Category Archives: Yearly Top Ten

2016 in Words & Stuff

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Another year of sloppily written nonsense about films is finally over. We’ve seen some amazing films and some films that can only be described as flaming butt nuggets.

I thought I’d give you my opinion on the best and worst of 2016. Why? Well, this is the internet – an endless pit of people shouting into the void – may as well join in the funsies!

Based on UK release dates and films I have personally seen and is a reflection of how I currently feel about the films.

Please Stop…

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice:

OK. Fine. I admit it’s not one of the worst films in 2016 but it was a massive fucking disappointment. Partly because of the hype before the film release and partly because of how promising the opening 10 minutes were. What a waste.

Independence Day: Resurgence:

I was unsure of whether to put this or Gods of Egypt on the shit list but in hindsight Gods of Egypt is so bad it’s almost good. This? This is just a clichéd uninspired mess that’s been thrown together with the finesse of a blind ice sculptor on a bouncy castle.

London Has Fallen:

What a dumb fucking film. You can think of this as a live action version of Team America but without the satire. That should be all the information you need to set fire to it and never look back!

The Danish Girl:

The Danish Girl? But what about the Oscars? Fair point but what about the huge amounts of over-acting and lack of political/social message when exploring hot current topics? Yeah. Checkmate inner monologue. Checkmate.

The Forest:

Everything! That’s what’s wrong with this film.

X-Men Apocalypse:

This is the curse of the 3rd movie again. You have to laugh that they threw in a reference to say that X-Men Last Stand was trash in a movie that is equally as guilty.

Zoolander 2:

If the original Zoolander’s statement that the fashion industry is entirely shallow and stupid in nature felt fresh and sharp like a flesh wound from a blue steel knife then this sequel feels like a slap round the face by mouldy roadkill. Not good.

Honourable Mentions…

Room:

It’s not exactly a fun romp but it’s well worth a watch. Featuring heavily on last years awards list and rightly so the real star is Jacob Tremblay and not Brie Larson.

Doctor Strange:

Doctor Strange was a surprisingly refreshing film from the powerhouses at Marvel who keep churning out decent films. It’s worth a watch not just for the humour and special effects but also for the fantastic acting. For a comic book film; novel!

Finding Dory:

Finding Dory could easily have been in my top 10 list because it’s near flawless like Nemo but that was also it’s downfall it’s too much like Nemo.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story:

So I was moving house late last year and never got to review this. Rogue One is the first film I fell asleep to at the cinema… I think that was more to do with it being the day after the work Xmas party AND the actual day I moved rather than the film. That said it was missing some Star Wars magic. Some will love it. Some will hate it. Some will fall asleep during it!

My Top 10…

10. The Hateful Eight

Tarantino’s latest film was one of the earliest films to be released in 2016 but at the time I wasn’t overly fussed about it – I mean it even had an interval for fuck sake! However, it must have done something right because here I am squeezing it in at number 10, probably because it was something completely different to anything else released this year.

9. Zootropolis

Zootropolis is a scathing piece of socialist commentary on the miserable state of affairs in this rotten world… all wrapped up in some beautiful fluffy bunnies and oh-so cutsie fox friends just having a big ol’ fun time! Yay!

8. Creed

Remember when Sylvester Stallone was a really good actor? Yeah it was all the way back in early 2016 when this surprisingly deep and moving film was released. Creed is a love story to Rocky and Rocky II framed within how the world has treated the Italian Stallion and how that has shaped his world view. It’s well worth a watch

7. Arrival

I freely admit that part of my love for Arrival comes from the fact that I am learning French bit by bit every day. Arrival somehow manages to make language the key plot point whilst also documenting the complexities of comprehension and romanticising it at the same time.

6. Kubo and the Two Strings

The story behind Kubo and the Two Strings is right up my street. It is a deep exploration of a child’s psychological state and how he comes to grips with grief in a challenging world. This all manifests itself in some of the most incredible stop motion fantasy that you’ve ever seen.

5. 10 Cloverfield Lane

It’s a bit of a con to hijack the Cloverfield name for this film because it’s nothing like the original. It is, however, the most tense thriller and one of the most entertaining films of the year. The acting is just fantastic. An instant cult classic.

