In the current climate of working from home and not really being able to do normal things, like seeing friends or going out, it begins to take its toll. On the flip side, I’ve been lucky that work has allowed me to keep some form of structure to my days – as well as playing video games and reading books.
That being said I’m starting to get a little bored, I thought I’d use this extra time to watch some films I own but have never gotten around to watching for whatever reason. So here are the movies I’ve finally watched during lockdown.
Isle of Dogs
This was not the film I was expecting at all. I assumed as it used stop motion animation that it’d be a kids film, which it very much isn’t. It’s somehow made darker by the animation choice, the fact that the human characters are largely incomprehensible and the dogs have essentially been exiled to a garbage dump.
I did very much enjoy it though, visually it looks awesome, there’s dark humour sprinkled in and some really sweet story beats. I’d definitely recommend Isle of Dogs as one to check out.
I remember seeing the trailer for Stuber and wanting to see it as the chemistry between Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani looked to be very amusing. That much holds true, overall the film is a disappointingly generic buddy movie. Everything is largely very predictable and the twist can be seen coming a mile off.
To its credit, it has a cracking cast but wastes talent like Mira Sorvino, Karen Gillan and Iko Uwais which is a massive shame. It’s definitely watchable but realistically it’s probably a 5 or 6 out of 10 type film.
The Disaster Artist
The Disaster Artist is based on the events surrounding the making of cult film The Room, if even half of what’s in there is accurate then the real story is utterly mental. Directed by James Franco, who also stars as Tommy Wiseau, and co-starring Dave Franco, as Greg Sestero, it follows how the pair meet and ultimately shoot what is said to be the worst film in history. The Disaster Artist is utterly ridiculous and weirdly compelling, it’s made better by the side by side comparison of scenes from each film as the end credits roll. It gives a real insight into how faithful they’ve tried to be.
The Dead Don’t Die
The Dead Don’t Die was marketed as a horror/comedy starring Bill Murray and Adam Driver, and that was fundamentally enough to get me interested. It was largely a mildly amusing distraction, played mostly straight with an appreciation of the ridiculousness of it all. That is up until the last 15 or 20 minutes where it takes an utterly mental change in direction. The events are never actually touched on and therefore makes no sense what so ever, to the point where my initial reaction was to wonder what the hell had just happened. It’s definitely worth a watch but I’m genuinely not sure how I feel about the whole thing off the back of that ending segment. You can read our review of The Dead Don’t Die here.
What If is a romantic comedy starring Daniel Radcliffe that I’d never previously heard of but picked up when it was cheap. It follows the usual rom-com formula so no real surprises but it does boast some interesting characters which makes the whole thing much more enjoyable.
Radcliffe particularly is engaging as the lead and Adam Driver is a lot of fun though somewhat under-utilised. My only real complaint is that there are a number of character relationships that could have been expanded upon or made deeper, such as that of Radcliffe’s character and his sister, that I think would have benefitted things. I did like that the ending didn’t tie things up in a neat little bow but on a hopeful note which is further hinted at in the credits. Overall What If was a pleasant little surprise.
Bad Boys 2
Jesus this was atrocious, I enjoyed the first film as it was at a point when Michael Bay was capable of restraint. This on the other hand has all the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the bollocks, the Bay trademark mass explosions and quick cuts are on full display backed up with slow-mo that is wholly unnecessary. The villains are poor, the dialogue is total nonsense and the attempts at humour are largely cretinous.
When not even Will Smith can make a film even halfway watchable you’ve got a serious problem, this is genuinely one of the worst films I’ve ever sat through and making myself endure it was an act of pure masochism. Please for the love of all that’s holy don’t ever watch this.
This is a film where I genuinely don’t know how I’ve never seen it before, especially given how often my friends quote it. You can tell from the ending it was written by Quentin Tarantino, an over the top shoot out where almost everyone dies. It’s a weirdly paced film, it feels like it started out as ideas for a few set pieces that were then stitched together into an entire film.
Big name stars such as Gary Oldman aren’t in it as much as you’d expect. Christopher Walken is essentially in one scene, he’s superb in it naturally, then he just vanishes for the rest of the film which is a shame. Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette anchor the film with solid performances and I’d say overall I enjoyed it but it just felt a bit disjointed and oddly paced. Definitely worth watching if nothing else.
This was not the film I was expecting at all, obviously I knew going in that it was a film based on the Zodiac killer. I didn’t know more than that so was expecting it to be a true crime film and while the first half is, the second half is more focussed on the obsession of one man to uncover the truth. Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey, Jr. are all superb, Gyllenhaal in particular is excellent as Robert Graysmith whose book is what the film is based on.
It’s a film that’s never going to truly satisfy given the killer was never actually officially identified. The film points to the best-known suspect, though there’s conflicting evidence. It drops some really tense moments in where you get a genuine sense of foreboding as to what’s going to happen next and this never feels cheap, it definitely adds to the story being told. It’s a genuinely fascinating film and got me wanting to read the book it’s based on.
The Family Fang
The second film to be directed by Jason Bateman, he stars in this alongside Nicole Kidman and Christopher Walken. The core of the film is about the bond between a brother and sister, played by Bateman and Kidman, and how they were raised by their parents who turned everything into a performance. We get to see glimpses of this through flashbacks. The Family Fang is understated and bittersweet because of how it deals with the family bond and how behaviourism can have a lasting impact.
Bateman is an extremely talented actor and director, he can do comedy and serious equally which is a solid accomplishment. I’d also recommend checking his first film Bad Words which, while having a little pathos running through it, is a straight-up comedy worth checking out.
The Godfather is another movie I’ve somehow never seen, despite being nagged about it for years. My first impressions were that at just under three hours it’d be way too long, and to be honest, having now watched it I’d stand by that. To be clear it’s a very good film, Al Pacino is excellent as is the rest of the cast. I’m glad I’ve watched it now and I’ll be getting to the sequels at some point. I have one main issue with The Godfather, it is a slow burner which when coupled with the run time does make it drag a bit in places.
It’s well made, aside from some slightly iffy blood effects, which I appreciate is me literally just nitpicking. I can’t say I was a huge fan overall but I think that’s more down to me not being a huge fan of the genre rather than there being anything wrong with the film itself.
This has been a solid plan so far in terms of finally watching stuff I’ve not previously seen. There have been some disappointments but I’ve also found a couple of gems, as well as finally being able to not take stick for not having seen some. And to be honest it’s been fun watching movies that I might not ordinarily have bothered with.