I recently wrote about movies FINALLY watched during lockdown, a handpicked selection that I’d never seen before. It was good fun and found myself watching stuff I wouldn’t have normally bothered with, it took me out of my comfort zone purely so I could write about them. With that in mind, I thought I’d do another one.
Again there’s going to be some that appeal to my taste which I’ve just not gotten around too but there will be some I wouldn’t have normally considered. I may also deliberately watch some trash so I can slag them off. So enjoy – Even more movies FINALLY watched during lockdown!
I loved the first one. It was a film where a sequel wasn’t really needed and having watched the second, that’s still the overriding feeling. Let’s be clear Frozen 2 is visually stunning and a very good film overall, it’s just wholly unnecessary. There’s a lot to like about it, I appreciated that it didn’t have a villain as such so there was no manufactured conflict and I liked it focussed on the bond between Elsa and Anna. That was the emotional heart of the film and it’s excellent for it.
I didn’t like that it took so long to get going and I was disappointed that the songs weren’t as memorable as the first film, for the most part. As I say not a bad film by any stretch, and well worth checking out, just nowhere near as good as the first film.
I have a soft spot for most Guy Ritchie films, they’re usually fun and self-aware enough not to take themselves too seriously. This one is bollocks, it takes itself far too seriously and is just needlessly convoluted. It’s a shame too as Jason Statham is usually great fun because he plays everything 100% seriously and it’s brilliant when he’s in a film that’s a bit tongue in cheek as it usually makes him the funniest thing in it. Revolver is largely pretentious trash that tries too hard to be deep and clever. It was the film Ritchie directed after Swept Away which was, by all accounts, terrible so it’s possible this was just part of a blip.
I think the worst thing about Revolver is how dull it is, even the dialogue is terrible and that’s usually the most entertaining part of a Guy Ritchie film. Overall it’s soulless and not worth the nearly two-hour runtime. The only redeeming feature is Mark Strong, who is quite good in a supporting role but honestly, it’s slim pickings.
Another Guy Ritchie film and one that’s very different to his usual output as you’d expect from a Disney live-action remake of their animated classic. I wanted to like or hate it to be perfectly honest, then at least it would have invoked some sort of emotion whereas the only takeaway is just how soul-crushingly average it is.
In terms of positives, overall the movie looks nice and most of the actors put in decent performances. It’d be serviceable were it not for the original, which is an absolute classic. In terms of the negatives, try as he might Will Smith never really convinces as the genie and the special effects on the big blue guy are pretty poor. Though, to be fair he had an absolutely impossible task following on from Robin Williams. Marwan Kenzari as Jafar has absolutely no onscreen presence or menace whatsoever as the bad guy and the new song feels like it belongs in a different film.
Ultimately 2019’s Aladdin feels like a soulless cash grab and ends up being completely forgettable. I honestly wish I could hate it and slag it off or like it and praise it but it’s honestly not worth the effort on either front.
A Silent Voice
This is an anime about Shoya Ishida who is utterly horrid to a deaf girl, Shoko Nishimiya, at school and how this impacts him when he eventually goes too far with the bullying. It starts off surprisingly darkly, picking up with the guy getting ready to kill himself. He doesn’t and we then get a flashback detailing how he treated Shoko which essentially led to him being ostracised. What follows is him feeling guilty about how he acted and attempting to be a better person, especially to Shoko.
The film manages to be sweet without ever being overly sentimental and manages to handle some pretty heavy stuff with a sensitivity I wasn’t expecting. I have two complaints, one is that Shoko confesses something to Shoya which never really seems to be implicitly addressed which I’d have liked to have seen included. The second involves a scene from later in the film that really isn’t believable, it’s clearly there to move the story along as it’s followed by an incredibly sweet exchange between the two main characters.
I went into A Silent Voice not expecting a lot and left pleasantly surprised. I’m a sucker for anything that stirs emotion at the moment and this definitely manages to do that, I really can’t recommend it enough.
I Want to Eat Your Pancreas
I Want to Eat Your Pancreas is possibly the worst film title I’ve seen recently and makes it sound more of a horror than what it actually is, which is oddly endearing. The reasoning behind the choice of title becomes apparent in the first five minutes and actually makes sense when put into context.
