of funny women in Hollywood and I can give you four right now that have proven comedic chops, chemistry built from several years of already working together and are all actually likable, I present the female cast of the brilliant “Parks and Recreation”.

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Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Aubrey Plaza and Retta (in the order they appear in the picture) were perfectly cast for “Parks and Recreation” and had they been cast in “Ghostbusters” rather than the four aforementioned women then I suspect that there would have been far more excitement towards the film, especially as all four are actually funny.

That’s not to say that the poor looking film is all the fault of the four female leads, afterall, they can only read what they’re given by the writers and director, so if people are criticising a film for poorly told jokes and a poorly paced trailer, you have to also have to look at all of those behind the scenes.

The problem with the film so far is that the ghosts look ridiculously cartoonish and the comedy seems exceptionally slapstick, which isn’t in the tradition of the franchise. Now, I know that the first one was released in 1984 and obviously times have changed, but slapstick comedy has never been truly successful at the cinema since the days of Charlie Chaplin, and I highly doubt that’ll change now. One of the many reasons for the success of the original films is that the writing was nailed on perfect and the jokes weren’t in your face like the trailers have made the new one look.

For me, and a lot of people that I know (both male and female), there isn’t a single redeeming feature about it. I’m not a huge fan of the originals, I do like them but would I actively go out of my way to watch them? Probably not. It looking crap has nothing to do with people not liking women in the leading roles. Certain franchises are crap because they’re simply crap, not just because they have female leads. For example, “Alien” is a great example of a female lead franchise that people love, whereas franchises such as “The Hunger Games” and “Twilight” are awful, but they’re not awful because they have a female lead character (although to be fair Stewart does a fantastic job of dragging the latter even further down), they’re awful because they’re simply poorly made films….especially the latter franchise.

To suggest that people don’t like the look of the new “Ghostbusters” film because it’s female lead is not only sexist in itself, but it’s also downright wrong.

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It came to my attention recently that I was approaching my 200th article for this website, spread across reviews and “Keeping it Reel” articles, and so I thought about how I could celebrate reaching 200. 

Firstly, I’d like to thank those of you that subscribe to the site, or have liked our page on Facebook, it is greatly appreciated and I hope that as the blog continues to grow, you will stay with me.

I thought about reviewing one of my favourite mainstream films, but I thought that would be too obvious. I then considered doing an overhaul of the look of the site, and that is something that I am still considering, but instead I have decided to do what I have been thinking about for a while and that is producing a list of the bottom 5 films that I have seen and reviewed during the run time of this site. I have often said in reviews “if I was to rank the films” and I’ve decided to put that into force.

Now just to make this fair, I have decided that it wouldn’t be right if I included all films that I actually saw before I started this site, even if there was a review on here at some point or another, so after taking out those films, we are left with exactly 140 films to pick from. Out of those, I’m going to come up with a bottom five, and narrow it down further from there.

Please note that I am not going to go as in depth as I normally do in my end of year reviews because I really don’t have the time, and I’ve already reviewed the films so don’t really want to repeat myself. All will have a link included to the original review.

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Well let’s start off by saying that my number one is already firmly in place. Those who have been reading the site a few months will probably already know what is coming with that spot, but for the other four spots I have a problem because I hated them all, it’s just a case of putting them into an order of how much I hated them. I have to leave out A LOT of awful movies and whittle it down to five.

The bad movies that I have reviewed on here far, far, far outweigh the good films, so this has been tricky……

5 – The Black Waters of Echos PondThe_Black_Waters_of_Echo's_Pond

Original Review : Imagine “Jumanji”…..but shit

We start with a film that I am going to just outright spoil it now…it ends with the film’s events basically having been a day-dream from one of the characters.

That sealed the feeling of dislike towards this film and even turned it from a 3/10 (at best) to a 1/10. The acting throughout is awful, especially from two cast members in particular.

If this had been done right then this could have actually been a relatively decent. It’s not a bad idea in the slightest (even if somewhat unoriginal), but it is so poorly executed that it left a bitter taste in the mouth.

 

4 – Wrestlers vs ZombiesUntitled

Original Review : Calling it trash would be a compliment

At the time of watching this I was training to be a wrestler and this was recommended to me by one of my fellow trainees.

If you’re a wrestling fan then don’t let the big names of Kurt Angle and Matt Hardy fool you, they add nothing to a very flawed film, although in all fairness the acting in the wrestling world is very different to film acting.