4. Deadpool

Sweet Christmas! Deadpool was fantastic. Legitimately the funniest film of the year, Deadpool is a satire on the recent superhero genre whilst also being of the superhero genre. Amazingly it doesn’t feel cheap and who would have thought that Ryan Reynolds could become one of your favourite superheros!

3. The Big Short

In 2008 there was this little event that happened called the collapse of the ENTIRE FUCKING EVERYTHING! Irresponsible traders were sad because the reality that they are morons came crashing down and everyone lost a gazillion pounds each…. apart from the few who actually bet it would happen. This is the story of those few complete with explanations of the financial systems that are easy enough to understand, even for us dum dums. Also Margot Robbie in a bath drinking champagne… so there’s that!

2. The Nice Guys

Nice Guys finish last… or in this case second because Shane Black’s buddy cop (?) movie is truly excellent. It’s entertaining from start to finish, has some great performances and drags the buddy movie into the modern day even though it’s set in the 70’s. Thoroughly recommended.

1. The Revenant

It’s the film that finally won Leo one of those elusive Oscars and fair play to him – it’s long overdue. Funnily enough I thought he was one of the weaker parts of the film but there can be no taking away from the fact that this gruelling tale of survival is nothing short of a masterpiece. If your jaw isn’t on the floor during the bear necessities scene then you might want to check you actually still have a jaw.

Think I’m an idiot? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll probably agree with you!

2015 in Words & Stuff

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It’s that time again where I list my top 10 films from this year!!

“How prestigious! But what sort of award is given!?” I hear you say. Well… nothing. Nothing apart from the quiet congratulations from a non-professional writer criticising things from behind a monitor like all good internet users.

So how has 2015 been? Well, apart from comedy films, which have mostly been as funny as spilling red wine on your beige carpet and then trying to soak it up with coffee granules, there have been a lot of good films this year and it looks like next year will be a bumper year as well… at least if you enjoy being a childish nerd who wants to be a superhero like myself.

As always there are rules that must be strictly adhered to in order to have fun.

Rule 1 – This is based on the films I’ve personally seen in 2015

Rule 2 – A number of films have been excluded because I was getting either sunburnt or bitten by mosquitoes somewhere in south-east Asia for 3 months

Rule 3 – This might not be an accurate representation of the score I gave the films during my review because hindsight and reflection are wonderful things

Rule 4 – My original review can be found by clicking the header

Rule 5 – Stop typing, people are getting bored already… so here goes!!! (Insert fireworks here)

The Almost Maybes

Ant Man: Ant Man is like Honey I Shrunk the Kids gave birth to Ocean’s Eleven. Yes, it’s a Marvel film so you probably know what to expect but it’s fun and worth a watch.

Bridge of Spies: A fascinating look into a true story of James B. Donovan a master negotiator at the height of cold war fever. Written by the Coens and directed by Spielberg it’s a solid film.

Crimson Peak: Not the best of films and horrendously marketed this film looks stunning and is probably worth a watch for this reason alone. If you are into gothic romance then this is the film for you.

Everest: Perhaps this will be more impressive on the big screen but I found it truly gripping even though I pretty much knew what was going to happen. The scenery is beautiful and terrifying and makes you really appreciate that nature takes no prisoners.

He Named Me Malala: I wish this film had a better story narrative but then again it’s a documentary about one of the most inspirational people of recent times.

Sicario: Still not entirely sure whether I liked this film or not but holy crap! The production values in Sicario are astounding.

Steve Jobs: An amazing script and interesting narrative structure are mixed with some solid performances in Steve Jobs. Whether you like Apple or not this is worth a watch.

The Gift: A bit of a sleeper this one. Joel Edgerton’s directorial debut is not one to sleep on though. Stick with it because it starts real slow but ends in a neutron bomb.

The Good Dinosaur: To be honest there are better films that should have received an honourable mention but the animation in Pixar’s latest is out of this world.

The Walk

A rare film that is definitely worth watching in 3D over 2D. It starts a bit crappy but the more you watch the more you get into it so by the time you see the tightrope walk between the twin towers you’ll start finding chunks of your chair underneath your fingernails!

