Last year, I made a note of every film we’d watched throughout the year and shared them in a post at the end of December. It seemed to be fairly well received and it also helped us review a year through a different medium.
So I decided to do it again. Except this time, due to the entire year being quite a gargantuan task, I intended to compile a post quarterly. And then we got to April…then the end of April…and I realised I’d missed my fraction window!
So instead, here’s the second installment of a trilogy – because every good film comes in threes, right?! (Please don’t start giving me examples of when this hasn’t worked – there are far too many!)
I thought, as it was almost October, that I should get on with the summer reviews, when we enjoyed / endured another 16 films – fairly low by our standards, but I’m blaming the late release of Game of Thrones for it!
If you’d like to see what we were watching in the first third of the year, you can check it out HERE.
Following on from a slow viewing month in April, we dialed the cellular intake back again and only managed two in May. But what good ones they were!
Always a fan of blockbuster and Marvel in particular, Guardians 2 had been greatly anticipated. And whilst I can’t say I enjoyed it quite as much as the first, it had the same wise-cracking humour and heart as the original. The open sequence alone, with Baby Groot, was worth the entrance fee but I was also a big fan of newcomer Mantis and just love, love, love Dave Bautista in his role as Drax.
Get Out was creepy and not at all what I was expecting. A great blend of horror and mystery, it also served as a dish of social satire with elements of comedy that were welcomed in a pretty dark tale. The cast, with leads from Daniel Kaluuya plus Alison Williams of Girls fame, were excellent. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who hasn’t seen it by talking about the plot. So go check it out instead!
Delving further into summer, I think the weather was most likely wet as we racked up the most views this month. It also seems that June had a trend for sequels!
But we began the month playing with Petri dishes, on board the International Space Station. The crew, which included Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds, had evidence of extra-terrestrial Life, in the form of a single-celled organism. Charged with bringing it back to Earth for research, the in-house scientists just can’t resist tinkering – and disregarding protocol! So, naturally, all Hell and a space monster breaks loose and the subsequent film deals with the aftermath of an escaped hunter with a rapidly increasing intelligence. But in space, no-one can hear you scream…
I really enjoyed John Wick when the first came out – a trained assassin on the war path because someone murdered his dog made for great, admittedly gratuitously violent, action scenes. But JW: Chapter 2 was disappointing. The action was still there but the acting was flat, in my opinion (even by Keanu Reeves’ standards!) and the storyline was a lame set-up to showcase the fighting. Avoid!
However, T2 Trainspotting was much better at hitting the mark. I have an odd relationship with the first. I’ve only ever seen it once and it deeply disturbed me, so never watched it again. I couldn’t even tell you what had triggered this attitude towards the original. Whilst I thought it was a great film, something tasted bad and I could not be swayed by everyone raving about a film that became a rite of passage for a generation.
So, it took awhile before I’d agree to the sequel. But I’m jolly glad I did! Fantastic performances by the original cast (and Ewan McGregor just gets more delightful on the eye with age), it was a bittersweet, gritty, nostalgic update to the friends’ lives 20 years on. Director Danny Boyle is back with a definite recommendation from me.
Everything was awesome again in the world of Lego, with the Caped Crusader this time taking the helm. With fun references intended to keep the adults happy and a brooding Lego Batman who just needs a hug, it was another enjoyable adventure into the land of brightly coloured bricks. Not as fun as the first but still a super family film.
Towards the end of the month, we watched two films that were far more enjoyable than they ever should have been allowed to be! Kong: Skull Island was inhabited with a cast of big names (Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson, Brie Larson) and one really bloody huge ape! Like a high-budget B-movie, this gigantic adventure was pure fun and a nostalgic nod to monster films of the past. Loved it!
And then we watched the eighth installment in the Fast and Furious FAMILY franchise: Fate of the Furious. More ridiculous-yet-somehow-they-work stunts, more super-charged cars, more explosions, more muscles and more double-crossing, all with a healthy dose of reminders that FAMILY is what comes first. Seriously, the number of times the cast mention FAMILY, you can actually turn a viewing into a pretty good drinking game…with the FAMILY! 😉
Swinging into July, we watched the magnificent return of Spider-Man: Homecoming. I’m not a huge advocate of reboots and I actually quite like the Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield incarnations of the web-slinging wonder…but this was gooooood!
Young and fresh and tying himself in nicely with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Tom Holland delivered a fab performance as the teenager with special gift. Although, I could have been swayed in my love for him by his stellar performance on Lip Synch Battle – kid can dance y’all! (Yes, I’ll admit I found it incredibly hot and could watch it on loop… he’s 21 so it’s fiiiiine.)
Okja was a beautiful and weird movie about a child and her pet. It’s just the pet was an over-sized hippo type animal, created for a competition to solve the problem of world hunger. Tilda Swinton puts in another fabulously bizarre performance but it was the interaction with the CGI beast and Seo-Hyun Ahn as Mija, that had me blubbing into a box of tissues. One to watch and weep to.
Oh LA LA Land. For months I avoided the pull of your hype, angry with the blanket adoration, like you were the next must-have sensation, akin to drinking lattes out of smashed avocados (not a made up thing…). But then I decided to dip in a toe and fell full body into your seductive waters. Beautiful, bittersweet and chock-a-block with whimsical dances, dresses and songs. Dammit…I hate it when everyone is right!
However, we couldn’t end the month with a 100% success rate, failing at the last hurdle with Ghost in the Shell. Based on a Japanese Manga comic, it had a lot to live up to within the fandom that had grown out of the source material. I’m always a fan of Scar-Jo but the whole storyline, of a woman saved from death and re-engineered to become an enhanced soldier (without her knowledge) just lacked…everything. Poor.
August didn’t start much better, with us heading back to the Alien universe to watch Covenant. I’m not saying that it was abysmal, this offering that is pretty much a sequel for Prometheus, and simply being able to look at Fassbender’s face for several consecutive minutes always wins points. But it was nothing special and if you want a new generation to love the franchise, just force everyone to watch Sigourney et al.
And so, we went back to an old favourite to centre ourselves and regain a love of movies. Kill Bill: Volume 1 is still amazing, 14 years later. The fight scene in the House of Blue Leaves, when the Bride takes on O-Ren Ishii is gloriously shot and a feast for the eyes if you like martial arts. I also credit this film with increasing my love of katanas and Samurai weapons in general. An old faithful!
Finally, our last film for the second third of the year was Death Note. A teenage-led horror about a book that possesses the power to kill by writing the name of your victim in its pages. Along comes a very helpful (read ‘sadistic, manipulative’) demon to carry out the deed and you are resolved of all responsibility. Like a modern day Jaqen H’ghar…
Except there’s always a twist isn’t there? Despite the book’s new owner using the power to rid the world of criminals, human nature soon takes over and it devolves into chaos. Some of the film was a little cheesey but I was a fan of the concept and in most cases, execution. Like mixing GoT’s Faceless Men with Final Destination!
So that’s our round up so far – such a long post, again. Sorry! (Aren’t you glad it’s a trilogy?!)
I’d love to hear your thoughts on any you’ve seen / want to watch and should you have any stellar recommendations for us, I’m all ears!
Image Credits: imdb.com , YouTube and bitmoji app