I must admit that I am a bit surprised that this is this low down on the list, which gives you an idea just how awful the top three are.

 

3 – Bloom144666

Original Review : Bland vampire movie that’s not worth wasting money on

I don’t watch many vampire films, infact I think I’ve only reviewed two whilst doing this site (the other being the excellent “Summer of Blood”) but when I do I try and make sure that they’re at least somewhat worth watching, that certainly wasn’t the case with “Bloom”.

“Bloom” is so bad that it makes the “Twilight” franchise somewhat enjoyable by comparison, and that is definitely saying something. It’s got awful acting, a boring storyline and it’s just a waste of 90 or so minutes of your life.

 

2 – Feltfelt_ver3

Original Review : One of the most non-sensical peoples of crap I’ve ever watched.

The second film that I reviewed as my run of 31 reviews in as many days for Halloween set the standard for that month, but certainly not in a good way.

“Felt” focuses on the aftermath of a woman being raped, and yet the irony is that the only thing I felt after this film was that I had been raped of 80 minutes of my life, and it feels almost strange saying that because it certainly feels longer than that.

I hate this film and would happily burn every copy that exists if the opportunity came about.

 

So before I reveal the number one pick, here are a few honourable (or in this case dishonourable) mentions from the films that would have made a top 10 if I’d decided to go that far – 7500, Accidental Love, It Was You Charlie, Nocturne Six and The Poker House.

So we’re finally here, and let’s face it, it’s not going to be much of a surprise……

 

1 – Aimy in a Cage

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Original Review : A film so bad that I couldn’t even finish it!

As I mentioned earlier, anyone who has read this site for a few months will automatically have known that this was coming. Afterall, how many reviews have you ever seen that describe the film as a cancer?

This monstroisity still haunts me now, and it’s over 3 months since I watched it, and I make no qualm about saying that it is not only the worst film that I have seen whilst reviewing films for this site, but it is also the WORST film that I have ever seen.

I know that that might sound like a bold statement, but I challenge anyone to watch it and not feel ashamed. Everyone involved in this film should be ashamed of themselves.

 

It’s awards season and as usual the debates are going on about who should win the awards. Leonardo Dicaprio is being heavily tipped to finally win the big one (Best Actor for clarification) after high profile disappointments in recent years, and a stellar list of performances from pretty much everyone in category, but that in itself has caused an issue in that a lot of people have noted a lack of diversity in the nominations….well…..I say a lot of people…..

Basically, a lot of people of non-white origin, mainly Spike Lee and Jada-Pinkett Smith, have stated that it is ridiculous that no-one in any of the four main acting categories is of a non-white origin, with many threatening to not attend the ceremony due to alleged racism. Now, before I start this, I’m going to state that I am white. I have never (knowingly) been in a film so I am coming at this from a purely outsiders point of view.

Now, I wasn’t going to comment on this really until I heard a radio interview on the way home from work in which someone basically said that “Straight Out of Compton” deserved a nomination for Best Film simply because it earned over $100m worldwide. Even that logic shows that some people who are making comments that the Academy are racist is beyond ridiculous.

Whilst $100m isn’t anything to be scoffed at, it didn’t even enter the top 10 highest grossing films of 2015, with five films earning over $1b, so if we’re going pure on box office returns, that would mean that The Force Awakens, Jurassic World, Furious 7, Avengers : Age of Ultron and Minions would be the five Best Film candidates.

Now, I can’t comment on the quality of Straight Out Of Compton as I didn’t watch it. I have precisely zero interest in watching a film about a bunch of music artists that I don’t care about from a genre of music that I don’t like, so instead I’m going to look at what seems to have started the whole debate, Jada Pinkett-Smith bemoaning that her husband, Will Smith, didn’t get a Best Actor nod for his role in Concussion, and causing a race-row in the process (good job, Jada).

Now, I haven’t seen Concussion as it hasn’t been released in the UK yet, but I will be. Will Smith is arguably the biggest A-lister in the world, but JPS (who definitely isn’t an A-lister), and I genuinely enjoy his movies. Not once have I looked at him and thought “Will Smith is an excellent black-actor”, I look at him and think that he is a fantastic actor. He wouldn’t be in hit after hit if he wasn’t and I can’t think of a single film that I have seen him in that I haven’t enjoyed, with the exception of After Earth (I hate to break it to you Jada, but your son, Jaden Smith wasn’t nominated for the Best Actor in the year either).