My Personal Top 10

10. Me Earl and the Dying Girl

A massively underrated indie film about a high school kid who is forced to make nice with a girl from his class who has just been diagnosed with the big C. It’s a really respectful view from the outside in of someone who is dealing with a terminal illness. It comes full of all the joys of an indie film and something that is different to your average Hollywood film.

9. The Man From U.N.C.L.E

I know I’ll be in the minority here by including this anywhere near a top 10 but I like doing stupid things sometimes. The Man From U.N.C.L.E held a special place in my heart so this only had to capture about sixty percent of what made the original TV series great. This is loud, fun and sexy.

8. Ex Machina

Similar in tone to the seminal film Moon, Ex Machina is an excellent piece of cinema especially since it is a directorial debut. This tense thriller can feel a little off paced at times but is beautifully written and acted, constantly subverting who is the good guy in the story. It also probes the question of how far is too far when it comes to technology.

7. Jurassic World

It’s inevitable that the soon-to-be second highest grossing film of 2015 (assuming Star Wars has it’s way) finds it’s way into the top 10 but it’s also totally justifiable because this is a terrific reboot of franchise that is held dear by soo many people. This finally feels like a film that displays a fully functional, living, breathing theme park. It’s not without it’s flaws but it manages to overcome all of them with a heavy dose of nostalgia.

6. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

What? Only at number six? sacrilege! burn him! But on a serious note it’s a return to form for Star Wars…. finally. Apart from the higher production values you could place this next to The Empire Strikes back and it wouldn’t look out of place because Abrams nails the feel of originals whilst providing enough spectacle to keep you entertained the whole way through.

5. Inside Out

Pixar’s best film yet. Fact. Pixar’s best animation yet. Fiction. The quality of the animation and the entertainment value of Inside Out doesn’t hit the heights of their previous films but it is the most adult, thoughtful and introspective film they have made yet. The concept and the scripting are both brilliant but it’s perhaps only as an adult that you can truly understand the layers of complexity that are prominent throughout this amazingly crafted narrative.

4. Whiplash

This was a bit of a surprise. Whiplash features two incredible performances by J.K. Simmons and Myles Teller. Don’t let the Fantastic Four (Teller’s latest film) put you because this is an enthralling tale of obsession, compulsion and drive. The ever changing dynamic between the two leads is a joy to watch as is the truly brilliant final sequence.

3. The Martian

If this was a bit more dramatic with an extra dose of pure entertainment this would be firmly placed at number one. If you like science fact or fiction this will have you bowled over. The script is so good that there were people coming out of the cinema asking their friends and partners if this was a true story. Matt Damon is a loveable lead and although it’s not exactly rapid in it’s pacing I was never bored and always wanted more problem Martian problem solving.

2. Straight Outta Compton

Check it out, this shiz is dope yo! Hip Hop movies have often been overlooked because they are mostly gigantic turd platters but Straight Outta Compton is as far from this as you can get. Not only does this film portray a fascinating drama about those who pioneered the Ganagster Rap movement it also subtly educates even the keenest classical music fan about why this music was invented and that the lyrics aren’t just “Yeah, bitches and clubs and weed” it’s a lot more than that. Fantastic film. Worth a watch by everyone.

1. Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max is mind blowing. I loved the originals because it embraced a sense of absolute madness that is not found in any other film. If the originals were a slice of delirious madness then Fury Road is the whole pie, served by Marilyn Manson, on top of a turbo charged procupine… that’s on fire. The colour work really drives home the emptiness of the post-apocalyptic landscape that only serves to provide logic and reason to the total collapse of any sort of sane society. Imagine your eyes being smashed in by a hammer covered in bees and you are somewhere near the sheer visual spectacle of this master piece.

There you have it. Some super awesome films. Of course not every film has been super awesome, there has been some tripe spewed over the film screens.

The Garbage Collection

Absolutely Anything: This film is like getting celebrity branded perfume for Christmas; full of promise until you see what is actually inside the wrapper. How you can have Simon Pegg, the cast of Monty Python, Eddie Izzard and Robin Williams yet only provide laughs once every… well… once is a total mystery.