The story follows Sakura, a high school student who has a terminal pancreatic illness, as she forms a friendship with her classmate Haruki. You essentially know what’s going to happen to Sakura as the film opens with her funeral, what it doesn’t prepare you for is how brutal and senseless her death actually is. So much so it comes dangerously close to derailing what’s left of the film, thankfully its doesn’t. I Want to Eat Your Pancreas is a very moving story which never strays too much into being excessively sentimental and that’s largely thanks mainly to the personality of Sakura, who attempts to remain upbeat despite her situation and is a genuinely delightful character. Haruki is harder to like but as he starts to let his guard down with Sakura he becomes much more likeable. I was getting ready to bitch about the ending as it leaves things in a very unsatisfying place but thankfully there’s a post credits scene which addresses my concerns and concludes in a much happier, if slightly bittersweet, place.
I’m really glad I watched it though, it’s a film I’d been looking at for a while but put it off as the title really didn’t inspire much confidence. The focus placed on the main characters allows for a genuine connection to develop adding gravitas to emotional scenes, and christ there are a lot of them, but they’re never anything other than utterly compelling. A Silent Voice is the type of film that makes this list worthwhile and sits with some of the best films I’ve ever seen.
Your Name is the tale of Mitsuha, a girl bored of living in a small town, and Taki, a boy living in Tokyo, as they begin to switch bodies intermittently and live each others lives. You’d think this premise would be the start of Freaky Friday type shenanigans and there’s a little of that to start with, but then the plot takes a turn.
It becomes part disaster movie and part love story, I won’t go into specifics as it’s brilliant and deserves to be appreciated. It benefits massively from the main characters being excellent helped along by a cast of likeable supporting characters. It’s one of the most visually stunning films I’ve ever seen, there’s so much attention to detail in terms of the backgrounds and the sequence towards the end in the snowy city is frankly extraordinary. Honestly, if you’re a fan of art I’d recommend checking the film out just on that basis as it’s really something special and thankfully the voice acting is up to scratch too.
I only really have two complaints, the first is that I’d have liked for there to have been more, on the plus side it never outstays it’s welcome but it does leave a little too soon. The second is the final ten minutes feel as if it’s stringing the viewer on, teasing the emotional pay off longer than is strictly necessary. While the pay off is satisfying and sweet it definitely leaves you wanting that little bit more to show you what comes after, the advantage being it leaves it to the viewer’s imagination. Your Name is one of the most unforgettable films I’ve ever seen.
I’ve avoided Jackie Brown predominantly because it’s by Quentin Tarantino. I invariably tend to get annoyed with his movies, the basic premise is usually great but he can’t restrain himself and goes over the top. This piqued my interest though, with a great core cast and that it was adapted from an Elmore Leonard story. Leonard created the character Raylan Givens, the main character in a TV show I love called Justified.
Samuel L Jackson is as excellent as always, Robert De Niro is solid and Pam Grier basically has to carry the film and she does an amazing job of it. Bridget Fonda also does a good job with her screen time and Chris Tucker is in briefly and is decent, and pretty restrained compared to literally everything else he’s on. Realistically the only complaint about the cast is that Michael Keaton is completely under-utilised. What I think Tarantino is excellent at is build-up, he’s great at moving the pieces around to setup up the ending, what I’ve found with his modern output is that he feels a need to go over the top and ruin all the build-up. I have to say he gets it pretty much spot on here, things unravel as you’d expect but it’s always restrained and understated, preferring to focus on the characters rather than the action and I honestly really appreciated it.
I’d honestly put Jackie Brown in my top three Tarantino films, along with Reservoir Dogs and The Hateful Eight.
Jesus Christ! Full disclosure, I decided to watch this purely as it’s well known Catwoman is garbage and I was going to hate it. I figured it’d be quite amusing. I’d therefore set my expectations what I thought was suitably low enough, turns out I’d not lowered them anywhere near enough. I actually feel betrayed by the world for underselling just how much of an abomination this is. There are good actors in here, Halle Berry had won an Oscar, but it’s like they were all told to just forget about all that acting malarkey and put in performances that would make modern-day Nicolas Cage cringe with embarrassment. The cinematography can be summed up at best as being an absolute travesty, the soundtrack feels like it belongs in a film with a completely different tone, the special effects are plain and the dialogue is diabolical.