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Jada Pinkett-Smith has basically turned into that girl who stays at the side of a Sunday League pitch and can’t understand why all of the other players aren’t giving the ball to her husband. I have nothing against Will Smith at all, afterall, he was in my second favourite film of 2015, but when I looked at the five nominees for Best Actor, it wasn’t the colour of their skin that jumped to mind, it was the fantastic performances from all of those concerned. She has effectively turned around and put a very bitter taste on what is normally a pleasant evening.

But away from that, we should look to see if there is any foundation in the claim that it’s unfair that certain actors of a non-white origin didn’t get nominated. So let’s start with analysing the Best Actor. Nominated are;

Bryan Cranston (Trumbo)

Matt Damon (The Martian)

Leonardo Dicaprio (The Revenant)

Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)

Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)

I’ve seen four of those five movies (Trumbo gets released next month) and the performances from the four actors in question were fantastic, with Damon and Dicaprio especially excelling. One of the examples given by those threatening to boycott the Oscars is Samuel L Jackson in The Hateful Eight, a film that I loved and Jackson is excellent in it, but is his performance better than any of the five above (based on the four that I have seen)? No. No is the answer.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t particularly like Steve Jobs or The Danish Girl as films (and before someone says I only didn’t like The Danish Girl because it’s subject matter, I am transgender myself so subject matter has nothing to do with it), but the performances from Fassbender and Redmayne were fantastic and were Oscar-nomination worthy. As mentioned above, there is also a debate asking why Will Smith hasn’t been nominated again for Concussion. Now, again I will state that I haven’t seen Concussion yet, so for this argument I’m going to use Will Smith’s performance in Focus. I loved Focus and pretty much everything about it, hence why it was my number 2 film of 2015, and in this case I would say that I did enjoy Smith’s performance more than Fassbender or Redmayne’s respective portrayals.

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However, movies are all about opinion, there could be someone out there who thought Smith’s performance in Focus as calamitous, but that’s what makes movies fantastic, it’s all about opinions.

For me, looking at the list, I’d be surprised if Dicaprio doesn’t get it.

So moving on, let’s look at the Best Supporting Actor category, the nominees are;

Christian Bale (The Big Short)

Tom Hardy (The Revenant)

Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight)

Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies)

Sylvester Stallone (Creed)

Now this one is considerably different for me as I have only seen The Big Short and The Revenant at the time of writing. I have no interest in seeing Creed at all (it’s basically just another Rocky movie and I am not a fan of the franchise) but even then I find Stallone being nominated for any kind of positive acting award is laughable.

From that list, again based on what I have personally seen, for me the only option is Tom Hardy. His showing in The Revenant was fantastic and you could argue that he was infact the lead actor as he is in the film and has a considerably more varied role than Leo, but such is the nature of the beast.

I looked through the list of films that I watched in 2015 and on not one single film was the main supporting actor played by someone of a non-white origin and out performed Hardy’s showing in Revenant.

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You know what, I could sit here and go through each category, but ultimately it won’t change the route cause of the problem that is that you can’t nominate someone simply because they are not white. The awards celebrate acting, and in the case of the acting awards specifically, the best five performances that year. You could have red skin for all I care, if your performance was one of the five best of the year, you deserve to be there, regardless of race, religion, sexual preference, etc.

If the Academy and those that decide the nominees are racist, explain how Jamie Foxx was even nominated for his winning role in Ray in 2005…….or Forest Whitaker two years later for The Last King of Scotland. You can’t can you? You know the reason why you can’t explain them…..because it’s nonsense! If the Academy was racist, neither of them would have been nominated, and nor would the many actors of non-white origin over the years.

Let me put this into perspective, I am a fan of football (as in the sport where the use their foot to kick the ball, actual football) and regularly in England there is a debate when a manager of black origin gets sacked, with a lot of people in the media quoting a lot of stats about managers of a non-white origin. The problem with this argument is that whilst some are controversial sackings (as are a lot of sackings of managers that aren’t of a black-origin) when you look at their management records, they have a very low winning percentage and regularly haven’t done a good job. The simple fact about any sport is that if you lose considerably more games than you win, you’re going to get sacked eventually (unless you quit of course), but a lot of people don’t seem to see that.

Basically, it ultimately comes down the best performances of the year getting nominated and those that weren’t nominated finding any excuse than can to make up for their shortfall. To accuse that Academy of not including various people because of their skin colour is a racist statement in itself.

If the actor is in the right role and puts in the right performance, they would get nominated. It’s as simple as that.