Fantastic Four: Don’t let the first 30-40 minutes fool you. It does that. It lulls you into a false sense of security that this might not be quite as rubbish as everyone made out it to be, Then, when you least expect it it steals the money from your wallet, kicks you in the balls and backwashes your expensive Innocent smoothie. Not a pleasant experience

Hot Pursuit: Comedy’s don’t get any more desperate than this miserable attempt to be anything more than just a dull, painful toothache.

Jupiter Ascending: I was actually travelling across Asia when this film came out and now i’ve seen it I was I was travelling across the moon, past venus and mercury and straight into the sun because this is one of the worst films I’ve seen in such a long time. Weirdly the world-building is great but everything else is so bad that it’s hilarious. That’s the point right? To be an ironic pastiche of bad films? No?! Well how was this film allowed to be a thing?

The Transporter Refuelled: Nice try but no-ones going to believe that Ed Skrein is a suitable replacement for Jason Statham. It’s puerile and trashy and lacks any and all the charm of the original. The budgets also been chopped in half so look out for the final fight on the “definitely real rocks” on top of the cliff face. They definitely aren’t small crashmats shaped and coloured like rocks. Bring some sort of eye solution because you’ll get tired of rolling them.

2014 in Words & Stuff

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Everything has a ‘best of’ round up now. It’s honestly getting tired, cliche and mostly irrelevant… so without further ado here’s my top 10 list of films from 2014!!

This is based on the films I’ve personally seen and based on UK release dates. There are a couple of films that I didn’t see that I wish I had such as ’71 and Boyhood but hey I am a one man band here doing this in my spare time. Also, you may notice that the top 10 included films I rated lower than other films that I have omitted from the top ten and that’s because you need time to properly reflect on what a film is and how much impact it has on you. Who knows, if I were to write this list next year it may be wildly different.

Anyway, special consideration goes to:

Captain America: The Winter Soldier; I had this in my top 5 but after watching it again I noticed some of the flaws – you need to have watched some of the other Marvel films to properly understand the films nuances. That said; it is still the Cap film you always wanted and I still love it.

Chef: An original concept with a great soundtrack but didn’t pull at myheartstrings enough to be top 10.

Dallas Buyers Club: Great performances all round but is not a film I could see myself watching again, at least not in a hurry.

Edge of Tomorrow: A surprise hit with Tom Cruise putting in his best performance in many years, and interesting concept and great visuals – feels like a computer game.

Godzilla: Another surprisingly well done film but a bit too slow to be considered for the top 10.

Lone Survivor: Yes Lone Survivor. If not for the brutality of it then definitely for the brutality of it. Did I mention it’s quite brutal?

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom: Idris Elba portrays Nelson Mandela. Need I say more?

Paddington: One of the most charming films this year which is superbly animated but a bit too much of Disney family film vibe to creep into the top 10 for me.

Pride: A powerful rallying drama displaying the downtrodden nature of LGBT and mining community during Thatcherite Britain

The Raid 2: You haven’t seen epic fight scenes until you have seen the Raid 2. Although there is not much more to the film it is absolutely an instant cult classic.

X-Men: Days of Future Past: Manages to merge all previous X-Men films with surprising grace. Also the slow motion scene with Quicksilver is my possibly my favourite scene of any film this year.

10. The Imitation Game

This film is no way near perfect but it’s a lovely eulogy to a man who practically invented the thing that I am tapping away at right now: the computer. Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Alan Turing is supremely good and it’s so sad to learn about the ingratitude and lack of appreciation for such a brilliant man.

9. The Grand Budapest Hotel

A fantastically quirky and bizarre independent movie. Crammed full of charm and clever dialogue it’s one of the weirdest movies I’ve seen this year. It’s a film that should be a B movie but truly punches above it’s weight. Supported by an impressive cast this novel film is worth a watch.

8. Nightcrawler

Jake Gyllenhaal is transformed in one of the freakiest portrayals of humanity displayed on the big screen for a long time. You are made to feel like a voyeur as you witness the pathalogical drive of Gyllenhaal’s character impose himself on those around him whilst lacking any empathy. th scary thing is that he is also a clever man, someone who truly is a dictator in the making given half a chance!