I think the worst item on the list of cinematic crimes though is the complete disregard Catwoman has to the source material. I can understand wanting to make changes to the lore to make a better film but to basically have it so that the main character dies and gets brought back to life by a cat breathing on her doesn’t cut it. This supernatural resurrection affords the creativity to give Catwoman added abilities like magnified eyesight, higher jumping, eating lots of cans of fish in a single go and also to be really good at basketball and fairground attractions. You know, just like a cat is (I like to feel you can sense the eye roll at this point), coupled with a villain that has super hard skin from a beauty cream and you know you’re a one of a kind film.
Quite possibly the worst film I’ve ever had the misfortune to watch (and I’m very aware I inflicted it on myself). Catwoman literally has one thing going for it and that was that I knew it had to end at some point, please for the love of all that’s holy don’t ever watch this.
This is the sequel to Waiting which I didn’t even know existed. It somehow manages to get quite a few of the original cast back, not the big names naturally, but you get the impression they know they’ve been conned. I decided to watch Still Waiting to see just how bad it was going to be, lessons learned from Catwoman were to basically expect the absolute worst. Needless to say, it’s atrocious.
While the original had no plot as such it was carried by the cast, in this one they’ve got a guy who’s basically doing a really bad Ryan Reynolds impression without any of his charm. He constantly strays into offensive territory and doesn’t have the charisma to get away with it. The other new cast members aren’t exactly great but at least they are not attempting a piss poor impersonation of someone else. It also attempts to recycle jokes from the original film, it’s far too reliant on trying to re-tread what worked before that it doesn’t have its own identity. It’s also incredibly mean spirited, pretty much everyone in the film treats everyone else like utter crap and makes them incredibly unlikeable.
Somehow they managed to get Justin Long back for a cameo and while he is comfortably the best thing in the entire film it complete ruins his character arc from the first film. On the plus side I knew going in it was going to be bad and Still Waiting didn’t let me down. If you’re even remotely tempted to watch this please don’t, watch the original instead.
I’ve seen and enjoyed most of Christopher Nolan’s films. I can’t remember why I missed Interstellar at the cinema but the reason I’ve put it off to date is the near three-hour runtime. The first 45 minutes of Interstellar set the scene and I have to say the Earth that’s present is scary and fascinating. Nolan shows an Earth that’s incredibly similar to the one we’re on but with subtle differences, like the mention of new textbooks where human history has been changed, children being forced into jobs and the fact that the planet is dying just adds to this.
The one thing you’re pretty much guaranteed with a Nolan film is that it’ll be visually impressive and the cinematography will be excellent. Interstellar is no exception, the scenes on Earth are bleak and scenes on other planets are sparsely beautiful. Matthew McConaughey as Cooper is absolutely amazing, it’s probably the best performance I’ve seen him put in and every other member of the supporting cast is nothing short of excellent. It’s also worth giving a special mention to the two robot characters, they have awesome designs and really unique personalities.
I really liked the concept that one hour where they travel to is the equivalent of seven years on Earth, this allows for a time jump which sees Coopers kids grow up and their messages add a lot of emotion to proceedings. I also liked the fact that it manages to be genuinely tense in places, there’s a real sense that things might not end how you expect and that’s a novelty. In terms of the ending, it’s equal parts unbelievable, hopeful and bittersweet which I absolutely loved, it’s something that’ll stick with me for a while I think.
Honestly I’m a little annoyed at myself for having waited so long to watch it, I’d go so far as to say it’s probably my favourite non-Batman Nolan film, even the long run time doesn’t seem so bad as it whips along at a decent pace. I actually don’t think there’d be a single thing I’d cut out to make it shorter.
I’ve semi enjoying watching films I’ve not seen before and then writing about them. It’s introduced me to some I should have seen far sooner and it’s also mildly amusing to watch some truly terrible films.
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