7. How to Train Your Dragon 2

I’m almost tempted to put this at number 3 I love this movie so much. It’s the story of a boy and his overgrown puppy trying to defend defending their family from a bunch rottweilers. If you swap ‘puppy’ with ‘cool ass dragon’ and ‘rottweiler’ with ‘massive bloody dragons’ that perfectly sums up this film. It builds on the first film to make a perfect sequal but also manages to walk the line between kids film and adults film. The animation and actions scenes are a joy yet still finds time to reflect on family values, love, friendship, morals and instincts. It really is good.

6. 12 Years a Slave

Oh boy. What a film. It’s so powerful I would have walked out as angry as the incredible hulk if it wasn’t for the fact that I was emotionally battered for a couple of hours. You don’t need me to tell you that the acting, production and story is superb because it won numerous awards from last year – it was released in the USA in November of last year. Perhaps it’s a little cheeky adding it to this year but, hey I saw it in January and it’s damn good.

5. The Lego Movie

I like this film less than How to Train Your dragon 2 because it’s like being inside the fever dream of a schizophrenic. The thing is, it’s such a novel idea that the premise alone earns it extra kudos – then of course, there is the Everything is Awesome song! The film somehow manages to bundle up the imagination and joy of your youth and represent it flawlessly on film whilst bringing such a wide range of eccentric characters to life. It’s awesome!

4. Gone Girl

I don’t want to say too much about this film if you haven’t seen it. What I will say is that I didn’t see the plot twist coming. It turns what you expect from a thriller on it’s head and it does the same with gender stereotypes. My mouth was never wider in 2014 than when I was watching this film!

3. Interstellar

Christopher Nolan does science fiction. That’s that fully justified!

2. Guardians of the Galaxy

No film in this list merges visuals and story with music and audio as well as Guardians does. It’s not so much a superhero movie as it is a sci-fi film but it has all the charm and hooks of the original star wars trilogy. If you don’t fall in love with Rocket or Groot then your parents never loved you. Mix in a domineering villain, open questions about character histories and motivation and you are left feeling that 2 hours simply isn’t long enough. Roll on the sequel and long may Marvel’s winning streak continue.

1. Wolf of Wall Street

Choosing between this and Guardians is like trying to choose between winning £10 million on the lottery and being given £10 million by an anonymous donor! I think the reason I love this so much is because it’s like listening to your best friend recant his best stories from University. Surely… surely these things didn’t happen? But they are based on a true story. Some may argue that we shouldn’t glamourise the life of someone who screwed people out of money – sure, perhaps – but as a film it’s not stop entertainment. The pacing, cinematography, acting, lighting, story, charactisation etc etc is sheer perfection. This is a rare 5 out of 5 movie for me.

There you have it. Some super awesome films. Of course not every film has been super awesome, there has been some pond slime thrown at multiplexes in the hope of collecting dollar money:

Grudge Match: They may of well have gone full retard and called the main characters Brocky and Jack La Moto because this was clearly made by someone with a hard on for Rocky and Raging Bull. If this was handled in a similar manner to The Wrestler then it might have worked but it’s more like a teen drama starring 60 year olds.

Noah: If there is any film that makes you want to go medieval and round up all the bibles and burn them in a pagan ceremony then this film is it. Actually that’s not fair it’s a film about a deranged c-unit of a man who built a boat and survived when he should of drowned in the first 20 minutes of the film to spare us from the tsunami of bullshit that was this film.

The Guest: I feel kinda bad for hating on this film as it started off quite good. It could have been Drive part 2. Trouble is it turns into a Scooby Doo mystery with a soundtrack that can only be described as ‘broken down car in the 80’s’.

Tammy, Sex Tape, A Million Ways to Die in the West in fact almost every comedy this year: I love comedies. There is something so primal about laughing your tits off and even more so when doing it around other people it brings hours/days of joy. With that in mind I was a miserable bastard this year. I was overwhelmed with how many underwhelming films there were this year. Sure, none of them sank to the shambolic depths that was Grown Ups 2 last year: “hahahaha a deer pissed on his face! herr de herrr de heerp”. No. Kill yourself. I don’t care how you do it but you shouldn’t be laughing at such wretched imagery that is akin to ocular roadkill. Rant over. Most of the so-called comedies this year were OK as films, nothing particularly awful… just not that funny!